Is there actual proof of URM boost?

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farewelltoarms
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Re: Is there actual proof of URM boost?

Postby farewelltoarms » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:42 am

ccs1702 wrote:
farewelltoarms wrote:
ravens20 wrote:There is absolutely nothing wrong with making use of a URM boost; it is well within the rights of any eligible applicant to use it (and they would be foolish not to). However there is no question that such a boost does exist; it is not merely an internet phenomenon. If you want evidence go to lawschoolnumbers.com click on any school and look at the graph of acceptances/waitlists/denials. Go to the green dots in the lower left hand corner that are separated from all of the other green dots and note how they almost all have three letters in parentheses: URM.


Alright I just did this, but I fail to see how this is persuasive. First off, LSN is a website self reported by users, not the law schools themselves. The vast majority of the people that apply to law schools don't use LSN. Perhaps just as many white people got in with those numbers as the minority users, but we'll never know this because of the way the website works.

Secondly, why would a school purposefully want more minorities? This is a more general question, and not really a rebuttal, but still. I don't see how having more minorities will make a law school more prestigious or desirable.


LSN isn't perfect, but there's no reason to believe that the ratio of URM/non-URM applicants on the site would be higher than the overall ratio.

Second, they don't want "more" minorities; they want racial representation that mirrors that of the overall population. Not every minority group gets a boost, only those certain minority groups that have lower average scores than the rest of the applicant pool. As for being more desirable, would you want to go to an all-white school? I wouldn't.


Why would going to an all white school bother you? Lack of diversity? Look at a country bumpkin redneck from Tennessee and rich Yuppie from New York. Dialect, religion, upbringing will all be radically different and contribute to the ''diversity'' of the school.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Is there actual proof of URM boost?

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:43 am

farewelltoarms wrote:Letting anyone into a school they can't handle is foolish. If a 163 LSAT and 3.0 gpa minority goes to Yale, odds are the other kids in the class will be smarter and harder working. He or she will then get owned in terms of class ranking, and fail to secure a good job. Even if they do get a BigLaw job, they will not be able to work at the level thats expected of a Yale law graduate. I don't see how this is not logical....

vanwinkle wrote:Let me explain this in the simplest terms possible:

You. Are. An. Idiot.

I hope you can understand that.

farewelltoarms
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Re: Is there actual proof of URM boost?

Postby farewelltoarms » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:44 am

ccs1702 wrote:
farewelltoarms wrote:Wow, thanks for the mature response. Really contributed to this thread with that. You didn't answer my question though.

Letting anyone into a school they can't handle is foolish. If a 163 LSAT and 3.0 gpa minority goes to Yale, odds are the other kids in the class will be smarter and harder working. He or she will then get owned in terms of class ranking, and fail to secure a good job. Even if they do get a BigLaw job, they will not be able to work at the level thats expected of a Yale law graduate. I don't see how this is not logical....


This is a gross exaggeration of the URM boost. Nonetheless, if this is the route you want to take, then you shall never have the right to complain about LSAT and GPA being given too much weight in the admissions process.



If you have a more accurate, easily determined correlation with success in Law school than LSAT/GPA I'm sure the ABA would love to hear it.

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Zapatero
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Re: Is there actual proof of URM boost?

Postby Zapatero » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:45 am

farewelltoarms wrote:
ccs1702 wrote:
farewelltoarms wrote:Wow, thanks for the mature response. Really contributed to this thread with that. You didn't answer my question though.

Letting anyone into a school they can't handle is foolish. If a 163 LSAT and 3.0 gpa minority goes to Yale, odds are the other kids in the class will be smarter and harder working. He or she will then get owned in terms of class ranking, and fail to secure a good job. Even if they do get a BigLaw job, they will not be able to work at the level thats expected of a Yale law graduate. I don't see how this is not logical....


This is a gross exaggeration of the URM boost. Nonetheless, if this is the route you want to take, then you shall never have the right to complain about LSAT and GPA being given too much weight in the admissions process.



If you have a more accurate, easily determined correlation with success in Law school than LSAT/GPA I'm sure the ABA would love to hear it.


If I could show me any reliable metric to predict law school success, then I would love to hear it.

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ravens20
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Re: Is there actual proof of URM boost?

Postby ravens20 » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:52 am

farewelltoarms wrote:
Wow, thanks for the mature response. Really contributed to this thread with that. You didn't answer my question though.

Letting anyone into a school they can't handle is foolish. If a 163 LSAT and 3.0 gpa minority goes to Yale, odds are the other kids in the class will be smarter and harder working. He or she will then get owned in terms of class ranking, and fail to secure a good job. Even if they do get a BigLaw job, they will not be able to work at the level thats expected of a Yale law graduate. I don't see how this is not logical....


