Black Education / Schools : Law firms and the downside of 'aggressive racial preferences'

Discussion in 'Black Education / Schools' started by dustyelbow, Jun 26, 2006.

  1. dustyelbow

    dustyelbow Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Law firms and the downside of 'aggressive racial preferences'

    Here is a devastating statistic on racial preferences: Blacks account for only 1 or 2 percent of law students with high grades, yet they make up 8 percent of lawyers hired by large law firms.

    Why are blacks hired by the large firms at four to eight times the rate that their marks seem to warrant? Because the understandable pressures to hire more black lawyers result in offers to many blacks who understandably cannot keep pace with the faster-track competition. Young black lawyers leave big firms at two to three times the rate of whites. Those who stay are often consigned to grunt work that their bosses think they can handle.

    Richard Sander, a UCLA law professor, wrote a piece in 2004 in the Stanford Law Review showing how racial preferences backfire against black students. Now, according to Stuart Taylor Jr., the excellent legal columnist at National Journal, Sanders has written another strong article on the subject to be published soon in the North Carolina Law Review. Taylor writes: "Many capable African-Americans experience frustration and failure because racial preferences thrust them into elite settings where they compete with whites with far better qualifications."

    Sander's forthcoming piece will be titled "The Racial Paradox of the Corporate Law Firm." The paradox is that "aggressive racial preferences" at the law-school and law-firm level tend to undermine the careers of blacks and thus cause the failure of the whole preferential system. The core of the problem is the small number of blacks who emerge from high school with strong academic skills.

    Taylor writes that at least 46 percent of black lawyers at large firms had law-school grade-point averages below 3.25, compared with 14 percent of whites. At law schools, preferences ensure that black students are clustered near the bottom of their classes, with only 8 percent ranking in the top half.

    Sander and Taylor acknowledge that bias may play some role at large law firms but cannot account for the high rate of failure. Taylor writes: "Why would the same firms that use aggressive racial preferences to bring in minorities then turn around and discriminate against them?" Taylor reports that 56 percent of black lawyers at large firms admitted thinking that their race or ethnicity had been relatively important in winning them job offers. This is significant because testimony at a hearing in Washington yesterday seemed to point generally in the opposite direction. David Bernstein, law professor and outstanding legal blogger at Volokh Conspiracy, reports that he and Sander expressed concerns that many "diversity" candidates at law schools "have no idea regarding the extent of the preferences they receive or how they might affect their chances of successfully completing law school and passing the bar exam."

    The Civil Rights Commission is conducting hearings on a proposed and wayward American Bar Association policy that would in effect require law schools to use racial preferences in admission or risk the loss of their accreditation. Another pressure for more preferences leading to more weak admissions and more failure.
     
  2. 4EVERLUV

    4EVERLUV Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    This is so true. I am Paralegal for a law firm. When I first joined the firm we had a total of 100 employees 30 attorneys the other 60 support staff (Paralegals, Legal sec, file clerks etc) During that time we had 2 black attorneys 1 female, 1 male. We suffered from the passing of the tort reform and had to lay-off about 50% of the staff. We now have 15 attorneys and about 25-30 support staff. We have 1 black attorney now. Do you think its the male or the female. Its the male. It kind of ironic that I came across this thread because just yesterday I was talking with the black attorney and he said if they hire another white attorney he was going to put bricks on his back and jump out of the window. lol It was funny to me (we are on the 31st floor by the way) but I feel him. You think we can get another brotha or sista up in this piece.

    Thank you dustyelbow for this informative information.
     
  3. dustyelbow

    dustyelbow Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Thanks for the response. I can certain FEEL and IMAGINE why the black attorney would say such, because I worked in a similar environment where there was staff cuts and the amount of work just increased on us black workers while enough white worker moved on to managing style positions.

    If they hire another manager style white that means more work for brothers and sisters who are already stretch and not considered until you get the ALL approval mark. Alot of times borther and sisters with all the work on their shoulder are asked to TRAIN them too.

    Of course we can hold it up as a racial issue as it is but I also see it as KILL the WORK SPIRIT.

    I hope the black female attorney got enough experience to use for moving. This issue is not at one location but all over.
     
  4. sweet apple*pie

    sweet apple*pie Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    This is interesting to me, since I have considered getting into law as a paralegal, and then perhaps, further.....4EVERLUV, do you enjoy what you do?
    What type of education did you obtain to become a paralegal? Do you think you may try to become an attorney?
     
  5. BlackManStand

    BlackManStand New Member MEMBER

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    Don't Believe the Hype!

    I've read Sander's article, and to put it simply, it's pure garbage. I'm also a recent law school grad working at a large law firm, so I have a little perspective on the issue.

    Sander's article assumes, incorrectly, that black students are on equal footing with their white counterparts at law school. First, white students are often more apt (and able) to cheat in law school. For example, in my Legal Writing class, many of the white students had their work reviewed (and sometimes completed) by their white attorney/judge friends and relatives. No one was supposed to review your Legal Writing work. While cheating was rampant throughout law school, most black students were too afraid of reinforcing stereotypes, wasting our astronomical law school loans, and shaming our families too cheat.

    Secondly, whites were much more capable of entering the inner-circle (sometimes romantically) of white professors. Granted, black students at my law school could usually do the same with black professors -- but there was only one black professor at my school. Professors "took care" of their favorites. So who do you think has the upper-hand there?

    Sander also assumes that that blacks and whites are on equal footing at large law firms. I wish that was the case. Just like most blacks folks with some sense look out for their own, white and jewish folks do the same. So try as may to stay on point here at the job (and serve as proof of my firm's committment to diversity), I can never be a white (or jewish) man. I can do the work all day long, but I can't be "one of the good ol boys." That's why blacks leave large law firms after two or three years. It's not because they can't handle complex legal issues, it's because they can't handle shucking and jiving any longer.

    The underlying purpose of Sander's article and thesis is that affirmative action is harmful to blacks because it places them in an intellectual stratum that they are not capable of excelling in. While affirmative action is not the ultimate solution to the ills (educational and socio-economic inequalities) which AA attempts to ameliorate, it's the only short-term answer that our government has accepted.

    I wish Sander, and people that think like him, would drop the tired argument that affirmative action is harmful to black folks because it creates a sense of undeserved entitlement. They should just say what they really feel, i.e. Whites have grown tired of "reverse discrimination" and they want their jobs back.
     
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