Posts Tagged ‘recruitment’

#@&% 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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More on Law School Grade Inflation: A New York Times Article

All Rights Reserved

 Law Schools Visit Lake Wobegon – Economix Blog – NYTimes.com, June 22, 2010

I’m seeing more articles about the legal industry with some refreshingly honest one-liners: “To paraphrase the late, great  Henny Youngman: Take our graduates — please!”

That is the message blasting from the nation’s law schools, those cash cows of higher education that could once promise lucrative employment to the nation’s risk-averse young adults. Now the legal job market has turned chilly, though, and schools are trying everything from literally paying employers to hire their students to retroactively inflating their alumni’s grades. [emphasis mine]. I appreciate the raw characterization of these institutions of higher learning. But where was this integrity 15 years ago; it only surfaces when those who were in line for the next round of promised BigLaw employment are affected that more media outlets bring attention to it…or that the lid was on top of the boiling legal industry ready to spill over, but adding ingredients of false imagery, justification, cajoling and misrepresented statistics finally spilled over, a likely combination of both.

The schools making the changes range from all over the spectrum, from the tippy-top-ranked schools like Harvard and Stanford (which no longer use traditional grades) to other top-20 schools like New York University, Duke, Georgetown and Washington University in St. Louis as well as schools further down in the rankings like Tulane, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. In a sense, the economy became a great leveler of talent that was disbursed throughout the different law schools, but these recent changes in grading policies across the spectrum has led to a new characterization of IVY League and top fourteen law schools: ‘First Tier Toilets.’ Ouch.

I talked with a lot of law school deans and others involved in the “grade reform” process, and pretty much everyone argued that their school wasn’t trying to “leapfrog” anyone, just to keep an “equal playing field” with their “peer schools,” which already had higher grades. And likewise students whose schools have not yet inflated their grading systems are complaining that they are currently at a disadvantage in the job market.  Do people really think this will make a difference?

Higher grades (or no grades at all) are probably good for stressed-out students’ morale. But it is hard to say whether a stricter or a more lenient grading curve makes much difference to students’ job prospects, especially since many law firms try to keep up with what the schools are doing. (Above the Law, a legal news and gossip blog, has been publicizing such changes to schools’ grading systems, for example.)

I will now start my ramblings: Maybe in the schools’ rankings, the schools’ qualification for federal funding, the schools’ justification to continue tuition increases. However, for the law graduate it’s an odd benefit. Since a certain number of grades each semester had to be disbursed throughout the class, those who were intelligent may have been given the luck of the draw lower grade. So those who are above the curve, whether more talented or not continued to gain advantages over the former. Now, we can also theorize that the change in the grading process could give those who should’ve been above the curve the grade they deserved in the first place. With all of this convolution, it appears that the law school grading system was flawed in the first place and the likely privileged are now complaining because they were accustomed to the golden path to BigLaw. Yet, this argument against grade inflation will always exist: The flattened grading curve can make it harder for standout students to continue to, well, stand out. Grade inflation may particularly hurt top students at mediocre law schools, who want to show they can compete with job applicants from more elite institutions.

The bottom line is that the legal industry is unable to create new jobs in this failing economy. Increasing grades will not truly increase competition. The real issue is the number of new law schools that continue to become accredited and the increased number of law graduates that are continuously pumped into the market.