In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell actually addresses the exact point you are raising in one of the chapters (and even makes specific references to the Michigan Law case). He claims that evidence shows that there is indeed a URM boost. He also claims that studies have shown that candidates who didn't otherwise have the numbers to do get into Michigan Law ended up doing relatively worst off than their peers in law school as you suggested. However, he says that when you look at the careers of these individuals several years down the road, there is no tangible difference between them and the other students who had the numbers to be accepted without the boost (both URM who didn't need the boost and non-URM). What does this all mean? His argument is that there is a threshold of intelligence/ability/etc. for succeeding as a lawyer and pretty much all the students who got into Michigan Law (through a URM boost or otherwise) met this threshold. Therefore, according to Gladwell, affirmative action didn't harm the kids in the way that you are potentially implying that it could...rather it gave them the opportunity to prove that they could meet this threshold in the working world (a degree from Michigan Law presumably opened up a lot of doors for these kids).

I'm not sure I did Gladwell's theory justice in my paraphrase, but I thought it was an interesting take on affirmative action in general, and responded at least partly to the point you were bringing up. If you are interested, I really recommend picking up the book - it is an interesting read.

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PDaddy
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Re: Is there actual proof of URM boost?

Postby PDaddy » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:56 am

Let's, as scholars and "counselors", begin to focus more on the disparate conditions that leave ethnic minorities deficient in the English language and reasoning skills so early in life. That is the key. We can argue the existence and/or merits of AA or socioeconomic boosts, or whatever. But that won't cure the problem. We all have an opportunity to affect change. Go into minority schools and ensure that they don't have inferior resources, that teachers are highly competent, that parenting issues are addressed within the schools, and that minority parents have open access to completion or continuation of their education(s). Let's lobby for increased funding that is narrowly tailred to these ends.

Those are the starting points.

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nyyankees
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Re: Is there actual proof of URM boost?

Postby nyyankees » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:03 am

ravens20 wrote:
farewelltoarms wrote:
Wow, thanks for the mature response. Really contributed to this thread with that. You didn't answer my question though.

Letting anyone into a school they can't handle is foolish. If a 163 LSAT and 3.0 gpa minority goes to Yale, odds are the other kids in the class will be smarter and harder working. He or she will then get owned in terms of class ranking, and fail to secure a good job. Even if they do get a BigLaw job, they will not be able to work at the level thats expected of a Yale law graduate. I don't see how this is not logical....


In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell actually addresses the exact point you are raising in one of the chapters (and even makes specific references to the Michigan Law case). He claims that evidence shows that there is indeed a URM boost. He also claims that studies have shown that candidates who didn't otherwise have the numbers to do get into Michigan Law ended up doing relatively worst off than their peers in law school as you suggested. However, he says that when you look at the careers of these individuals several years down the road, there is no tangible difference between them and the other students who had the numbers to be accepted without the boost (both URM who didn't need the boost and non-URM). What does this all mean? His argument is that there is a threshold of intelligence/ability/etc. for succeeding as a lawyer and pretty much all the students who got into Michigan Law (through a URM boost or otherwise) met this threshold. Therefore, according to Gladwell, affirmative action didn't harm the kids in the way that you are potentially implying that it could...rather it gave them the opportunity to prove that they could meet this threshold in the working world (a degree from Michigan Law presumably opened up a lot of doors for these kids).

I'm not sure I did Gladwell's theory justice in my paraphrase, but I thought it was an interesting take on affirmative action in general, and responded at least partly to the point you were bringing up. If you are interested, I really recommend picking up the book - it is an interesting read.


wow, thats very interesting.

I was having a debate with one of my friends about the merits of AA for med school and whether the added moral component inherent within becoming a medical doctor means that AA would be ethically more questionable in medical school than in law school admissions. This is interesting evidence, ill have to check it out. Any thoughts as to whether AA is med school should be any more dubious?

farewelltoarms
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Re: Is there actual proof of URM boost?

Postby farewelltoarms » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:06 am

ravens20 wrote:
farewelltoarms wrote:
Wow, thanks for the mature response. Really contributed to this thread with that. You didn't answer my question though.

Letting anyone into a school they can't handle is foolish. If a 163 LSAT and 3.0 gpa minority goes to Yale, odds are the other kids in the class will be smarter and harder working. He or she will then get owned in terms of class ranking, and fail to secure a good job. Even if they do get a BigLaw job, they will not be able to work at the level thats expected of a Yale law graduate. I don't see how this is not logical....


In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell actually addresses the exact point you are raising in one of the chapters (and even makes specific references to the Michigan Law case). He claims that evidence shows that there is indeed a URM boost. He also claims that studies have shown that candidates who didn't otherwise have the numbers to do get into Michigan Law ended up doing relatively worst off than their peers in law school as you suggested. However, he says that when you look at the careers of these individuals several years down the road, there is no tangible difference between them and the other students who had the numbers to be accepted without the boost (both URM who didn't need the boost and non-URM). What does this all mean? His argument is that there is a threshold of intelligence/ability/etc. for succeeding as a lawyer and pretty much all the students who got into Michigan Law (through a URM boost or otherwise) met this threshold. Therefore, according to Gladwell, affirmative action didn't harm the kids in the way that you are potentially implying that it could...rather it gave them the opportunity to prove that they could meet this threshold in the working world (a degree from Michigan Law presumably opened up a lot of doors for these kids).

