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November 11, 2020

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Anon

Michael Higdon at Tennessee has a great piece on this topic: https://scholarship.law.stjohns.edu/lawreview/vol87/iss1/5/

A non

1. Per the study in cited article, did White and Black students fare better, the same, or worse under Hispanic teachers?

2. Is the answer to breaking down social inequalities importing and legalizing millions of unskilled illiterates? Is that policy's real aim to increase those inequalities?

3. How can and should one mandate breaking down the elitist barriers to entering law faculties? If one simply adds "pedigree diversity" as but a single factor among many to a mandatory checklist, then what are the chances it will have any real impact?

4. If it nonetheless succeeds, and you thereby get a sizable portion of white working class (Protestant) Republicans into legal academia, won't that threaten the guild's long-standing mandate?

PaulB

During all the hullabaloo over Elizabeth Warren claiming Native American ancestry to get hired, there was almost no mention that she was one of only two professors at Harvard Law that did not attend a top ten law school (Rutgers in her case). An unbiased hiring system would undoubtedly have a disproportionate number of faculty from elite institutions but I doubt those schools have a complete monopoly on wisdom and accomplishment.

Anomymous

Interesting post. One thing to keep in mind is that academics love passionately to cast themselves as victims, and frequently make statements in casual conversation that would seem awkward or bizarre outside of academia about how poor or underprivileged they are.

So any attempt to bring pedigree diversity or socioeconomic diversity to the academy will require a careful effort to account for this.

anon

This is one piece that rings true.

Witness, for example, the entry of ACB onto a court where grad from Harvard or Yale has not only been preferred, but required.

Likewise, faculty hiring. The admission committee is looking for "pedigree" to be sure, but hardly because this criterion imports quality. Look around you. Mainly, part time tenured faculty (one or two courses per semester, for two 14 week semesters per year, amounting to 28 weeks of part time employment) who have published nothing much. They put in their "hard road" accumulating medals for doing pretty much only what, as the piece points out, their privilege enabled them to do. Nothing more.

As a group, law faculties are particularly ineffectual and lazy. The only real impact in the community is effected by the "low status" clinicians. So many tenured law professors live in cushy neighborhoods, with copious staffs of servants (nannies, housekeepers, gardeners, etc.) to serve them, while they posture about "social justice."

If the hiring committees could only see that the students and the community at large don't give a .hit about a professor's attendance at Harvard, then perhaps they would realize that despite being "warriors for social justice" they are just a bunch of arm-chair, snobby elitists, protecting their country club from the riff raff (i.e., the people most likely to advocate for and effect real change).

anon

PS

Is there anything more comical than the Harvard-grad at some bottom feeding, lowest tier, diploma mill law school, posturing as some sort of "scholar" and "elite law professor"?

Truly, these folks are confused to such an extent that their delusions of grandeur are hilarious.

"What was your latest scholarship?" Risible.

LawProf John Banzhaf

If some diversity in terms of where professors graduated is important, isn’t diversity in terms of philosophy and politics even more important in terms of teaching,especially perhaps in law schools.

Regarding political or philosophical leanings, studies consistently show that something like 75% to 85% of all law professors are liberal (as demonstrated by their political donations and otherwise), whereas only about 15% are even moderately conservative.

Moreover, the most highly ranked law schools - those graduating law students most likely to becomes Supreme Court justices and federal judges, to bring precedent-setting legal actions, and to draft major new laws and regulations, etc. - are even more liberal; e.g., reportedly more than 95% at top-ranked Yale Law School.

While these studies did not address the effect of having a law faculty which is much more liberal than the general population on what and how such law professors teach prospective lawyers, it's hard to see how a relative paucity of conservative and/or libertarian views would not have a significant impact, and for the same reason that African Americans and Hispanics are so actively sought out by law schools as part of their affirmative actions programs for both students and faculty.

After all, the primary if not exclusive legal justification for employing affirmative action (a/k/a/ "reverse discrimination") favoring so-called underrepresented minorities - including African Americans and Hispanics - is that students benefit from a range of viewpoints expressed in the classroom.

anon4

You can marshal all the logical arguments you want, just as many have before and many will in the future, but the legal academic market is driven by the social game of prestige-creation, prestige-chasing, and prestige-hoarding. Logical arguments have no effect on the people playing that game.

twbb

Given the profoundly stupid legal takes currently coming from reprobates like Jonathan Turley, Alan Dershowitz, and Richard Epstein, this piece seems quite timely. I would also note the idea that the best judge of someone's scholarly or juridical ability is a small group of anonymous, mid-level bureaucrats at the admissions office of five law schools is similarly profoundly stupid.

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