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April 13, 2012

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LawProf

Anon,

It is hard for us to come forward with the names of the schools. The academy is a small place. For me, it was hard for me guess who was discriminating early on - though I guessed many were, as I received many fewer interviews than minority/female friends with very similar (and in some cases "worse") resumes. I did, however, hear from a couple of professors at schools where I received callbacks, but no offers. Who knows if they were only trying to make me feel better, but two of them basically said - "if you were not a white/male, you would have received this offer." Obviously, that is not a "smart" thing for them to say. I would hate to punish them for saying it. And they would know who told on them, even if I commented on the specific school without revealing my identity.

Likewise, I would rather not call out my home institution. I am pre-tenure.

Like I said, I am not sure whether the other professors at other schools were just trying to "let me down easy" by saying I was the top pick but for my gender/race -- that is certainly possible. But I can say with certainty that there is a large percentage of my own faculty who speaks out against any potential white male hire ("We can't hire another white male until we have more balance on the faculty." Etc.) The allow vote against any white male candidate, no matter how qualified.

For example, I think a minority female with a JD from Northwestern or Texas, a federal district court clerkship, one article in the 50-100 range and two years at a regional firm would beat out a white male from Columbia or Stanford with a federal appellate clerkship, two articles in the 30-50 range and three years at a big firm. And sadly, I think my school might not even get the minority female I just described because some higher ranked school would offer her - depending on the subject area. Make them both white males and the first person described might not even get an academic job at all.

To the person who said I am whining, yes I recognize the irony. That said, there are no conferences where we white males get together and whine together. And if we organized a conference aimed at only helping white males, (like AALS does for "people of color") I cannot imagine the backlash.

anonjrprof

I would just ditto everything that LawProf said. My experience was eerily similar. I am now a pretenure law professor. I would not call out my home institution, nor would I call out any places that said what they said. At the end of the day, no amount of principle is worth sacrificing your professional career. At the time, I just accepted that such discrimination (against me as a white male) would require higher levels of accomplishment to get the same job. But it was a job that I really wanted and is tremendous, and that is what I focused on. The current status of the law school hiring process – and, in my case, the way in which overt and “but for” discrimination was frequently communicated to me – is egregious. I think the saddest part of all of this is that I went to law school in strong support of such preferences – but now having seen how they often operate dispositively, not just as a factor – my support has dried up.

Curious

Trying to decide whether to put my name in the hat this year or to wait. So take LawProf's second candidate. Assume a USDC and not COA clerkship. Assume a roughly equal number of years of government work (AUSA or similar) to go along with the national firm experience. Assume one article is slightly better than the 30-50 range, and one article is slightly worse.

Chances? (And yes, I know that the right answer here is to do a VAP or fellowship. That would be prohibitively difficult for a variety of reasons.)

AnonTenuredProf

Anonjrprof,

I'm sorry to tell you that working harder still will not be enough if you want to lateral. As the original post demonstrates, if you work harder, your chances on the lateral market will still be low. In addition, Professor Monopoli is working hard to explain away all of your hard work.

I am curious why The Faculty Lounge is unwilling to do a series of posts on this topic. The number of comments on this post exceeds the number of comments on most of the other posts on this site. Perhaps, the agenda on The Faculty Lounge is the same as the agenda in the vast majority of other faculty lounges throughout the nation.

Anon

When people tell you that you didn't get the job because you are a white male, they are trying to let you down gently. You really didn't get hired because this is your research agenda: http://i.imgur.com/zsZ7f.jpg

Anon White Male Prof

Let's also keep in mind that a professor or two telling a candidate "You would have gotten the job if you hadn't been a white male" does not mean that a candidate would have gotten the job if he hadn't been a white male. That was the impression of that professor. It has been my experience/observation that many such "impressions" are created by the professor being either unhappy with not getting his or her way in who was hired or angered by the very concept of diversity.

Exerting more effort to recruit and evaluate women or minority candidates does not equate with giving preference to those candidates over white males.

LawProf said: "For example, I think a minority female with a JD from Northwestern or Texas, a federal district court clerkship, one article in the 50-100 range and two years at a regional firm would beat out a white male from Columbia or Stanford with a federal appellate clerkship, two articles in the 30-50 range and three years at a big firm. And sadly, I think my school might not even get the minority female I just described because some higher ranked school would offer her - depending on the subject area. Make them both white males and the first person described might not even get an academic job at all."

