Archive for Blacks and law school

#@&% No!: More lawyers of color a law school priority (Updated)

You see this? More lawyers of color a law school priority (Daily Planet, 05/24/2012)When an industry is failing that’s when they desire more people of color–so they can take them down with them. A year ago I posted an article regarding this issue and apparently it is being revisited. Listen wisely people of color, especially Blacks. Do not allow propaganda, rhetoric and false promises deceive you into attending law school. Let’s look at the facts:

*Law school tuition increases, while unemployment in the legal industry steadily decreases.

*Since the 2008 recession, the U.S. national unemployment rate hovered I think around 9+%. For Black Americans specifically it was a consistent 15%. When things are bad, they are really bad for Blacks.

*Unemployment as of last week continued to worsen in the public sector (federal and state government), because as one news article reported the bulk of Black unemployment is in this sector. Translation: whites in the mid to BigLaw firms have always been hesitant if not blatantly refuse to hire you. For those wise enough to apply to Yale or Harvard, a white male from the same alma mater will still win over you.

*The average law student must take out student loans: No ifs, ands, or buts. So an average person of color from working class or middle class will never have ALL of their tuition/fees paid by non-dischargrable Sallie Mae debt. Should you be able to find a job upon graduation, know that you will not make $150,000+ starting nor ever. Since state and federal government have continued to shrink its workforce, by the time new 0Ls apply there will be even less jobs in that sector.

This industry wants to get as many people of color mired in debt. Use your critical thinking skills and common sense. As mentioned before, you are wise to this game they’re attempting to play. Remember when the 4th tier UB Law attempted to open a branch law school in Prince George’s County-a county that has always been historically Black? It didn’t go through (See my post: Does Prince George’s Need a Law School?: An Article in The Washington Post (February 11, 2010) It does not matter if it’s Maryland or Minnesota or Massachussetts, it is a horrible scheme across the board.

Now there’s another scheme in the works in the guise of getting people of color represented in the legal industry. How about getting people of color represented in a legitimate workforce that actually helps them achieve a standard of living and have dignity? No, just more debt. Nothing but legal education sharecropping. You will be calling Sallie Mae “master.”

**Please also see: Minorities Decrease Enrollment in Law Schools: They Figured Out the Game (07/16/2010; Life’s Mockery)

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Minorities Decrease Enrollment in Law Schools: They Figured Out the Game

In January Life’s Mockery posted: Law School Admissions Lag Among Minorities January 6, 2010 « Life’s Mockery .

All Rights Reserved

Though minorities increased obtaining a Bachelor’s degree and their LSATs score, decided to opt out of the law school, bury your financial future game. Well, it’s being reported again: 

Black Presence in Law Schools Dwindling
by Kenneth Mallory
We know how sincerely you’re concerned about minorities becoming a part of this noble profession. Or do you really see them as fresh hunting ground to lure them into the financial debt game via Sallie Mae; just like the mortgage industry did with home loans. How about improving the statistics of CURRENT unemployed minorities instead of trying to rope more into the dizzying maze of professional no-where-land.
“Miles to Go” finds that African-American representation in law is less than other professions, like teaching and medicine. Wow, this makes me feel better. Medicine is more lucrative, characterized by hard science and you practically help (well ideally) others improve their health. I’ve heard for years that education field need more teachers (primary), and even a call for reform regarding teachers’ salary.

WASHINGTON (NNPA) – A report by the American Bar Association has found that the proportion of minorities, including Blacks and Hispanics, enrolling in law schools has decreased in the past two years. One way to keep your risk of living in this country at a decent level.

”Minority representation among law students has dropped for the past two years, from 20.6 percent in 2001-2002 to 20.3 percent in 2003-2004,” said the findings in the third edition of “Miles to Go: Progress of Minorities in the Legal Profession,” published by the ABA’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Legal Profession.

In addition, the report contends minorities are less apt than Whites to head to private law firms after leaving law school, more likely to resign from firms after three years there and ”continue to be grossly underrepresented in top level jobs, such as law partner and corporate general counsel.” Interesting, but where are the statistics on unemployed minority attorneys, you know the majority?

