"Progressive stacking" profs

(Seek and share information about clerkship applications, clerkship hiring timelines, and post-clerkship employment opportunities)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are sharing sensitive information about clerkship applications and clerkship hiring. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned."
Locked
FrenchPrince

New
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:21 am

"Progressive stacking" profs

Post by FrenchPrince » Fri Jul 24, 2020 11:26 am

Dovetailing off the HLS thread, who are professors at your school or peers who are known to or suspected to participate in "progressive stacking" when it comes to clership LORs? That means, ceteris paribus, they explicitly favor URMs in terms of who they agree to write for, what level of judge they write for, how enthusiastically they write / advocate, etc. If particularly strident i.e. won't write for white / ORM / males at all, please mention.
Last edited by cavalier1138 on Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Outed for anon abuse.

<3waitlists

New
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed May 10, 2017 6:41 pm

Re: "Progressive stacking" profs

Post by <3waitlists » Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:13 pm

Why is this anon? And lol "ceteris paribus." Okay fed soc bro.

Joachim2017

New
Posts: 78
Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:17 pm

Re: "Progressive stacking" profs

Post by Joachim2017 » Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:18 pm

Although it's probably not a pleasant task to have to put on your plate when you're applying for clerkships, being aware of things like #lawtwitter and its variants will help determine answers to this question.

Faculty at top law schools are pretty tightly knit across schools, and following just some of them will help gauge this for others. For example, follow a few of the more intolerant younger faculty at Michigan Law, for example (Leah Litman is an obvious one, as mentioned in the other thread) and you'll find others at other schools like, e.g., NYU, and hopefully enough info to get a picture of what things are like at your own school.

Whatever people might want to argue about the "justice" or merits of these types of things, that it's real is not deniable, and it will probably get more pronounced (law review at elite schools, for example, is now pretty much a meaningless metric beyond its intrinsic work), so I'm all in favor of more information for more students caught in the crossfire.

FrenchPrince

New
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:21 am

Re: "Progressive stacking" profs

Post by FrenchPrince » Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:23 pm

Joachim2017 wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:18 pm
Although it's probably not a pleasant task to have to put on your plate when you're applying for clerkships, being aware of things like #lawtwitter and its variants will help determine answers to this question.

Faculty at top law schools are pretty tightly knit across schools, and following just some of them will help gauge this for others. For example, follow a few of the more intolerant younger faculty at Michigan Law, for example (Leah Litman is an obvious one, as mentioned in the other thread) and you'll find others at other schools like, e.g., NYU, and hopefully enough info to get a picture of what things are like at your own school.

Whatever people might want to argue about the "justice" or merits of these types of things, that it's real is not deniable, and it will probably get more pronounced (law review at elite schools, for example, is now pretty much a meaningless metric beyond its intrinsic work), so I'm all in favor of more information for more students caught in the crossfire.
Helpful, thanks. Anything in particular I should be looking for? I ask because I can imagine even very outspokenly liberal / pro-AA profs not giving a shit about identity politics, or potentially even ideology, when deciding who to write and call for, whereas even more moderate profs potentially could progressively stack if they think it's good for society or whatever.
Last edited by cavalier1138 on Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Outed for anon abuse.

Joachim2017

New
Posts: 78
Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:17 pm

Re: "Progressive stacking" profs

Post by Joachim2017 » Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:23 pm
Joachim2017 wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:18 pm
Although it's probably not a pleasant task to have to put on your plate when you're applying for clerkships, being aware of things like #lawtwitter and its variants will help determine answers to this question.

Faculty at top law schools are pretty tightly knit across schools, and following just some of them will help gauge this for others. For example, follow a few of the more intolerant younger faculty at Michigan Law, for example (Leah Litman is an obvious one, as mentioned in the other thread) and you'll find others at other schools like, e.g., NYU, and hopefully enough info to get a picture of what things are like at your own school.