I'm not sure I did Gladwell's theory justice in my paraphrase, but I thought it was an interesting take on affirmative action in general, and responded at least partly to the point you were bringing up. If you are interested, I really recommend picking up the book - it is an interesting read.


The only question I would have to raise with this theory of threshold intelligence, is when he says there were no tangible difference between the boosted URMs' careers and their peers. If he defines career success as attaining partner level, I wonder how the percentage of minority partners compared to minority lawyers and the percentage of white partners to white lawyers. If this statistic is known then it would be very helpful to confirm/deny-ing Gladwell's theory.

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Zapatero
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Re: Is there actual proof of URM boost?

Postby Zapatero » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:08 am

nyyankees wrote:
ravens20 wrote:
farewelltoarms wrote:
Wow, thanks for the mature response. Really contributed to this thread with that. You didn't answer my question though.

Letting anyone into a school they can't handle is foolish. If a 163 LSAT and 3.0 gpa minority goes to Yale, odds are the other kids in the class will be smarter and harder working. He or she will then get owned in terms of class ranking, and fail to secure a good job. Even if they do get a BigLaw job, they will not be able to work at the level thats expected of a Yale law graduate. I don't see how this is not logical....


In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell actually addresses the exact point you are raising in one of the chapters (and even makes specific references to the Michigan Law case). He claims that evidence shows that there is indeed a URM boost. He also claims that studies have shown that candidates who didn't otherwise have the numbers to do get into Michigan Law ended up doing relatively worst off than their peers in law school as you suggested. However, he says that when you look at the careers of these individuals several years down the road, there is no tangible difference between them and the other students who had the numbers to be accepted without the boost (both URM who didn't need the boost and non-URM). What does this all mean? His argument is that there is a threshold of intelligence/ability/etc. for succeeding as a lawyer and pretty much all the students who got into Michigan Law (through a URM boost or otherwise) met this threshold. Therefore, according to Gladwell, affirmative action didn't harm the kids in the way that you are potentially implying that it could...rather it gave them the opportunity to prove that they could meet this threshold in the working world (a degree from Michigan Law presumably opened up a lot of doors for these kids).

I'm not sure I did Gladwell's theory justice in my paraphrase, but I thought it was an interesting take on affirmative action in general, and responded at least partly to the point you were bringing up. If you are interested, I really recommend picking up the book - it is an interesting read.


wow, thats very interesting.

I was having a debate with one of my friends about the merits of AA for med school and whether the added moral component inherent within becoming a medical doctor means that AA would be ethically more questionable in medical school than in law school admissions. This is interesting evidence, ill have to check it out. Any thoughts as to whether AA is med school should be any more dubious?


Med school is an entirely different beast. If you can't cut it, you don't become a doctor. You can't be a slouch and make it through your residency.

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PDaddy
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Re: Is there actual proof of URM boost?

Postby PDaddy » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:14 am

farewelltoarms wrote:
Wow, thanks for the mature response. Really contributed to this thread with that. You didn't answer my question though.

Letting anyone into a school they can't handle is foolish. If a 163 LSAT and 3.0 gpa minority goes to Yale, odds are the other kids in the class will be smarter and harder working. He or she will then get owned in terms of class ranking, and fail to secure a good job. Even if they do get a BigLaw job, they will not be able to work at the level thats expected of a Yale law graduate. I don't see how this is not logical....


There's a reason the law schools put more emphasis on LSAT's than on grades: grades do not necessarily infer intelligence, performance, effort or any of the other qualities you seem to think they do. Not all 163's are alike, and not all 3.0 gpa's are alike. And, as for the struggles of minority law students at top law schools, does it occur to anyone with a brain that there are alternative causes for their difficulties, if they exist?

Examples would be, non-minority class members who assume their minority peers to be inferior and, thus, avoid including them in study groups, assisting them in their research, hanging out with them during free time, or allowing minority students to help the non-minorities. If you offer your outlines to a white student who assumes your work to be inferior without ever looking at it, that can take an emotional toll on you. If some of your professors treat you as inferior, you can begin to question your abilities, and that, too, can affect your performance.

Feeling included or enfranchised is an important part of objective performance in any situation. Employees who go to work in environments where they can believe their work is fairly evaluated, their contributions are highly valued, their physical and emotional safety is important, andf their opportunities for advancement are based solely on merit, as opposed to politics or nepotism, are much happier, stay with their respective employers for longer terms, and perform at higher levels.