The report’s author, New York Law School Professor Elizabeth Chambliss, deemed the finding of reduced enrollment ”extremely troubling,” and, in an interview, discussed the under-representation of minorities in the profession. Yes, you believe that the legal industry has not tapped into a potential lucrative resource that will increase your yearly salary and boost your probability of obtaining tenure. It’s not troubling for minorities who have figured out your game and know that they will be treated like second class citizens throughout law school and after with ‘professors’ having such racist proclamations as “You went to law school?” They’re saving themselves from additional psychological damage from overt racism that professors and others guise as a form of wit with such back handed compliments. Minorities aren’t stupid enough to believe you have a genuine ‘concern’ that they’re not attending law school

”The legal profession already is one of the least racially integrated professions in the United States when all four minority groups [African-American, Hispanic, Asian American, Native American] are aggregated,” she said. ”African-Americans, too, are represented at lower levels than in many comparable professions. In 2000, African-Americans made up only 3.9 percent of all lawyers, compared to 4.4 percent of physicians, 5.6 percent of college and university professors, 7.8 percent of computer scientists and 7.9 percent of accountants and auditors.”

Chambliss discussed the implications of such findings.

”The low level of Black representation in the profession may discourage promising Black students from considering law and limit Black lawyers’ chances to find mentors and role models within the law. And, to the extent that Black lawyers are more likely than others to be concerned with racial justice, discrimination, community development, and the like, the dearth of Black lawyers contributes to an already unequal access to lawyers in the United States.” Yes, discourage them, save them from a lifetime of Sallie Mae harassments, unemployment, the grits, the taunting, the presumptive “you’re here because of affirmative action.” How many decades have passed before you realized the false hope of upward mobility via law school. [See Life’s Mockery’s post for comments on legacy admissions, minorities, and chances for upward mobility: [University of Michigan Law Journal: Preserving a Racial Hierarchy: « Life’s Mockery]

The dean of admissions at a prominent area law school acknowledged a decline in the number of minorities enrolling in its program, while another said the number of Black applicants was declining. This is encouraging and tragic at the same time.

At the George Washington University Law School, Robert Stanek, associate dean for admissions and financial aid, said enrollment declined at the highly competitive school, which, according to the ABA, received more than 11,000 applications in 2004.

”Two, three and four years ago, we admitted a certain number of minority candidates, and usually the numbers that enrolled constituted about a third of the class,” said Stanek. ”Last year, our same number of offers of admission resulted in a much lower percentage registered. We didn’t see an application decline. We saw a decline in the numbers accepting our offer of admission.”

Stanek said school officials are still trying to ”digest exactly what [has] happened,” and, subsequently, have not initiated any new recruitment efforts for minority students. Minorities became weary of seeing their parent, sibling or spouse attend law school, saddle with debt, with little to no job prospect in the legal industry and the social environment of racism that permeates most law firms. I hope that clarifies it for you. Simply put, one gets tired of running into a brick wall, all the while expected to keep a smile on their face though the soul silently protests.

But Reginald McGahee, dean of admissions at Howard University Law School, perhaps the premiere African-American law school in the country, said the number of applicants applying to Howard Law and many other higher education institutions across the country has declined, especially among Black males.
Though most HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges & Universities) are supported by minority attendance and this is a little daunting; but at the same time understandable. Though the social and educational experience is likely different than at other law schools, many have learned that a long-term strategy regarding standard of living and career is more of a priority.

”There is a universal drop in African-American males that are applying to law schools, and more specifically, higher education in general. And we’re seeing that same decline,” he said.

Law officials discussed obstacles that might preclude Blacks from pursuing careers in law, such as a growing disinterest in the profession and the LSAT (Law School Admissions Test), which many feel is biased against Black law school applicants. Why must you assume that it is the LSAT that is discouraging minorities and not the legal industry itself, especially in light of a previous article stating that minorities actually have increased their LSAT scores over the past few years [Law School Admissions Lag Among Minorities January 6, 2010 « Life’s Mockery] it is this presumptive racism that Blacks don’t want to deal with.