This is an example. There's nothing in your description that shows that the white male candidate is a better choice than the minority female candidate. Yes, those indicators are used to narrow candidates because there is a serious information problem inherent in the admittedly screwed up academic hiring market. But, in my 12 or so years in the academy, the faculty vote is based on the which candidate is the best candidate. I've seen very strident supporters of the need for diversity vote for the white male candidate over a "diversity candidate."

The only real difference in treatment I've seen is that diversity candidates with "lesser apparent qualifications" (as described by LawProf above) will get callbacks where a non diversity candidate with the same qualifications would not. But that is not to say that the diversity candidate took that non-diversity candidate's spot. They didn't take a spot away, because that candidate was not getting a callback or interview regardless of whether the diversity candidate got a callback/interview or not. And the diversity candidate did not take a spot away from a white male candidate with higher "apparent qualifications." Instead, the committee just invited more candidates back to campus. (I can't speak to schools beyond those I've been at in this regard.) In other words, yes, the school/committee/faculty spent greater effort to identify (through call backs for example) qualified diversity candidates, but I don't think that is a problem or even discriminatory.

Why not? Because the hiring process at the early stages relies largely on criteria (placement, clerkships, publications, etc) that are themselves often subject to negative effects on diversity candidates. Therefore, schools need to go "deeper" into candidate pools to identify diversity candidates who are potentially of the same quality as non diversity candidates.

Does the non diversity candidate who has the second level of "qualification criteria" have a reason to be upset? Sure, but it's not because of any efforts put towards diversity. A diverse candidate is not taking his place, because he's not getting a look in the first place. He should be angry that the hiring process is so poor at the early stages that he doesn't get a chance to show his quality.

TenuredProf

Anon White Male Prof,

You can look at the hiring practices of many schools and tell instantly that they don't hire white males. The fact that someone happens to tell you this just confirms it. Trust me, I work at a school that only hired women and minorities for a number of years. If I tell a white male candidate this fact, it doesn't make it any less true. The fact that you won't accept this reflects a blindness to a very real problem. Maybe, your school doesn't do, but I can tell you about a number of schools that do.

Additionally, your argument stating hiring based on "lesser apparent qualifications" is blatantly illegal unless you have some objective reason for hiring the candidate other than race and gender.

Anon

To those in this thread who believe they have experienced reverse discrimination: please post how many top-30 articles you have published in the last 5 years, so that we have a basis on which to evaluate your claims. Thanks.

anon

The last demand should only be relevant if we determine the same information for all hires.
Seems like an off-hand, off-the-mark demand to me, with an inference that is plainly false.
Is that the best defense?

Anon

It would be better to have school names/particular practices to evaluate, but I get that people don't feel comfortable burning those bridges. So, publications are the next best metric to evaluate quality, and disclosing the number of publications still preserves confidentiality. I think it's a fair demand. Or stated more simply: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/pics-or-it-didnt-happen

cheap five fingers

thankslens of historical context, gender norms and organizational theory, the fact that women make up only twenty-five percent tenured, full professors can be explained quite clearly. Whether and how we go about restructuring the academy to facilitate parity

Anon White Male Prof

From Tenured Prof:

"Additionally, your argument stating hiring based on "lesser apparent qualifications" is blatantly illegal unless you have some objective reason for hiring the candidate other than race and gender."

You may want to re-read my post. I'm sorry if I wasn't clear enough. I wrote it quite quickly, and looking back, I don't think I did a good job with my terminology. I stated that the most qualified candidate was the one hired in my experience. "Lesser apparent qualifications" as used in my post (and as should be clear upon a careful reading of the post) refers to things like law school jd, placement, firm experience, etc. that are just unfortunate, poor ways to do initial sorting where little to no really valuable information is available. As I said the hiring decisions were made on actual information gained from interviews, job talks, more interviews, actual reading of scholarship, conversations with references and were then based on who was the best candidate, regardless of gender or ethnicity or race.

At the schools I have been at over the past decade, the majority of hires, both entry level and lateral, have been white males, and when you factor in that many of the women hired have been for designated legal writing positions that pay considerably less, then it's a substantial majority of white males.