Those dynamics explain why minority law graduates from top schools often perform on a level commensurate with their white and non-minority peers in their careers, despite having had lower LSAT scores and/or law school grades. Team-learning is an important part of legal education, and ethnic minorities are still mostly outcast by non-minority peers who resent them because their friends did not get into school, "all because of the black dude whose numbers probably weren't as good", or simply prejudge them to be inferior.

Self fulfilling prophesies are powerful, and very real in education as a whole. There has been much research done on whether social conditions can affect academic performance. My favorite examples are studies where students are made to think themselves smarter than they are (believed to be), and, as a result, actually begin to perform much better academically. Non-minority students typically grow up with this type of positive reinforcement, so it is deeply ingrained into their psyches.
Last edited by PDaddy on Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:24 am, edited 4 times in total.

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nyyankees
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Re: Is there actual proof of URM boost?

Postby nyyankees » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:15 am

ccs1702 wrote:
nyyankees wrote:
ravens20 wrote:
farewelltoarms wrote:
Wow, thanks for the mature response. Really contributed to this thread with that. You didn't answer my question though.

Letting anyone into a school they can't handle is foolish. If a 163 LSAT and 3.0 gpa minority goes to Yale, odds are the other kids in the class will be smarter and harder working. He or she will then get owned in terms of class ranking, and fail to secure a good job. Even if they do get a BigLaw job, they will not be able to work at the level thats expected of a Yale law graduate. I don't see how this is not logical....


In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell actually addresses the exact point you are raising in one of the chapters (and even makes specific references to the Michigan Law case). He claims that evidence shows that there is indeed a URM boost. He also claims that studies have shown that candidates who didn't otherwise have the numbers to do get into Michigan Law ended up doing relatively worst off than their peers in law school as you suggested. However, he says that when you look at the careers of these individuals several years down the road, there is no tangible difference between them and the other students who had the numbers to be accepted without the boost (both URM who didn't need the boost and non-URM). What does this all mean? His argument is that there is a threshold of intelligence/ability/etc. for succeeding as a lawyer and pretty much all the students who got into Michigan Law (through a URM boost or otherwise) met this threshold. Therefore, according to Gladwell, affirmative action didn't harm the kids in the way that you are potentially implying that it could...rather it gave them the opportunity to prove that they could meet this threshold in the working world (a degree from Michigan Law presumably opened up a lot of doors for these kids).

I'm not sure I did Gladwell's theory justice in my paraphrase, but I thought it was an interesting take on affirmative action in general, and responded at least partly to the point you were bringing up. If you are interested, I really recommend picking up the book - it is an interesting read.


wow, thats very interesting.

I was having a debate with one of my friends about the merits of AA for med school and whether the added moral component inherent within becoming a medical doctor means that AA would be ethically more questionable in medical school than in law school admissions. This is interesting evidence, ill have to check it out. Any thoughts as to whether AA is med school should be any more dubious?


Med school is an entirely different beast. If you can't cut it, you don't become a doctor. You can't be a slouch and make it through your residency.


i understand the value of diversity of opinion in law school. the benefits to diversity are less obvious to me in the medical profession in which much more of it is straight memorization.

Im assuming the URM med applicant believes he/she can cut it, the question is, is there something more morally questionable about allowing URMs with lower numbers into med school?

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Zapatero
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Re: Is there actual proof of URM boost?

Postby Zapatero » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:21 am

nyyankees wrote:
i understand the value of diversity of opinion in law school. the benefits to diversity are less obvious to me in the medical profession in which much more of it is straight memorization.

Im assuming the URM med applicant believes he/she can cut it, the question is, is there something more morally questionable about allowing URMs with lower numbers into med school?


Right. I assume you're asking if it's more morally questionable because unqualified students=unqualified doctors=potential harm to patients, right? I was saying that if you can't cut it in med school, you simply will not become a doctor. Those at the bottom of the class will not get offers. The slackers that do manage offers will get weeded out during their residency. Basically, you can't practice medicine if you're unqualified to do so. Even the worst law student can sit for the bar and start a solo practice, but this doesn't happen for doctors.

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ConMan345
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Re: Is there actual proof of URM boost?

Postby ConMan345 » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:38 am

farewelltoarms wrote:
ravens20 wrote:
farewelltoarms wrote:
Wow, thanks for the mature response. Really contributed to this thread with that. You didn't answer my question though.

Letting anyone into a school they can't handle is foolish. If a 163 LSAT and 3.0 gpa minority goes to Yale, odds are the other kids in the class will be smarter and harder working. He or she will then get owned in terms of class ranking, and fail to secure a good job. Even if they do get a BigLaw job, they will not be able to work at the level thats expected of a Yale law graduate. I don't see how this is not logical....


