Clerkships so white

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FascinatedWanderer
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Re: Clerkships so white

Postby FascinatedWanderer » Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:50 pm

At my school, my observation is that AA applicants to clerkships significantly outperform their numbers when it comes to clerkships. In particular, there's one circuit judge who's only ever hired black applicants from us (though he does seem to hire non-black clerks from other places).

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bk1
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Re: Clerkships so white

Postby bk1 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:01 pm

I highly doubt anybody ITT has sufficient data to even come close to assessing whether conservative/liberal/whatever judges are more/less/whatever likely to hire white/black/asian/latin@/whatever.

But I sure bet pulling a few anecdotes together will be way better than the first Google result I found (http://www.nalp.org/courtingclerkships) and not at all end up being meaningless.

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rpupkin
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Re: Clerkships so white

Postby rpupkin » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:12 pm

bk1 wrote:But I sure bet pulling a few anecdotes together will be way better than the first Google result I found (http://www.nalp.org/courtingclerkships) and not at all end up being meaningless.

I agree that throwing anecdotes around is dangerous--and good studies are definitely better than anecdotes--but note that the study you linked to was published 17 years ago and is based on data collected 20 to 25 years ago.
(Edited for typos)
Last edited by rpupkin on Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.

FascinatedWanderer
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Re: Clerkships so white

Postby FascinatedWanderer » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:12 pm

bk1 wrote:I highly doubt anybody ITT has sufficient data to even come close to assessing whether conservative/liberal/whatever judges are more/less/whatever likely to hire white/black/asian/latin@/whatever.

But I sure bet pulling a few anecdotes together will be way better than the first Google result I found (http://www.nalp.org/courtingclerkships) and not at all end up being meaningless.



The last year included in that study was 1998. Almost 20 years ago. Frankly, I'll take my anecdotes over that wrt the current climate.

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bk1
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Re: Clerkships so white

Postby bk1 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:17 pm

rpupkin wrote:I agree that throwing anecdotes around is dangerous--and good studies are definitely better than anecdotes--but note that the study you linked to was published 17 years ago and is based on data collected 20 to 25 years ago.
(Edited for typos)

I realized that, which is why I caveated my laziness about just taking the first google hit (considering my brief skim of this thread it looked like nobody even bothered to look if there was anything better than garbage anecdotes).

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerkships so white

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:19 pm

lolwat wrote:
This is the black clerk anon from earlier. I get that you hate this line of thinking, but that does not make it less true. Education in this country has always been inherently unequal and that didn't just end with blind grading. Please have a peek at Top 14 law schools graduating class latin honors awards. At my T-14 ZERO black people made latin honors for the last three years, but some have been on law review, won academic awards, and gone on to clerk on District and Circuit Courts. Does that not strike you as odd?


I am not blind to the fact that racism is still a thing in our country, and it's probably been highlighted even more as of late. (Not getting political here.) But too often in these discussions, many people simply assume as a fact that everything is inherently racist and puts minorities at a disadvantage. I don't blindly accept that as a fact. Nor does it help to point at the result (less minorities at the top of the class / less minorities in clerkships / whatever the result is) and then make the conclusion that one thing (racism) must be, directly or indirectly, the cause of it all.

In general, those results wouldn't necessarily strike me as odd. But I don't really have enough information here: Are Latin honors grade-based and how low do they go (top %)? What academic awards did those students win? Is law review at your T14 write-on only with no grades being taken into account? And there's also this which I got scooped on:

That strikes me as noteworthy, but I'm not sure I'm drawing the same inference you are. Doesn't the bolded run counter to the notion that african-american applicants are discriminated against in clerkship hiring based on their race?


Seems like those students punched above their weight as far as what you would expect for the chances of a T14 student without Latin honors getting a clerkship. And since the only info here is that they're black and got clerkships despite not getting Latin honors, perhaps we should now conclude that being black actually helps?! :D (Kidding here.)