Lawrence Baca, chair of the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, said law schools can increase the number of minorities by having Black law school graduates reach out to Black students. If any Blacks do, I hope it is to be honest and warn them of the true reality of the legal industry in the United States.

”Any law school that wants to increase minority participation, or, particularly, Black participation, is going to have to get out and do some outreach work,” Baca said. ”The first thing that I would do if I was a law school is I would find my graduates of color, whatever racial or ethnic group it is, and ask them for their assistance in helping me identify folks and convincing folks to apply.” Outreach to Blacks? Why would they lower themselves to interacting with Black people, oh but then again the legal industry is a business so to repeat in Black Like Me: “We’ll do business with you…” Please spare us the ‘real concern’ facade and I hope 0Ls don’t fall for the attorney encouraging them to attend law school. This false prestige is disgusting, that’s why so many attorneys are so phony in their interactions because they’re deluded and continue to try to convince themselves and others about the industry. So the legal industry suggests using minority lawyers as the agent by which to their bidding and lead unwitting 0L sheep through to law school slaughter.

Baca said he believed a major reason Black students are not considering careers in law is because they lack role models in the profession and do not hear about positive things lawyers have done with their careers.  [emphasis mine]. Exactly, which is why for the most part they should not go.

He also said lawyers have not been pictured in a positive light in the media, possibly deterring students from considering law careers.

”The legal trade for one reason or another has not had the best reputation in the press, and to the extent that it may be causing students to not apply to law school, the way to get past that is for our folks to go into the law schools and say, ‘I don’t care about what you wrote about in the paper. Here’s what I did last week with my career,”’ said Baca. Yes, honesty in what has happened to their legal career, that would be great, please note that it won’t get the result you want, but will simply deter more potential students (hopefully) from enrolling.

But a major concern voiced by many future Black lawyers, as well as those advocating increased diversity in the profession, is the hurdle the LSAT poses to Black students.

”One of the main barriers to increasing diversity among law students is law schools’ heavy reliance on the LSAT. African Americans and other minority groups score lower, on average, than Whites, on the LSAT, yet law schools’ reliance on this measure of aptitude has increased markedly over time,”

Chambliss said in a statement. ”One point differences on the LSAT can make the difference between admission and rejection by law schools, even though such differences are not statistically significant, and even though the LSAT does not predict success as a lawyer, however measured.”

Stanek agreed that the LSAT is quickly becoming the most important factor in law school admissions.

”Is it overriding all other factors? I don’t think so — yet,” he said. McGahee said some currently believe the LSAT is biased.

”The main thing that we have to realize [is] that there’s a lot of debate out there right now that there are some inherent biases that go along with the LSAT. Being at Howard, we’re more sensitive to that than some other institutions in the countries may be. But what we can’t get away from [is] that, right now, there is no other test to properly evaluate and predict whether a student will or won’t do well in law school,” he said.

McGahee said Black students should take time to ensure they are prepared for the LSAT. But according to Chambliss, law schools shouldn’t rely as much on the standardized test.

”Law schools concerned with increasing the diversity of their student bodies need to focus less on the LSAT and more on other measures of achievement, including undergraduate grades and work history,” she said.

Although the LSAT is important, I sincerely hope that the media and the legal industry stop characterizing it as some unbeknown reason why this is likely an issue for minorities. One is having access to prepatory materials, which I would say 6-10 years ago was more difficult than now. Information technology has decreased the barrier of access and some may not understand how important the LSAT is in paving the path to their legal career. It’s more of an issue of preparation and not lack of ability or intelligence.

But Kim Keenan, president of the National Bar Association, a group representing thousands of Black lawyers, discussed the possible ramifications the underrepresentation of African Americans in law will have for the Black community in the future.I agree and discussed this here [Law School Admissions Lag Among Minorities January 6, 2010 « Life’s Mockery]

”Ultimately, at some point, you will not be able to find lawyers of color,” said Keenan. I hope you do not think this is by happenstance.