In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell actually addresses the exact point you are raising in one of the chapters (and even makes specific references to the Michigan Law case). He claims that evidence shows that there is indeed a URM boost. He also claims that studies have shown that candidates who didn't otherwise have the numbers to do get into Michigan Law ended up doing relatively worst off than their peers in law school as you suggested. However, he says that when you look at the careers of these individuals several years down the road, there is no tangible difference between them and the other students who had the numbers to be accepted without the boost (both URM who didn't need the boost and non-URM). What does this all mean? His argument is that there is a threshold of intelligence/ability/etc. for succeeding as a lawyer and pretty much all the students who got into Michigan Law (through a URM boost or otherwise) met this threshold. Therefore, according to Gladwell, affirmative action didn't harm the kids in the way that you are potentially implying that it could...rather it gave them the opportunity to prove that they could meet this threshold in the working world (a degree from Michigan Law presumably opened up a lot of doors for these kids).

I'm not sure I did Gladwell's theory justice in my paraphrase, but I thought it was an interesting take on affirmative action in general, and responded at least partly to the point you were bringing up. If you are interested, I really recommend picking up the book - it is an interesting read.


The only question I would have to raise with this theory of threshold intelligence, is when he says there were no tangible difference between the boosted URMs' careers and their peers. If he defines career success as attaining partner level, I wonder how the percentage of minority partners compared to minority lawyers and the percentage of white partners to white lawyers. If this statistic is known then it would be very helpful to confirm/deny-ing Gladwell's theory.


Here are some statistics that might get at what you're looking for

http://www.betterlegalprofession.org/NewYork/black

Clearly, the proportion of black associates to non-black associates is much, much greater than the percentage of black partners to non-black partners. If you click on particular firms, you can see how, even in the most "diverse" firms, minority partners are underrepresented relative to their percentages in the "general population" of associates.

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nyyankees
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Re: Is there actual proof of URM boost?

Postby nyyankees » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:48 am

ccs1702 wrote:
nyyankees wrote:
i understand the value of diversity of opinion in law school. the benefits to diversity are less obvious to me in the medical profession in which much more of it is straight memorization.

Im assuming the URM med applicant believes he/she can cut it, the question is, is there something more morally questionable about allowing URMs with lower numbers into med school?


Right. I assume you're asking if it's more morally questionable because unqualified students=unqualified doctors=potential harm to patients, right? I was saying that if you can't cut it in med school, you simply will not become a doctor. Those at the bottom of the class will not get offers. The slackers that do manage offers will get weeded out during their residency. Basically, you can't practice medicine if you're unqualified to do so. Even the worst law student can sit for the bar and start a solo practice, but this doesn't happen for doctors.


so you think the schools should be okay with accepting URMs with lower scores (with the understanding that if they are bad, then they wont get hired)?

If ravens20's interpretation of Gladwell is fair, then it would suggest that URMs would not score as well in their med school classes, but end up being equivalently successful doctors. Combining this with your info, this seems to say that URMs who get boosts due to AA to get into med school would generally not get offers for residency and thus not become doctors (at least a large proportion of them). So does it become a strange practice to give such a boost, if the URM will likely (or at least more likely than non-URMs) end up at the bottom of the class and have such a dreary fate? Or should schools at least allow the URMs that chance to compete at a level above what they have proven to be their ability thus far? Or should schools just stay out of the diversity thing all together? (not saying theres only three options, just curious about what you think)

I understand im making a slew of assumptions here, but does that seem to follow?

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ravens20
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Re: Is there actual proof of URM boost?

Postby ravens20 » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:52 am

farewelltoarms wrote:
ravens20 wrote:
farewelltoarms wrote:
Wow, thanks for the mature response. Really contributed to this thread with that. You didn't answer my question though.

Letting anyone into a school they can't handle is foolish. If a 163 LSAT and 3.0 gpa minority goes to Yale, odds are the other kids in the class will be smarter and harder working. He or she will then get owned in terms of class ranking, and fail to secure a good job. Even if they do get a BigLaw job, they will not be able to work at the level thats expected of a Yale law graduate. I don't see how this is not logical....


In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell actually addresses the exact point you are raising in one of the chapters (and even makes specific references to the Michigan Law case). He claims that evidence shows that there is indeed a URM boost. He also claims that studies have shown that candidates who didn't otherwise have the numbers to do get into Michigan Law ended up doing relatively worst off than their peers in law school as you suggested. However, he says that when you look at the careers of these individuals several years down the road, there is no tangible difference between them and the other students who had the numbers to be accepted without the boost (both URM who didn't need the boost and non-URM). What does this all mean? His argument is that there is a threshold of intelligence/ability/etc. for succeeding as a lawyer and pretty much all the students who got into Michigan Law (through a URM boost or otherwise) met this threshold. Therefore, according to Gladwell, affirmative action didn't harm the kids in the way that you are potentially implying that it could...rather it gave them the opportunity to prove that they could meet this threshold in the working world (a degree from Michigan Law presumably opened up a lot of doors for these kids).

