Thursday, September 29, 2022
Andrea Anne Curcio (Georgia State) & Alexis Martinez (Georgia Tech), Are Discipline Code Proceedings Another Example of Racial Disparities in Legal Education?, 22 Md. J. Race Religion Gender & Class __ (2022):
Addressing racism within legal education has historically focused on diversifying the faculty and student body, as well as integrating teaching about institutional and structural racism into the law school curriculum. More recently, law school faculty have begun to focus on creating an inclusive campus culture, which requires looking at all systems and procedures that affect our students' sense of belonging and potential success as students and lawyers. One system that merits this attention is law school disciplinary code proceedings. This Article reviews studies from K-12, undergraduate, and lawyer disciplinary proceedings--all of which have found disparities exist. Given those findings, it is unlikely law school disciplinary code proceedings are a disparity-free zone. Because of the effect of disciplinary code proceedings on students' academic and career trajectories, as well as their emotional well-being, if law schools truly seek to address the institutional, structural, and interpersonal racism within our institutions, this area needs to be explored.
The Article argues that law schools should collect demographic data from all phases of disciplinary code proceedings. Without this data, law schools cannot fully understand the impact of systems believed to operate neutrally but are, in fact, not neutral. If, as we suspect, the data shows disparities, the data also moves legal educators from a framework where we believe disparities, if they exist, are unintentional and we have no accountability, to a new framework of collective accountability for institutional practices that systematically disadvantage particular groups. The Article concludes with ideas to help ameliorate disciplinary code proceeding disparities should a law school find that they exist.