Whatever people might want to argue about the "justice" or merits of these types of things, that it's real is not deniable, and it will probably get more pronounced (law review at elite schools, for example, is now pretty much a meaningless metric beyond its intrinsic work), so I'm all in favor of more information for more students caught in the crossfire.
Helpful, thanks. Anything in particular I should be looking for? I ask because I can imagine even very outspokenly liberal / pro-AA profs not giving a shit about identity politics, or potentially even ideology, when deciding who to write and call for, whereas even more moderate profs potentially could progressively stack if they think it's good for society or whatever.


Unfortunately I don't think there's any generally applicable set of buzzwords or formula or anything that will help in this regard, it's more of a rough art than a science. Because what you really care about are the profs at your own school, you should just be aware of stuff during interpersonal settings. At the end of the day, people who haven't interacted personally with these profs won't have an algorithmic answer.

Also, as a general note, there should only be so many professors who are on the short list of people you'd consider asking to write letters for you, so this isn't a gargantuan exercise. (Though I understand some students may want to select courses taught by professors who are more open-minded in the first place. That too is more of a every-school-has-its-culture thing.)

Want to continue reading?

Register now to search topics and post comments!

Absolutely FREE!


dvlthndr

Bronze
Posts: 177
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:34 pm

Re: "Progressive stacking" profs

Post by dvlthndr » Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:52 pm

I have never heard of this happening at my school. Maybe there was something going on behind the scenes, but I couldn’t point to a single professor who makes a point of slighting “overrepresented” groups.

What I have seen is that professors write strong letters for people that they like, and that they have worked with on a personal level (e.g., you were in office hours each week and worked as a research assistant or TA). Getting a good grade is necessary, but not sufficient, for getting a great recommendation letter.

It might help to share the same interests and political views as a professor (or at least pleasant and tactful enough to hold a civil conversation for more than a few minutes). But it’s much more about coming off as a likeable human being, rather than some kind of ideological purity test/political statement.

The Lsat Airbender

Silver
Posts: 1074
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 7:34 pm

Re: "Progressive stacking" profs

Post by The Lsat Airbender » Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:54 pm

Literally just talk to your professors. Wow, lol. This isn't rocket science.

If your relationship with someone is good enough that they'd make a decent letter-writer in the first place [you probably don't need to worry about them backstabbing you and if you have any doubt,] you can just, y'know, ask them what kind of candidates they like to recommend.

e: scooped by dvl

nixy

Gold
Posts: 2698
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: "Progressive stacking" profs

Post by nixy » Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:57 pm

If you’re going to call this “progressive stacking” can we come up with a similarly catchy name for the Fed Soc network? Can we also clarify whether this is about liberals preferring liberals or liberals not writing for white dudes? Because those aren’t the same thing and while #lawtwitter will certainly make political biases clear (on all sides), I don’t think it’s going to actually demonstrate anyone dissing qualified white dudes for the sake of being white dudes.

FrenchPrince

New
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:21 am

Re: "Progressive stacking" profs

Post by FrenchPrince » Fri Jul 24, 2020 1:46 pm

nixy wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:57 pm
If you’re going to call this “progressive stacking” can we come up with a similarly catchy name for the Fed Soc network? Can we also clarify whether this is about liberals preferring liberals or liberals not writing for white dudes? Because those aren’t the same thing and while #lawtwitter will certainly make political biases clear (on all sides), I don’t think it’s going to actually demonstrate anyone dissing qualified white dudes for the sake of being white dudes.
Anon from the other thread, and clearly OP is talking about identity as opposed to ideology. I'm not really here to debate the merits of this practice with you here, as that's not what this thread is for. But let's just get some names down for profs who, either openly or in practice, participate in this kind of "URM identity-boost" behavior. The Litman example shows clearly not every prof is open about it, but frankly it's better for all parties involved--profs, high-performing URMs, high-performing "privileged" kids--if the info is out in the open.

Want to continue reading?

Register for access!