Certainly, I believe you when you say that the hiring at other schools has differed. I'm not convinced that is a bad thing judged upon the needs of an educational institution, but it is a more difficult issue, I'll grant.

TenuredProf

Anon White Male Prof,

You state, "Certainly, I believe you when you say that the hiring at other schools has differed [and hired based on race and gender]. I'm not convinced that is a bad thing judged upon the needs of an educational institution, but it is a more difficult issue, I'll grant."

Even if it is not "a bad thing," it's still illegal. I certainly hope you don't teach employment discrimination. I never realized that law schools are exempt from compliance with the law.

anon

They aren't exempt. They just act that way.

TenuredProf

I find it amazing that the owners of this blog have stopped weighing in. I blog elsewhere, and I would kill for a scholarly discussion like this. Of course, there lack of response highlights their bias Professor Crawford is already on to her next post on women in legal education.

anon

My sense is that just like the many who are fearful about "outing" the outright illegal discrimination at their own law schools (for fear of retribution), the named "owners" of this blog don't want to confirm that they support/practice it (for fear of the legal consequences). A suit in New York on these grounds recently failed. But, stay tuned. The day to answer always will come.

Anon

That doesn't explain the failure of Professor Lipton to address the hiring of CWRU, which she clearly asserted had hired more white males in recent years. If the "owners" of this blog are that concerned about the legal consequences, perhaps they shouldn't be asserting the fact that this isn't a rampant problem in the academy.

I'm also curious as to why nobody is seriously addressing the fact that there are, at least from the comments in the blog, several schools that have only hired 1 or 2 whites males for every 7 - 8 hires. Professor Lipton wrote "I don't think that white males will be grossly underrepresented in legal academia in the future." How can she assert this statement and then decline to defend it? If schools are hiring white males in a disproportionally low number compared to women and minorities, then how will white males NOT be underrepresented when the white males who did benefit from discriminatory hiring practices retire?

anon

I have personally heard the statement (relating to white males hired before this era) "We just have to wait for them to die off."
The person who made this statement seemed to pride herself in rubbing my nose in it. She glowed with pleasure as she said to me:
"The last thing we need around here is another middle-aged white male."
She seemed to enjoy being able to inflict humiliation on the "other" with her hurtful words and harmful bigotry. She had obviously said this sort of thing many times before.
As I was a candidate, and she a decider, I was struck by how she was able to work illegal age, gender and race discrimination into one off-hand remark, all without even the slightest hint of self-awareness or concern.

Jimmy

Anon White Prof,

"The hiring process at the early stages relies largely on criteria (placement, clerkships, publications, etc) that are themselves often subject to negative effects on diversity candidates."

This is simply not true anymore. Just look at any school's admissions data - esp. the Yales and Harvards of the world. They are letting in diversity candidates that have much lower scores than other students. Also, judges are becoming more diversity conscious and overcompensating by hiring diversity candidates who are less qualified. I cannot imagine an articles editor caring if the author was white/male and many of these reviews are blind or semiblind. Large firms work the same way as the academy. Minority candidates have stars next to their names and are more highly sought after. (I was on the hiring committee at a top-5 firm). Therefore, often the criteria needed is often actually easier to obtain for diversity candidates - not the other way around. 20 years ago, I may agree with you. Diversity candidates may have had a harder time in some of these areas. But look at the most recent hiring reports - most of the candidates got into law school less than 10 years ago.

Calling diversity candidates back that have lesser surface qualifications reeks of discrimination. The AALS meeting is too short to determine much other than whether the person seems personable and can hold a halfway decent conversation. I doubt that the diversity candidates consistently outperform the white/males in these short interviews. Obviously, if you get a callback you get to "show your stuff" and your chances of getting an offer are fairly high. If diversity candidates get many callbacks, they will land a offer somewhere. If similarly qualified white/males are not even called back, they don't even have a chance.

This needs to be blogged about.

Anonymous

The silence on the part of the author of this post and the other regular contributors to this blog is deafening. I'm disappointed by the unwillingness of the folks who post around here to engage with their readers or at the very least back up their own assertions.

But soon this post will be off of the front page, and we can all pretend this conversation never happened.

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