I was getting at the accomplishments of the students outside of law school classes being similar to that of people with Latin honors, not necessarily that they are punching above their weight class. People don't get law school awards, law review and clerkships based on minority status because then minority students would surely be more represented among clerks.

To rpupkin's comment, that doesn't necessarily mean that minority students are less discriminated against. If judges are hiring based solely on how highly students are ranked in the class, they are eliminating virtually all minority students, some of whom achieve similar accolades as students with Latin honors and, I assume, are similarly qualified for the clerkship position despite having fewer As on their transcript.

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BlendedUnicorn
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Re: Clerkships so white

Postby BlendedUnicorn » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:some of whom achieve similar accolades as students with Latin honors and, I assume, are similarly qualified for the clerkship position despite having fewer As on their transcript.


So I definitely agree that judges shouldn't be only going off law grades, but I'm a little confused by this. When you talk about "accolades as students" isn't latin/honors or the # of As on the transcript exactly what you're talking about. What else is there?

lolwat
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Re: Clerkships so white

Postby lolwat » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I was getting at the accomplishments of the students outside of law school classes being similar to that of people with Latin honors, not necessarily that they are punching above their weight class. People don't get law school awards, law review and clerkships based on minority status because then minority students would surely be more represented among clerks.

To rpupkin's comment, that doesn't necessarily mean that minority students are less discriminated against. If judges are hiring based solely on how highly students are ranked in the class, they are eliminating virtually all minority students, some of whom achieve similar accolades as students with Latin honors and, I assume, are similarly qualified for the clerkship position despite having fewer As on their transcript.


What it takes to get top grades is not necessarily the same as what it takes to write onto Law Review or earn academic awards depending on what those awards might be (you still haven't specified). But I don't see how that means the ability to get Latin honors must inherently be stacked against minorities while writing onto Law Review or achieving other academic awards must be more race-neutral. That's an assumption you're just making.

As for the rest, I'm not really sure how it makes sense. All else equal, someone with 3.0 GPA and Law Review is not "similarly qualified" as someone with 4.0 GPA and Law Review from the same school. You can't just disqualify grades/Latin honors as "accolades" and say that the 3.0 GPA/LR student is the same as the 4.0 GPA/LR student just because they're both on LR.

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BlendedUnicorn
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Re: Clerkships so white

Postby BlendedUnicorn » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:55 pm

Generally though, this conversation's even worse than the broader AA one because all anyone really has to work with is anecdata. I would love to see if there was any correlation between something like age/gender/race/party of appointing president and diversity of clerks. I suspect the answer is a resounding yes.

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bk1
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Re: Clerkships so white

Postby bk1 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:15 am

BlendedUnicorn wrote:Generally though, this conversation's even worse than the broader AA one because all anyone really has to work with is anecdata. I would love to see if there was any correlation between something like age/gender/race/party of appointing president and diversity of clerks. I suspect the answer is a resounding yes.

I'd hazard that blue slip/senatorial courtesy make the majority party of the state matter more than potus party, especially for district court.

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Re: Clerkships so white

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm trying to understand something. Without it turning into a dumpster fire, as so many threads about race become.

The latest ABA data shows that 27% of law students are racial minorities. At top schools, where students are more likely to clerk, the number tends to be higher. Harvard, for example, has 32% minority enrollment, according to its 509.

All told, I interviewed with five judges and twenty clerks. Out of the twenty clerks, only three were people of color (two of them were clerking for one judge; three judges had no POC clerks whatsoever). There was only one black clerk.

Why the disparity?


Ignoring all the sociological influences posted, there's unlikely to be equal representation with all those barriers removed.

Google the average LSAT for AAs, and compare that to the average white score. There's just fewer of one group to meet the requirements of getting in top schools, and then being top of the class. If schools wants to represent AA in their classes they have to dig deeper in the applicant pool.

This obviously doesn't explain any gaps in Asians because they'd have similar scores with whites.




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