Paul L. Caron

Sunday, August 2, 2020

150 Deans Ask ABA To Require Law Schools To Provide Anti-Bias Training To Students

Deans Letter to Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar on Bias Training (July 30, 2020)

ABA Section On Legal Education (2016)Dear Members of the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar:
Preparing law students to be lawyers requires that they should be educated with respect to bias, cultural awareness, and anti-racism. Such skills are essential parts of professional competence, legal practice, and being a lawyer. We believe that every law school should develop such training and education for its students.

The American Bar Association mandates the minimum requirements that every law school must meet, though often it is left to individual law schools to decide how to implement these obligations. We believe that the ABA should require, or at least consider requiring, that every law school provide training and education around bias, cultural competence, and anti-racism. That said, we do not believe that the specific content of such training and education should be mandated by the American Bar Association; instead, we believe such work should be left to each law school to decide for its students.

We therefore collectively urge the Council to charge the Standards Review Subcommittee to study and consider enacting a requirement that every law school must provide training and education of its students with regard to bias, cultural awareness, and anti-racist practices. We are in a unique moment in our history to confront racism that is deeply embedded in our institutions, including in the legal profession, and we hope that the Council will take this important first step.

For the list of 150 law school dean signatories, see here

Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink


Methinks Mike Perry doth reside in reality.

As for thee, Unemployed Northeastern, methinks not.

Posted by: Anon | Aug 8, 2020 8:42:28 PM

@Unemployed Northeastern

A brief postcard from reality: there are many black law schools. One-fourth of the people on SCOTUS are racial minorities. Even *white* law schools regularly hire black professors. The predominant philosophy in legal academia over the last 25 years is Critical Race Theory. But your hapless victimization parody is noted.

Posted by: Anon | Aug 8, 2020 6:21:53 AM

@Mike Perry,

A brief postcard from reality: there are both Catholic and evangelical law schools. There are, in point of fact, many Catholic law schools. Six of the nine people on SCOTUS are or were raised Catholic. Even *liberal* law schools like Berkeley regularly hire archconservatives like John Yoo. The predominant philosophy in legal academia over the last fifty years is libertarian Law and Economics. But your hapless victimization routine is noted.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Aug 6, 2020 8:35:57 PM

Well stated, Mike Perry.

Posted by: Anon | Aug 6, 2020 6:14:17 PM

Will law students be trained to understand the religious cultures of Catholics and Evangelicals? Will the political views of conservatives and libertarians be fairly presented? How about the concerns or blue-collar whites with only a high-school education? Or to touch a hot-button issue, how about the police and the crucial role they play in keeping down the sky-high black-on-black murder rates?

Somehow I suspect that none of the prejudices common in the law professorate will be challenged, much less condemned. We'll get more of the same lop-sided indoctrination already all too common in academia.

Posted by: Mike Perry | Aug 4, 2020 6:10:11 AM

"Bias" is in the eye of the beholder. For example, many ideologies and philosophies may run afoul of the ABA's proposed ban on lawyer speech that is deemed "biased" based on socioeconomic status, and thus classified as "harassment." As professors such as Josh Blackman have noted.

Similarly, "anti-racism" often actually means its opposite, racism. The most oft-cited academic exponent of "anti-racism", Ibram Xendi, claims that past discrimination against minorities requires discrimination against whites today. He claims that “The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”

So we should be wary of anti-racism indoctrination, especially when it crowds out core courses needed to prepare students for the practice of law.

Posted by: Hans Bader | Aug 3, 2020 2:21:56 PM

So today's law school deans want to 1) abolish the bar exam, and 2) institute mandatory "anti-racist" training.

Does it ever strike you how ridiculous you are, or have you just sunk that deep down the rabbit hole?

Posted by: JM | Aug 3, 2020 5:49:05 AM

Because, as everybody knows, the legal profession has always been the most right-wing, biased, and racist institution in America.

Posted by: MM | Aug 2, 2020 6:46:14 PM

As a lawyer, I oppose this proposed requirement, because of uncertainty about what "anti-racism" means in this context.

The bible of “anti-racism” is the book ‘How to Be an Antiracist,’ by Boston University’s Ibram X. Kendi. Its “key concept” is that to remedy the underrepresentation of minority groups, you need to engage in discrimination in the opposite direction — i.e., discriminate against whites. As the book explains,

“The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”

Kendi’s axiom is that all racial disparities are discriminatory. He says, “When I see racial disparities, I see racism.”

But in reality, many racial disparities are not due to racism. For example, Latinos live three years longer than whites, on average, even though doctors don’t discriminate in their favor. Asians make more money than whites, on average. And while blacks make less money than whites, on average, immigrants from African countries like Nigeria actually make more money than whites do.

Racial disparities exist everywhere in society and the world, often for reasons unrelated to racism, as the black economist Thomas Sowell chronicled in his book Discrimination and Disparities. To abolish racial disparities would require a totalitarian government, notes black economist Glenn Loury.

Yet Kendi’s tenets are now an article of faith on America’s college campuses. For example, Cornell’s president told her university to read “‘How to Be an Antiracist,’ by National Book Award winner Ibram X. Kendi.”

As the Supreme Court noted in Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co. (1989) and U.S. v. Armstrong (1996), not all racial disparities are due to racism.

Posted by: Hans Bader | Aug 2, 2020 3:57:28 PM

Wtf is this. There are 210 law schools. These 150 should just do what they want without trying to compel the other 60 (which will likely follow suit in any event). Something doesn’t smell right.

Posted by: Anon | Aug 2, 2020 10:57:25 AM