Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Is Big Law's Addiction To Elite Law Schools Hobbling Diversity Efforts?

Reuters, Is Big Law's Addiction to Elite Schools Hobbling Diversity Efforts?:

Black Lawyers MatterIf they really want to expand their ranks of Black associates, law firms should recruit from more schools, consider candidates outside the very top of their class and not wait for on-campus interviews to build relationships with diverse law students.

That was the advice from Big Law partners and law school officials during a discussion Friday on the recruitment and retention of Black lawyers—part of a day-long "Black Lawyers Matter" conference co-hosted by University of Houston Law Center, Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, and the Law School Admission Council.

Law schools consistently fall short in helping Black students on the job market, said panelist Jim Leipold, executive director of the National Association for Law Placement.

Over the past six years, the gap between white and Black law graduates landing jobs that require passing the bar exam averaged 18 percentage points, he said. Black law graduates consistently have the lowest rate of private sector employment, NALP data show.

“It’s impossible for me not to conclude that law schools have long had systems in place that preference and prioritize the employment outcomes of white graduates over Black graduates,” Leipold said.

To recruit more diverse associate classes, law firms need to look beyond the so-called T-14 elite schools — the top 14 law schools on the U.S News & World Report rankings — several panelists noted.

Above the Law, ‘Black Lawyers Matter,’ And It’s Time For Law Schools And Law Firms To Realize That

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