February 18, 2011

The State Bar of California urges U.S. News to factor racial diversity into its law school rankings — counting for 15% of the score.

Oh, lord, can you imagine the new dimension this would add to gaming the rankings? But
"The deans care dearly about where they rank," said Craig Holden, a partner at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith and the chairman of the council, which is spearheading the proposal. "The rankings are a real driver for change — everybody recognizes that — and when you make diversity a sidebar rather a component of the rankings, you're sidelining the issue."
A real driver for change... as if law schools don't already strive for racial diversity!
Making diversity a factor in the rankings would create a solid incentive for law school administrators to bolster their diversity efforts, Holden said...
Diversity for the sake of U.S. News Rankings? I don't remember Grutter v. Bollinger accepting racial decision-making for the purpose of climbing in the U.S. News rankings.

34 comments:

rdkraus said...

Wait. Is diversity going to be a positive or a negative?

Truly, this is one of those PC areas that everyone (in law) knows about, but no one talks about.

The first rule about diversity in law school is that no one tells the truth about diversity in law school.

Fen said...

Diversity Hiring is on the way out.

The aftermath of DHOTUS will see to it.

Rhodamine said...

Well this would really help a junk school like Widener in the ratings

Roger J. said...

Lord--who gives a flying fuck about law schools anyway--expecially as it relates to a second rate magazines "ratings"--as trooper always notes the only thing worse than a lawyer is a journalist (or vice versa sometimes)

We have far more lawyers than we need in the first place. I dont advocate the "kill all the lawyers" approach--but it becoming more of an option.

Henry said...

Tiger Woods is an Asian-African American child of a veteran with evidence of mental illness.

Would he count as 1 diversity unit or 4?

shoutingthomas said...

Let me shorten this to its most important component:

Fuck white hetero men.

You don't matter.

Lem said...

Black Law Schools will be awarded 30%.. on account that they are more diverse.

Wait a minute ;)

Sofa King said...

I agree with ST.

SteveR said...

I always thought the U.S. News Law School Rankings were a legitimate and objective indication of the education that a particular school could provide. This would so change that.

Scott M said...

Fuck white hetero men.

White hetero men have got it made. If you're a white-hetero-Christian-male who's not handicapped mentally or physically...you're really screwed. Frankly, I'd be happy if we just cut out all the intervening years and just got right to what they really want, which is a bizzaro version of The Handmaiden's Tale. Of course, I suppose it would be the The Handman's Tale, but so what? Nothing to do but wear red and screw.

Lem said...

Tiger Woods is an Asian-African American..

If I were a Dean, would have reservations admitting a student named Tiger to my school.. that's the spitting image of a bully.

Lem said...

I always thought the U.S. News Law School Rankings were a legitimate and objective indication of the education that a particular school could provide.

U.S News has a news diversity problem.. the name says it all ;)

David said...

How about a separate ranking list for California?

The Crack Emcee said...

Diversity for the sake of U.S. News Rankings? I don't remember Grutter v. Bollinger accepting racial decision-making for the purpose of climbing in the U.S. News rankings.

Why not? It works in the ranking of blogs,...

Maguro said...

I think this is a good idea...it'll be amusing to see everyone's reaction when the North Carolina Central University School of Law jumps to the top of the rankings.

Bruce Hayden said...

Well, the one good thing is that, except for hold outs like maybe BYU, women aren't going to get any bonuses from this, as they already are slightly over half at most law schools.

This will, ultimately, be interesting. Private schools have a lot more freedom than do state schools racially admitting and hiring. And, it may get worse for them, than better - I wouldn't be surprised if racially biased admissions to state schools got back to the Supreme Court, that the result would be even worse, with Justice O'Connor now retired. No more 25 year balancing tests. No more diversity of skin color as a compelling state interest. Back to a more fundamental reading of the language of EP clause in the 14th Amdt.

And, to add gas to the fire in CA, many of their top LS are state schools, which have limits on the level of racially based admitting that they can do, while many of their non-ABA accredited schools are private.

But, then, they seem to go their own way from the ABA at times, which is why they are the only state that I have found so far that will enforce non-competes between lawyers. (the wording of their ethics laws is comparable to that of other states, it is just the interpretation that is problematic).

lucid said...

Is the guy who is proposing this black?

This is affirmative action at its worst--corrupting the meaning of things like "academic excellence" or "justice" or "fairness" until the terms are debased and the values they represent are deeply degraded.

It is also the imposition of a political agenda on a process that is primarily non-political. It is like using politics to determine what science is or who should be allowed to speak.

Very upsetting. Only in California.

lucid said...

@Scott M--

You really are just too stupid to talk to. Get an education, grow up some, get a job that isn't government supported, and then you'll know enought to participate in a conversation with the grown-ups.

Scott M said...

Ouch. Et tu, lucid?

You nailed, but probably could have done so without a paragraph. I'm an idiot and all the regulars on this blog know it. No insight, no humor. Just superfluous comments everyone just scrolls right on by without ever mentioning. Well done, sir/ma'am/gerbil (as the case may be).

Paddy O said...

Not surprising.

