November 30, 2021
Blog Emperor Caron reports on the state of the law school application season about one-third of the way through. Given how strong last year's applicant pool was, this slightly downturn (if it holds) should not be of great concern to the vast majority of law schools.
November 18, 2021
UIC's John Marshall Law School should lose its accreditation if it continues with this "witch hunt" against a faculty member
Professor Andy Koppelman (Northwestern) comments at CHE (do read the full account):
In January the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Law disgraced itself with its foolish persecution of Jason Kilborn, a professor who was accused of racism for asking students to address an ordinary hypothetical, of a kind they are likely to encounter in normal legal practice. That episode has now ballooned into calls for his firing, with an ill-informed Rev. Jesse Jackson leading protests against him. And the university, while it refuses to fire Kilborn, is continuing to punish him for things it knows he didn’t do.
The trouble started when, in a “Civil Procedure” exam, Kilborn asked whether a hypothetical company, sued for discrimination, must disclose evidence to the plaintiff. In the test’s scenario, a former employee told the company’s lawyer “that she quit her job at Employer after she attended a meeting in which other managers expressed their anger at Plaintiff, calling her a ‘n____’ and ‘b____’ (profane expressions for African Americans and women) and vowed to get rid of her.” The exam did not spell out those words, which appeared exactly as you just read them. (This was just one of the test’s 50 questions.)
November 16, 2021
...for their actions during L'Affaire Chua. The full complaint is here. As paragraph 21 notes, the absence of grades at Yale "means that Yale Law School students are in high competition over non-grade signifiers of merit." How much this competition has to do with "merit" is questionable, of course. Coming on the heels of the "Trap House Affair" (and the earlier expose of the class divide), this has not been a good year for Yale Law School.
ADDENDUM: A comparison of allegations about administrator conduct in the two cases.
September 08, 2021
September 01, 2021
So this news story announces, but when you look at the details, all you find is reference to "students of color," which presumably includes students of Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Bengali, South American, and Cuban descent, as well as African-Americans; and it probably also includes non-American students from China, Japan, India etc.. That the actual representation of African-Americans is now rendered invisible by the triumph of "diversity" (thanks to a mistaken SCOTUS opinion by a Southern corporate lawyer!) tells us how much we have betrayed affirmative action's original goal: namely, as remediation (indeed, reparations) for the world-historic injustice and cruelty visited upon African-Americans for hundreds of years in the United States, from slavery to de jure apartheid in the South and de facto apartheid in much of the North. Compensating the victims and their descendants for this grotesque history was the real purpose of affirmative action, not "diversifying" schools with anyone non-white to allegedly improve the educational experience of everyone else. Of course, the current SCOTUS is unlikely to restore affirmative action's original purpose, let alone follow Bakke and Grutter. Yet another reason to rein in the super-legislature known as the Supreme Court!
August 17, 2021
What an embarrassment. (Criticisms of the proposed changes available here including from all the Sterling Professors at Yale Law School, as well as David Bernstein [George Mason], Eric Biber [Berkeley], Thomas Gallanis [Iowa], Alan Z. Rozenshtein [Minnesota], and Steven Davidsoff Solomon [Berkeley], among others--direct link to all comments here.) The Committee has obviously been captured by special interests, who are more concerned with posturing than the costs it is imposing on law schools. If this wasteful and ill-considered proposal is to be stopped, it will have to be at the next stages.
ADDENDUM: Twitter commentary from Professors Jonathan Adler (Case Western) and David Hoffman (Penn). (UPDATE: Prof. Hoffman emails to tell me his tweets auto-delete after only a day, so his comment is no longer there. My tweets auto-delete after a couple of months [2 or 3 months, I can't now remember how I set it], but after 24 hours is a new record!)
ANOTHER: Everyone's favorite Twitter buffoon thinks that anyone skeptical about the ABA proposals must not be serious about "racism in legal education." I hope the Sterling Professors at Yale will take note, not to mention his colleague Professor Rozenshtein!
June 25, 2021
Monday is the last day for submitting comments regarding the proposed changes to the ABA standards regarding diversity and curriculum
Many interesting comments have already been submitted, some echoing concerns raised here. The lengthy analysis by current or emeritus "Sterling Professors" at Yale Law School may be of particular interest. ("Sterling Professor" is the most distinguished professorial rank at Yale, and includes such well-known scholars as Bruce Ackerman, Owen Fiss, John Langbein, Roberta Romano, and Alan Schwartz.) Professor Romano tells me they learned of the proposals from my earlier blog post, and I am glad she and her colleagues weighed in with a careful assessment.
June 18, 2021
June 16, 2021
June 14, 2021
Call by ABA for comments on significant proposed changes to standards pertaining to "non-discrimination and equal opportunity" and "curriculum"
MOVING TO FRONT FROM JUNE 1--TWO MORE WEEKS TO SUBMIT COMMENTS TO THE ABA!
The proposed changes are available here. Written comments on the proposals should be addressed to: Scott Bales, Council Chair. Please send comments to Fernando Mariduena (Fernando.Mariduena@americanbar.org) by June 28, 2021.
I am going to offer a few observations of my own on some of these proposals, which readers are free to incorporate into any comments they wish to send to Mr. Bales (with or without attribution to this blog). Some of the proposed changes are minor, but many are not. As a threshold matter, the ABA should have to explain why the existing standards were not more than adequate, especially since some of the proposed changes will impose substantial costs on schools and seem ill-supported by evidence.
(1) Proposed changes would replace previous language requiring "concrete action" and "reasonable efforts" related to diversity, to a standard that demands "demonstrat[ing] progress." What does "progress" mean? If a very diverse law school becomes slightly less diverse after a few years (but is still extremely diverse), does that mean it is in violation of the standard? That would seem bizarre. Suppose a law school becomes more diverse by enrolling more Asian-American students, but fewer African-American students. Is that "progress" within the meaning of the Standard? What if it enrolls more students with disabilities, but fewer Hispanic students? How is "progress" to be measured? Why is it a preferable standard?
(2) The proposals impose a substantial new burden on schools to collect and maintain data that will be both costly and time-consuming, and will almost certainly require schools to hire additional administrative staff (see esp. 206-3 and 206-4). This includes publishing "threshold data disaggregated by race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, or military status" (several of these categories are new), plus requiring "quantitative and qualitative measures of campus climate and academic outcomes disaggregated" again by all the preceding demographic categories. Wouldn't the money spent on these reporting requirements be better spent on financial aid, for example, that increased diversity?
(3) Recommended actions that would demonstrate "progress...under the Standard" would include (206-5) "Diversity, equity, and inclusion training." This raises two concerns. First, there is evidence that such "training" is not effective, and can even be counter-productive. Second, and even more seriously, such training will almost certainly violate the academic freedom rights of faculty at many (probably most) schools by demanding conformity to a particular ideology about "diversity," its meaning, and its value. The ABA should not even be suggesting that schools violate the contractual and/or constitutional rights of faculty to academic freedom. (There is a related problem with the mandatory "diversity statements" at certain public universities.)