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ERIC Number: EJ840046
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Apr-16
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1557-5411
Shut Out
Roach, Ronald
Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, v26 n5 p11-13 Apr 2009
As director of the Lawyering in the Digital Age Clinic at the Columbia University Law School, law professor Conrad Johnson knows that digital technology has the power to highlight and amplify social justice concerns and to enable people to take direct action. Under Johnson's leadership, the clinic has developed and maintained the Columbia-hosted Web site titled "A Disturbing Trend in Law School Diversity," which highlights more than a decade of declining to stagnant African-American and Mexican American enrollment at U.S. law schools. The Web site features 12 graphs taken from Law School Admission Council (LSAC) data showing how first-year African-American and Mexican American enrollment has declined 8.6 percent, from a total of 3,937 in 1992 to 3,595 in 2005. The Web site notes that in 1992 there were 176 accredited U.S. law schools and by 2006 that total had increased to 195 accredited schools, offering a gain of nearly 4,000 first-year seats for law school students. It's also shown that, while African-American and Mexican American applicants have endured falling admissions rates, their undergraduate grade point averages and Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores have improved during the same period. More recently, the American Bar Association reported that first-year African-American law school enrollment went from 3,107 in 2005-2006 to 3,516 in 2006-2007 and fell to 3,486 in 2007-2008. First-year Mexican American law school enrollment went from 851 in 2005-2006 to 915 in 2006-2007 and fell to 888 in 2007-2008. While it's notable that overall racial diversity has increased with growing numbers of Asian Americans and some Hispanics excluding Mexican Americans gaining admission to law schools, diversity advocates are making it known that African-American and Mexican American admissions rates have fallen consistently since the 1990s. Diversity advocates charge that law schools are putting too much weight in their admissions on undergraduate grade point averages and LSAT scores, while conducting little or no holistic reviews of applicants. They point out that schools often institute rigid LSAT score cutoff rates, a practice that leads to many competitive applicants receiving no consideration from admissions committees. Johnson suggests that law schools get rid of these automatic cutoffs because they don't consider the whole person and over-rely on one test, which itself only claims to be a predictor for success in the first year of law school. But it has nothing to do with or doesn't even claim to predict success as a lawyer, or test for qualities that actually determine success as a lawyer like perseverance and diligence.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Law School Admission Test