A naturally diverse state argues for one of its key strong points.

Everyone argues for what will make them look better without actually changing anything.

rhhardin said...

They should factor out the diversity as a separate score so you can avoid those places.

Bruce Hayden said...

I always thought the U.S. News Law School Rankings were a legitimate and objective indication of the education that a particular school could provide. This would so change that.

No, never the education. Rather, how attractive are the graduates of the different schools. And a good part of that is how attractive is the student body, which, in a circular way, is to some extent dependent upon how attractive their prospects are upon graduation.

For most of those who go to HLS and YLS, it isn't their nice campuses, or likely the size of their libraries that matters, but rather, that their chances at getting those $160k starting salaries are much higher, which means the chances of making a million a year by 40 are very much higher, chances at getting Supreme Court clerkships are much higher, and getting on the Supreme Court are astronomically higher (though the Court just lost its 2 most recent Standford law grads).

But, that means that these schools get the best and the brightest, and the competition is fierce. Just go back and watch the scenes of HLS at finals time in Paper Chase to get some ideas about this. But this also means that anyone attending these schools is, in essence, competing with very bright motivated people who are very disciplined (I had #1 as evidenced by my LSATs, just not #2 or #3 as evidenced by my previous grades).

I am not suggesting that the educational opportunities at #1 and #100 are not significantly different, but rather that you really cannot say that they are any worse going from, say #40 to #50, or maybe even #60. #50 may offer more opportunities than #40, because it has a much bigger student body, but that also means that its low end students are much lower.

I think though that the reason that so many are so cynical about the rankings is that the schools are gaming the rankings as hard as they can. They seem to do whatever it takes to move up in the rankings, even though it may ultimately hurt their student bodies.

Bruce Hayden said...

Why not? It works in the ranking of blogs,...

Let me suggest though that you have a, should we say, somewhat unorthodox view of race and racism, and that most of us, being white honkeys, couldn't get away with that blog of yours. But, it is also why it works so well.

Let me suggest that it is worthwhile clicking to Crack's link above. It made me a bit uncomfortable at times, but it was also quite humorous. Worth reading.

Bruce Hayden said...

A naturally diverse state argues for one of its key strong points.

Except that I think that they still have some sort of legal limits on the amount of racial admissions that they can do in their state schools, which include many of the state's top ranked law schools.

Paddy O said...

Bruce, "legal limits" is the key word. It's pretty well understood there are ways around this.

But even more, because California already has very high diversity compared with other states, the sheer amount of applications to the schools is inherently much more diverse.

And, add in this, the idea of diversity being anything other than white, and California has a significant number of high performing Asian students which would affect ranking.

People generally like to stay local if they can. So, non-diverse regions have to find diversity by convincing minorities to move to their region and go to their school. Places with significant diversity just have to do the second bit.

It's much easier to be diverse, even outside of legal mandates, if there is a huge amount of diverse people groups in the region.

Christy said...

And the downside of more incompetent lawyers is what?

Freeman Hunt said...

How is that going to make the school better?

traditionalguy said...

That sounds like a good way for southern law schools rankings to rise against mid western law schools, unless Swedish , German and Norwegian are made into diverse categories. Remember, the statistics don't lie, but liars always use statistics.

Carol said...

well that's going to be hard on my flyover law school, which is far from urban centers and *close to the Canadian border* and you know what that means. They go out of their way to recruit Indians but very few hold up to the strain even of a low ranked state school. In fact, the entire U is having a helluva time trying to get more Indians, who seem to want more and more to just stay on the rez.

A legit in-state applicant would get a full ride scholarship, I'm positive.

Cedarford said...

I suppose the Deans of California Law School could ask owner Mort Zuckerman to fine tune "cherished diversity" even further.

What about penalties for excess Jews like Zuckerman in law school beyond their 2.5% of law students "fair share" based on American population demos. What about the whites deprived of seats by higher scoring Jews?

Do Filipino-Americans get their fair share of law school seats or is that minority "punished" and the school less blessedly diverse because Chinese, Korean and Japanese ancestry students hog the Asian seats and result in poorer lawyers?

And does that mean that if law school rankings get affirmative action bonus points that a Very Diverse law school guarantees its lawyer crop is 15-20% better than a lawyer coming from a less diverse law school or - horrors - a lawyer from a country suffering from lack of diversity like Japan or the Netherlands?

Do predominantly black law schools like Howard then get a 15% penalty in rankings?

Rick said...

A politically correct "diverse" board member in California objected to the use of the word "garish" on a bar exam because it was unfair to minority students.
California will continue down its extremely liberal path until it collapses.

Steve Mack said...

Hard hitting facts but with a dash of humour.

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Kimf. said...

I am in agreement with Bruce, that if the rankings have a race factor, verses which schools produce the most knowledgeable, well prepared students entering the work force, it takes away credibility. Anyone can ask a school for statistics on the make-up of the student body, in regards to "minorities", caucasions, females, etc. Also, what the hell is this going to COST the state to implement and police. They can really afford it...

Joepeter David said...

some of these comments made me disappointed but i don't want to make it into pointless argument.


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