A Somewhat Honest Letter from New Jersey Bar Association President: Law Profession and Minorities

Letter From The President Of The New Jersey State Bar Association; Published: July 05, 2010

All Rights Reserved

To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:

As members of the bar we represent a noble profession. Template characterization of the law field.

As we strive on behalf of our clients, we are also mindful of our obligation to improve the system of justice. This should extend to the members of the legal profession, those ‘officers of the court’ who have taken an exhorbitant amount of student loans with no system of justice looking out for their best interests as a whole.

The New Jersey State Bar Association is committed to addressing the issues that are critical to the profession and society.

Issues like the economy’s continued effects on our job market; the need to promote diversity in the legal community; the delivery of legal services, and our obligation to protect judicial independence. TTT/TTTT have no problem promoting diversity by being the primary institutions of U.S. legal education that will enroll minority students. Thus, those who had the ability to achieve and outperform are relegated to schools that have set them up for a future of disdainful looks and assumptions that the only reason they even attended law school, no matter how poor the ranking, was due to affirmative action.

Early this summer, I helped welcome over 100 new attorneys to the profession at a swearing-in event in Trenton. Each of them signed up for law school believing they would join a noble profession – a profession that would allow them to make a difference in society while earning a good living for their families. Unfortunately, the job market that greets them remains grim. [emphasis mine] Yet, the were struck by the harsh reality of the economy, closed doors, inadequate training and lack of opportunity. All the while working within the confines of this ‘noble’ profession: March 15, 2010

The Undertraining of Lawyers and Its Effects On The Advancement of Women and Minorities in the Legal Profession « Life’s Mockery

The state’s largest lawyers group is committed to assisting lawyers navigate these troubled times. We will continue to help lawyers get their practices up and running, and be a resource for those who have already hung out their own shingle. As someone who made the leap into solo practice 10 years ago, I know how the state bar can help lawyers make a transition. First, you begin by saying that the economy is bad, and that members of the legal industry have a an obligation to the law graduates and professionals. Then you encourage those minorities who aren’t afforded the opportunity to enter into decent job prospects to start their own firms with no substantial experience. They will need, escrow account, a separate interest bearing account (depends on jurisdiction) supplies, office for leasing, liability insurance, malpractice insurance, office supplies. The funds for the start up costs will likely emanate from small business loans (more debt and interest). Most businesses lose money their first year in operation. Most law students aren’t taught economics, finance or how to operate a business. Most law students aren’t graduating with practical skills to practice law and there are just too many attorneys. Since the economy remains grim, how do you expect these inexperienced lawyers to attract clientele for their small firm in which most will not be able to pay retainer or contingency fees. So, you encourage new lawyers to incur more debt, increase their professional risk in this bad economy. Most small to mid-size firms not only lose money but are often wiped out by BigLaw firms because they are unable to compete. It’s like these lawyers who do not know better or being set up for another fall with additional financial consequences.

While most lawyers have been hurt by the recession, there are signs that the diverse population in the bar has been especially hard hit. The economic crisis has reduced opportunities for minority lawyers and hampered the profession’s efforts to increase diversity. Yet, you encourage the just above mentioned approach. I know that these blogs have been sounding negative but with estimates that the job market will only worsen for the next couple of years and that the legal industry may see a slight improvement in a few years, it’s simply not a reasonable investment. They will make things worse for themselves.

This is not acceptable. Our great state – the most diverse in the nation – demands an equally diverse legal profession. In the coming months, the state bar association will convene a summit on diversity to examine the progress we have made and to chart a path forward toward the goal of a more inclusive profession. It’s about time, why don’t a national bar association do this?

An inclusive profession is powerful and meaningful in today’s increasingly global marketplace.  That’s a nice sentiment, but the reality is that it depends on who you ask.

It is true that the global marketplace has brought changes to nearly every business and profession, and the law is no different. So true, legal outsourcing to India via LPOs has changed the American legal industry. There is cause for concern about how these trends may diminish the importance of practicing lawyers – and the public’s access to quality legal services.

In order to better understand and respond, we will establish a task force on the future of the delivery of legal services, with an eye toward protecting the public and preserving our professional values.