I'm not sure I did Gladwell's theory justice in my paraphrase, but I thought it was an interesting take on affirmative action in general, and responded at least partly to the point you were bringing up. If you are interested, I really recommend picking up the book - it is an interesting read.


The only question I would have to raise with this theory of threshold intelligence, is when he says there were no tangible difference between the boosted URMs' careers and their peers. If he defines career success as attaining partner level, I wonder how the percentage of minority partners compared to minority lawyers and the percentage of white partners to white lawyers. If this statistic is known then it would be very helpful to confirm/deny-ing Gladwell's theory.


Honestly, I can't remember what the study he cited used to measure success. And it should be noted that Gladwell is using the University of Michigan case to make a point about thresholds of success (one of the focuses of the book) and not the other way around. In other words, his example was not intended to justify or make a case for/against affirmative action; rather this specific case was used to make a point regarding alternative/more accurate means of measuring ability than test scores. Therefore Gladwell does not address whether affirmative action is fair, whether it should be income-based instead of race-based, or a slew of other critical questions.

Nevertheless, his reasoning puts a unique spin on the consequences of affirmative action. And he does address your concern over whether those students will be hurt by being forced to compete with students who had better UGPAs/LSATs in law school. Yes perhaps students that got and needed the URM boost did not do as well in law school as those that did not or URMs that never needed it...but the potential long term consequences you referred to appear to be negligible. These students might not have gotten into Michigan without the boost but, at least according to Gladwell, they meet the threshold of ability needed to succeed as lawyers.

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ravens20
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Re: Is there actual proof of URM boost?

Postby ravens20 » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:10 am

nyyankees wrote:
ravens20 wrote:
farewelltoarms wrote:
Wow, thanks for the mature response. Really contributed to this thread with that. You didn't answer my question though.

Letting anyone into a school they can't handle is foolish. If a 163 LSAT and 3.0 gpa minority goes to Yale, odds are the other kids in the class will be smarter and harder working. He or she will then get owned in terms of class ranking, and fail to secure a good job. Even if they do get a BigLaw job, they will not be able to work at the level thats expected of a Yale law graduate. I don't see how this is not logical....


In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell actually addresses the exact point you are raising in one of the chapters (and even makes specific references to the Michigan Law case). He claims that evidence shows that there is indeed a URM boost. He also claims that studies have shown that candidates who didn't otherwise have the numbers to do get into Michigan Law ended up doing relatively worst off than their peers in law school as you suggested. However, he says that when you look at the careers of these individuals several years down the road, there is no tangible difference between them and the other students who had the numbers to be accepted without the boost (both URM who didn't need the boost and non-URM). What does this all mean? His argument is that there is a threshold of intelligence/ability/etc. for succeeding as a lawyer and pretty much all the students who got into Michigan Law (through a URM boost or otherwise) met this threshold. Therefore, according to Gladwell, affirmative action didn't harm the kids in the way that you are potentially implying that it could...rather it gave them the opportunity to prove that they could meet this threshold in the working world (a degree from Michigan Law presumably opened up a lot of doors for these kids).

I'm not sure I did Gladwell's theory justice in my paraphrase, but I thought it was an interesting take on affirmative action in general, and responded at least partly to the point you were bringing up. If you are interested, I really recommend picking up the book - it is an interesting read.


wow, thats very interesting.

I was having a debate with one of my friends about the merits of AA for med school and whether the added moral component inherent within becoming a medical doctor means that AA would be ethically more questionable in medical school than in law school admissions. This is interesting evidence, ill have to check it out. Any thoughts as to whether AA is med school should be any more dubious?


The thing is, I'm not sure you can use Gladwell's argument to say whether affirmative action is moral or ethical. Gladwell is not really arguing for or against affirmative action; his argument is neither ethical or moral. He is simply arguing that our methods of judging ability are flawed and aren't necessarily the best measures of success. And he is using the case of affirmative action in Michigan Law and the success of students who benefited from this boost to make this point. LSAT scores and undergraduate grades would suggest that these students wouldn't be as successful as other students after law school; since they are as successful, at least according to Gladwell, it follows that these standards of measurement don't account for what Gladwell terms as the threshold of ability. Certainly there is a minimal level of competence/intelligence/ability needed to succeed as a lawyer, and all else being equal is probably better to have more of that ability...but once you meet a certain threshold, you have the ability to succeed; what you need beyond that ability, he argues, is opportunity, luck, timing, and other factors that he identifies.

I only referenced Gladwell in response to to poster who said that these students who received boost are being hurt by it since they are likely to do worst in school and then do worst later on. Gladwell agrees with the former but disagrees with the latter...the latter, he claims, is all that law schools and the students themselves really care about.

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superserial
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Re: Is there actual proof of URM boost?

