Thursday, June 9, 2022
Carole Silver (Northwestern; Google Scholar) & Swethaa Ballakrishnen (UC-Irvine; Google Scholar), Where Do We Go From Here? International Students, Post-Pandemic Law Schools, and the Possibilities of Universal Design, 8 CJCCL 313 (2022):
Following on our earlier research on the experiences of international students, this article uses the recent global pandemic as a revealing lens to revisit structural inequalities in American law schools. Over the years, law schools have simultaneously encouraged international student enrollment and functioned in ways that have marginalized these students. We suggest that this dissonance between postured inclusion and the actual experience of exclusion these students endure highlights important ways in which law schools’ commitments to equity and inclusion more generally can appear more performative than substantial. We argue that the pandemic has made stark inequalities that have always existed, and that despite its devastating consequences, this period offers new insights that could help reshape the future of legal education.
Focusing on specific teaching and learning innovations (e.g. virtual learning), we begin to deliberate on the ways that law schools can better address inequality as they resume in-person activities. Ultimately, we caution that as law schools emerge from the pandemic, they ought to resist the urge to return to their old normal ways of doing equity. Instead, by concentrating on the differential needs of diverse students, there might be an opportunity for a collective shift to avoid recementing past embedded inequalities.