When it comes to protecting the public, we are reminded how blessed we are in New Jersey to have one of the most respected state court systems in the nation. That is because it is an independent and impartial branch of government. We will continue to fight to preserve the sanctity of our justice system – because every judge in our courts and every resident of New Jersey deserve it. This is confusing. The letter begins by stating the need to protect the interests of attorneys who are affected by the downturn in the economy. I will have to assume that getting attorneys to open firms to represent clients somehow enhances the justice system. So the interest is moreso getting criminals legal representation while lawyers sink in a mire of debt with no one caring about their interests.

After all, this is what the bar association is about:  Examining the tough issues so you know what is at stake and offering insight about the path to take.

Black Unemployment: “I Have Mine and You Have Yours to Get”

“I Have Mine and You Have Yours to Get.” This is the mentality of many Americans, but I find it significant among black Americans. Excluding the black upperclass, I notice a difference in the recruiting, networking and effort of minorities to help one another. This is likely due to several factors: 1) as in previous posts, “Blacks” have been disproportionately excluded from advancement in this country: municipal slavery, Black Codes, Jim Crow, institutionalized racism, ebbs and flow in the overall economy, difficulty in assimilating despite education advancement; 2) Blacks are reluctant to help one another, many are of the persuasion that they worked so hard to advance that if they recommend the wrong black person their job/job prospects will be damaged 3) Wealth: Those blacks who are wealthy see no purpose in helping middle class blacks, as it is ‘not their problem,’ so long as they can attend their 100 Black Men Meetings, Links Club meetings, send their children to ‘Jack and Jill’ and boat the existence of their fellow human beings suffering is of no consequence. As many of these wealthy blacks embody this mentality, on the rare, such as the former owner Bob Johnson who sold BET several years ago as he was satiated with the stereotype and redundancy of the music business. He started BJI Industries with the portfolio of seeking highly skilled black businessmen and women.

As various persons (Congressional Black Caucus, lawmakers) mail the U.S. President for resolution to the hardest hit population of the current economic crisis-Black Americans, it is a mystery whether an answer will be in the affirmative. The following are more stories concerning black unemployment:

Obama lobbied on black unemployment, immigration, March 11, 2010, http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE62A5OO20100311

DR. BOYCE: Obama Needs To Fix The Black Jobs Situation,  April 5, 2010, News One http://newsone.com/nation/boycewatkins/dr-boyce-obama-needs-to-fix-the-black-jobs-situation/

Obama ignores black joblessness at his own peril, April 06, 2010, http://www.istockanalyst.com/article/viewiStockNews/articleid/4004812
White Unemployment Goes Down as Black Unemployment Goes Up: Experts Explain Why, April 7, 2010, The Seattle Medium: http://www.seattlemedium.com/news/Article/Article.asp?NewsID=102405&sID=3&ItemSource=L
Was the recession more difficult for state’s people of color?, April 7, 2010, http://www.clarionledger.com/article/20100407/COL0412/4070313/1171/OPINION
This may be an opportunity for professional blacks to do what working class blacks did in the early 1900s when shut out of the greater society, create one’s one opportunities and reciprocate for the fellow man who suffers from the same trial.