Postby superserial » Thu Jan 28, 2010 9:05 am

farewelltoarms wrote:
Wow, thanks for the mature response. Really contributed to this thread with that. You didn't answer my question though.

Letting anyone into a school they can't handle is foolish. If a 163 LSAT and 3.0 gpa minority goes to Yale, odds are the other kids in the class will be smarter and harder working. He or she will then get owned in terms of class ranking, and fail to secure a good job. Even if they do get a BigLaw job, they will not be able to work at the level thats expected of a Yale law graduate. I don't see how this is not logical....


uh... Yale doesn't rank.

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Unemployed
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Re: Is there actual proof of URM boost?

Postby Unemployed » Thu Jan 28, 2010 9:14 am

Seriously???

http://www.vpcomm.umich.edu/admissions/legal/gru_amicus-ussc/um/LSAC-gru.pdf

"For the fall 2002 entering class, there were a total of 4,461 law school applicants who had both LSAT scores of 165 or above and UGPA of 3.5 or above. Of that number, a total of just 29 were black.... Only 114 were Hispanic. The numbers are consistent for preceding years."

From LSAC's amicus curiae (in support of University of Michigan)

For the fall 2002 entering class, HLS alone had 50+ African Americans.

Ergo, boost.

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Kohinoor
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Re: Is there actual proof of URM boost?

Postby Kohinoor » Thu Jan 28, 2010 1:35 pm

Unemployed wrote:Seriously???

http://www.vpcomm.umich.edu/admissions/legal/gru_amicus-ussc/um/LSAC-gru.pdf

"For the fall 2002 entering class, there were a total of 4,461 law school applicants who had both LSAT scores of 165 or above and UGPA of 3.5 or above. Of that number, a total of just 29 were black.... Only 114 were Hispanic. The numbers are consistent for preceding years."

From LSAC's amicus curiae (in support of University of Michigan)

For the fall 2002 entering class, HLS alone had 50+ African Americans.

Ergo, boost.
Doesn't account for splitters.
--ImageRemoved--

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Kohinoor
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Re: Is there actual proof of URM boost?

Postby Kohinoor » Thu Jan 28, 2010 1:39 pm

farewelltoarms wrote:
Wow, thanks for the mature response. Really contributed to this thread with that. You didn't answer my question though.

Letting anyone into a school they can't handle is foolish. If a 163 LSAT and 3.0 gpa minority goes to Yale, odds are the other kids in the class will be smarter and harder working. He or she will then get owned in terms of class ranking, and fail to secure a good job. Even if they do get a BigLaw job, they will not be able to work at the level thats expected of a Yale law graduate. I don't see how this is not logical....
Bolded part is retarded.

lightbulb1986
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Re: Is there actual proof of URM boost?

Postby lightbulb1986 » Thu Jan 28, 2010 1:49 pm

PDaddy wrote:Let's, as scholars and "counselors", begin to focus more on the disparate conditions that leave ethnic minorities deficient in the English language and reasoning skills so early in life. That is the key. We can argue the existence and/or merits of AA or socioeconomic boosts, or whatever. But that won't cure the problem. We all have an opportunity to affect change. Go into minority schools and ensure that they don't have inferior resources, that teachers are highly competent, that parenting issues are addressed within the schools, and that minority parents have open access to completion or continuation of their education(s). Let's lobby for increased funding that is narrowly tailred to these ends.

Those are the starting points.


+1000. As a former English teacher of recent immigrants who could not pass their exit exams in a school district that was 99% hispanic, I can say there should be a place for URM boosts. I can also say that this thread is going nowhere....

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mochafury
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Re: Is there actual proof of URM boost?

Postby mochafury » Thu Jan 28, 2010 1:58 pm

PDaddy wrote:
farewelltoarms wrote:
Wow, thanks for the mature response. Really contributed to this thread with that. You didn't answer my question though.

Letting anyone into a school they can't handle is foolish. If a 163 LSAT and 3.0 gpa minority goes to Yale, odds are the other kids in the class will be smarter and harder working. He or she will then get owned in terms of class ranking, and fail to secure a good job. Even if they do get a BigLaw job, they will not be able to work at the level thats expected of a Yale law graduate. I don't see how this is not logical....


There's a reason the law schools put more emphasis on LSAT's than on grades: grades do not necessarily infer intelligence, performance, effort or any of the other qualities you seem to think they do. Not all 163's are alike, and not all 3.0 gpa's are alike. And, as for the struggles of minority law students at top law schools, does it occur to anyone with a brain that there are alternative causes for their difficulties, if they exist?

Examples would be, non-minority class members who assume their minority peers to be inferior and, thus, avoid including them in study groups, assisting them in their research, hanging out with them during free time, or allowing minority students to help the non-minorities. If you offer your outlines to a white student who assumes your work to be inferior without ever looking at it, that can take an emotional toll on you. If some of your professors treat you as inferior, you can begin to question your abilities, and that, too, can affect your performance.