Did I mention it was FREE ?


nixy

Gold
Posts: 2698
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: "Progressive stacking" profs

Post by nixy » Fri Jul 24, 2020 2:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 1:46 pm
nixy wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:57 pm
If you’re going to call this “progressive stacking” can we come up with a similarly catchy name for the Fed Soc network? Can we also clarify whether this is about liberals preferring liberals or liberals not writing for white dudes? Because those aren’t the same thing and while #lawtwitter will certainly make political biases clear (on all sides), I don’t think it’s going to actually demonstrate anyone dissing qualified white dudes for the sake of being white dudes.
Anon from the other thread, and clearly OP is talking about identity as opposed to ideology. I'm not really here to debate the merits of this practice with you here, as that's not what this thread is for. But let's just get some names down for profs who, either openly or in practice, participate in this kind of "URM identity-boost" behavior. The Litman example shows clearly not every prof is open about it, but frankly it's better for all parties involved--profs, high-performing URMs, high-performing "privileged" kids--if the info is out in the open.
I don't really agree. I don't think there's any way to know this without people extrapolating wildly from their own experiences. There's no way to know who else the prof wrote for under what circumstances. And there's no reason profs who want to increase representation of whatever groups in the legal profession wouldn't also write for members of other groups - there's no limit on letters a prof can write. I don't think you can even argue from the anecdote given that Litman would never write for a white dude. This seems like way too much attention focused on something not really an issue in practice, and I agree with dvlthndr and The LSAT Airbender on how to approach profs. People are much better off taking classes they're interested in, doing their best, and getting to know their profs as actual people, rather than as instruments to their careers.

FrenchPrince

New
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:21 am

Re: "Progressive stacking" profs

Post by FrenchPrince » Fri Jul 24, 2020 2:51 pm

Every day I thank God I'm not an on-plan white Midwestern liberal male applicant. Even for profs who don't "stack", profs must feel so much pressure to go above and beyond for equally performing minorities, even though judges from all stripes have affirmative action in their hiring these days. White dudes applying to even quasi-feeders have to have grades that Oliver Wendell Holmes himself would garner to stand a chance.
Last edited by cavalier1138 on Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Outed for anon abuse.

User avatar
beepboopbeep

Gold
Posts: 1541
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:36 pm

Re: "Progressive stacking" profs

Post by beepboopbeep » Fri Jul 24, 2020 2:55 pm

The quote describing the Litman thing in the other thread was:
Student A asked Litman for a clerkship rec letter based on A's performance in her class. Litman declined, and so A had to ask other professors for letters. In passing, Student B mentioned to Litman that Student A was in the running for HLR President. Litman told B that A has asked her for a rec letter, that she had declined to write for A, that A had great grades but she felt A was too "entitled" due to his identity, and that she didn't think A should be law review president.
How you get from this to "progressive stacking" is beyond me; even taking this all as true, it just sounds like Litman didn't like the guy. Does anyone have an example of a prof doing what's described in the OP either explicitly or implicitly? I never heard of it when I was going through the clerkship rec letter process, and the whole thing reeks of invented moral panic.

Anonymous User
Posts: 351100
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: "Progressive stacking" profs

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jul 24, 2020 3:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 2:51 pm
White dudes applying to even quasi-feeders have to have grades that Oliver Wendell Holmes himself would garner to stand a chance.
That, or just have median grades and be in fed soc.... (and somehow, despite it being so hard for white dudes out there, white dudes keep managing to get clerkships, including for feeders/scotus).

Register now!

Resources to assist law school applicants, students & graduates.

It's still FREE!


Anonymous User
Posts: 351100
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: "Progressive stacking" profs

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jul 24, 2020 3:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 3:08 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 2:51 pm
White dudes applying to even quasi-feeders have to have grades that Oliver Wendell Holmes himself would garner to stand a chance.
That, or just have median grades and be in fed soc.... (and somehow, despite it being so hard for white dudes out there, white dudes keep managing to get clerkships, including for feeders/scotus).
The idea that the median FedSoc white male, even at a T3, gets a semi-feeder is just poor math.