Does Prince George’s Need a Law School?: An Article in The Washington Post

Are you kidding me? Maryland is one of the smallest states in the country already has two law schools and borders Washington, DC and Virginia. The question is does America needs another law school? What really bothers me is that African-Americans make up the majority and has since pretty much of the inception of Prince George’s County, Maryland. Since the 1990s (we’ll leave historical racial discrimination alone for now) the housing market, specifically banks have already raped the pockets of these residents by giving them subprime loans. No, they qualified for better loans but because they were black the banks decided to give the worst terms to them:  
The Seattle Times, ‘Judge dismisses Baltimore suit against Wells Fargo,’ The Associated Press January 7, 2010. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2010726364_apuswellsfargosubprimelawsuit.html?syndication=rss 
The New York Times, ‘Memphis Accuses Wells Fargo of Discriminating Against Blacks,’ Michael Powell, December 30, 2009. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/31/us/31wells.html (last visited January 16, 2010)
WBALtv.com, ‘City Tries To Push Forward Wells Fargo Lawsuit: City Claims Wells Fargo Used Predatory Lending On Blacks,’ June 29, 2009. http://www.wbaltv.com/money/19897079/detail.html
The New York Times, ‘Bank Accused of Pushing Bad Mortgage Deals on Blacks,’ June 6, 2009, Michael Powell http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/07/us/07baltimore.htm?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1260291635-M9E2ycPY47KMy84bjX/QWA 
NAACP Press Release, March 13, 2009, NAACP Files Landmark Lawsuit Today Against Wells Fargo and HSBC
http://www.naacp.org/news/press/2009-03-13/index.htm . The point is that blacks haven’t recovered from this last recession, the being taken advantage of when they think they finally have an opportunity to make it and here comes the law schools, ready to exploit them in another way. NO! Anyway, here’s the article:
_________________________________________________________________________________________
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/annapolis/2009/04/legal_studies.html
The General Assembly has nixed a study of a D.C. United soccer stadium in Prince George’s this year, but here’s something they’ve given the go-ahead to study: A possible law school in the Washington area.
Del. Justin D. Ross (D-Prince George’s) worked with Del. John L. Bohanan Jr. (D-St. Mary’s), the chair of the education subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, to insert language in the state budget authorizing the study. The budget now asks that the University system study the “feasibility and logistical costs and benefits” of launching a branch of the University of Baltimore’s law school in the D.C. area. The report is to be submitted to the legislature by Sept. 1.
Ross said his goal is to look at creating a law school in Prince George’s County, a reasonable place for a law school, he said, because of the University of Maryland’s undergrad campus in College Park and the federal courthouse in Greenbelt. U-Md.’s law school is located in Baltimore.
“I think it could be a great success for the University of Baltimore law school and the county,” he said.
 
By Rosalind Helderman  |  April 13, 2009; 10:32 AM ET
________________________________________________________________________________
NOTICE HOW THEY WANT TO PUT THE FOURTH TIER LAW SCHOOL [http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/rankings/title+University%20of%20Baltimore
IN THE MAJORITY BLACK MIDDLE CLASS COUNTY INSTEAD OF University of Maryland (Tier 1) Law School [http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/rankings/c_final_tier+1/title+University%20of%20Maryland],
which would make more sense, since the University of Maryland (Terps) College Park is already there.  BLACK PEOPLE DON’T LET THEM EXPLOIT YOUR IGNORANCE! The article towards the very end makes it appear that ONLY UM has a law school, wrong both UM and UB already exists in Baltimore, Maryland!

Reasons Why You Should Not Go to Law School

Top 10

10) Money Money, Money or the lack thereof you will be mortgaging your future.

9) People assume that an attorney = prestige, lexus, bmw and a nice condo or home, you will be left with the damaging reality of scraping up money to make your monthly bills and pondering how many years of happiness you wasted

8) Unless you attend a top 10 school in top tier your prospects will diminish upon graduation with polite rebuffs of why you weren’t hired (that might’ve been repetitive too).

7) The legal profession is being outsourced, you will likely not have a job in the legal profession when you graduate.

6) What they call the ‘Socratic method’ is nothing more than hazing and to see if they can plummet your self-esteem while laughing on the way to the bank to deposit their gradiose paycheck.

5) As a person of color, you are not wanted there, no matter how hard you work, if your ideas aren’t conformist, no matter how plausible or right, you will become that professor’s target.

4) Did I mention student loans?

3) There are other options than law school, such as trade, culinary schools and other graduate programs such as engineering and medical school that are more cost-investment-worthy than law school.

2) You will be told that it is a sacrifice during your first year of law school, that your family, spouses, etc will understand the “pay-off” only to realize the only pay-off you’ll be doing is on those student loans.

1) As things are generally harder for the majority of blacks– you know discrimination in employment, housing and education, criminal justice system (don’t challenge me–I have reports and statistics), laidening yourself with debt is pushing yourself  further into a form of servitude to a system that doesn’t respect you in the first place.