Feeling included or enfranchised is an important part of objective performance in any situation. Employees who go to work in environments where they can believe their work is fairly evaluated, their contributions are highly valued, their physical and emotional safety is important, andf their opportunities for advancement are based solely on merit, as opposed to politics or nepotism, are much happier, stay with their respective employers for longer terms, and perform at higher levels.

Those dynamics explain why minority law graduates from top schools often perform on a level commensurate with their white and non-minority peers in their careers, despite having had lower LSAT scores and/or law school grades. Team-learning is an important part of legal education, and ethnic minorities are still mostly outcast by non-minority peers who resent them because their friends did not get into school, "all because of the black dude whose numbers probably weren't as good", or simply prejudge them to be inferior.

Self fulfilling prophesies are powerful, and very real in education as a whole. There has been much research done on whether social conditions can affect academic performance. My favorite examples are studies where students are made to think themselves smarter than they are (believed to be), and, as a result, actually begin to perform much better academically. Non-minority students typically grow up with this type of positive reinforcement, so it is deeply ingrained into their psyches.


So you're saying that the way to end this attitude is to continue the practices that cause it? Brilliant, I can't believe I never thought of that. Virtually no one resents minorities anymore for their race or whatever; this logic is so outdated.

And regarding Gladwell, my interpretation of the given passage is different. To me, it suggests not a threshold, but circumstantial evidence that the URM boost carries through past law school into firm work. That could explain low-numbers law school admits faring just as well in the job market (through measurable indicators such as income, longevity, etc.). It seems to stop at riiiight about the partner track, where minorities are still underrepresented.

By the way, OP: yes.

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quetzalcoatl
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Re: Is there actual proof of URM boost?

Postby quetzalcoatl » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:10 pm

There is without a doubt a URM boost. I would be more interested in seeing if there is a quantifiable LGBT boost.

Could I list myself as "bisexual" even if I have never had any relationship with a same sex partner? Maybe, "I'm bi but I just have never found a guy Im interested in". If you happen to be a straight virgin (for religous, personal, or practical reasons) you still call yourself straight. Why cant I say Im gay but just have never found the right guy? Obviously this post is half joking, but still an interesting loop-hole if there is actually a LGBT boost (I would go gay for Yale!)

Yimbeezy
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Re: Is there actual proof of URM boost?

Postby Yimbeezy » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:22 pm

farewelltoarms wrote:
ravens20 wrote:
farewelltoarms wrote:
Wow, thanks for the mature response. Really contributed to this thread with that. You didn't answer my question though.

Letting anyone into a school they can't handle is foolish. If a 163 LSAT and 3.0 gpa minority goes to Yale, odds are the other kids in the class will be smarter and harder working. He or she will then get owned in terms of class ranking, and fail to secure a good job. Even if they do get a BigLaw job, they will not be able to work at the level thats expected of a Yale law graduate. I don't see how this is not logical....


In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell actually addresses the exact point you are raising in one of the chapters (and even makes specific references to the Michigan Law case). He claims that evidence shows that there is indeed a URM boost. He also claims that studies have shown that candidates who didn't otherwise have the numbers to do get into Michigan Law ended up doing relatively worst off than their peers in law school as you suggested. However, he says that when you look at the careers of these individuals several years down the road, there is no tangible difference between them and the other students who had the numbers to be accepted without the boost (both URM who didn't need the boost and non-URM). What does this all mean? His argument is that there is a threshold of intelligence/ability/etc. for succeeding as a lawyer and pretty much all the students who got into Michigan Law (through a URM boost or otherwise) met this threshold. Therefore, according to Gladwell, affirmative action didn't harm the kids in the way that you are potentially implying that it could...rather it gave them the opportunity to prove that they could meet this threshold in the working world (a degree from Michigan Law presumably opened up a lot of doors for these kids).

I'm not sure I did Gladwell's theory justice in my paraphrase, but I thought it was an interesting take on affirmative action in general, and responded at least partly to the point you were bringing up. If you are interested, I really recommend picking up the book - it is an interesting read.


The only question I would have to raise with this theory of threshold intelligence, is when he says there were no tangible difference between the boosted URMs' careers and their peers. If he defines career success as attaining partner level, I wonder how the percentage of minority partners compared to minority lawyers and the percentage of white partners to white lawyers. If this statistic is known then it would be very helpful to confirm/deny-ing Gladwell's theory.

Lol, right. I can't possibly think of any other reason that whites would be disproportionately represented at the partner level other than merit. Your really smart!

Oban
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Re: Is there actual proof of URM boost?

Postby Oban » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:26 pm

Black partnership has little to do with Intelligence or work ethic, it has to do with predjudice plain and simple. For example. There are disproportionately few female partners, openly gay partners, etc.




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