MarkmanPapers

New
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:57 pm

Re: "Progressive stacking" profs

Post by MarkmanPapers » Fri Jul 24, 2020 3:12 pm

Without commenting on the existence or non existence of this supposed practice, the very existence of this thread is an emblematic case study in the kind of resentment measures to address systemic disadvantage can trigger among ostensibly “well meaning” white people.

nixy

Gold
Posts: 2698
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: "Progressive stacking" profs

Post by nixy » Fri Jul 24, 2020 4:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 2:51 pm
Every day I thank God I'm not an on-plan white Midwestern liberal male applicant. Even for profs who don't "stack", profs must feel so much pressure to go above and beyond for equally performing minorities, even though judges from all stripes have affirmative action in their hiring these days. White dudes applying to even quasi-feeders have to have grades that Oliver Wendell Holmes himself would garner to stand a chance.
Lolllllllll. I think you have your demographics confused. How many minority federal clerks have you seen? I’ve clerked in two different courthouses and now practice lit and I think I’ve met 3. (And even if you were correct, welcome to the world of minorities/women.)

Anonymous User
Posts: 351100
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: "Progressive stacking" profs

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jul 24, 2020 4:17 pm

nixy wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 4:14 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 2:51 pm
Every day I thank God I'm not an on-plan white Midwestern liberal male applicant. Even for profs who don't "stack", profs must feel so much pressure to go above and beyond for equally performing minorities, even though judges from all stripes have affirmative action in their hiring these days. White dudes applying to even quasi-feeders have to have grades that Oliver Wendell Holmes himself would garner to stand a chance.
Lolllllllll. I think you have your demographics confused. How many minority federal clerks have you seen? I’ve clerked in two different courthouses and now practice lit and I think I’ve met 3. (And even if you were correct, welcome to the world of minorities/women.)
If you think URMs at similar clerkships have average grades that are *better* than their white male peers...have I got news for you

Get unlimited access to all forums and topics

Register now!

I'm pretty sure I told you it's FREE...


lavarman84

Platinum
Posts: 8091
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: "Progressive stacking" profs

Post by lavarman84 » Fri Jul 24, 2020 6:08 pm

MarkmanPapers wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 3:12 pm
Without commenting on the existence or non existence of this supposed practice, the very existence of this thread is an emblematic case study in the kind of resentment measures to address systemic disadvantage can trigger among ostensibly “well meaning” white people.
I think you're being generous by even including "well meaning" in your post. :wink:
(And yes, I do recognize that it was a bit tongue in cheek.)

Frankly, I've come to expect this. Conservatism in the Republican Party today has too often come to represent white grievance politics. I've got very little patience for it.

User avatar
abujabal

Bronze
Posts: 293
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2016 1:32 pm

Re: "Progressive stacking" profs

Post by abujabal » Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:11 pm

Joachim2017 wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:18 pm
intolerant younger faculty at Michigan Law, for example (Leah Litman is an obvious one, as mentioned in the other thread)
The notorious "intolerance" of Leah Litman is necessary to enforce the Voting Rights Act

:roll:

User avatar
BansheeScream

New
Posts: 83
Joined: Fri Mar 24, 2017 11:46 am

Re: "Progressive stacking" profs

Post by BansheeScream » Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:15 pm

This thread is a dumpster fire. Why are we even entertaining this? Because a person heard second hand that one professor didn't write a letter for a kid because he was entitled? There's no evidence that's even remotely common practice and I have rarely heard about professors saying no to a rec letter for any reason let alone because the student was a white male.

edited for clarity

User avatar
cavalier1138

Moderator
Posts: 7394
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: "Progressive stacking" profs

Post by cavalier1138 » Tue Jul 28, 2020 5:34 am

Evidently I don't spend enough time in this forum.

Locking this one, since even if it wasn't meant to turn into a thinly veiled debate about affirmative action, that's where we are now. Feel free to use the Lounge for those kinds of discussions.

Communicate now with those who not only know what a legal education is, but can offer you worthy advice and commentary as you complete the three most educational, yet challenging years of your law related post graduate life.

Register now, it's still FREE!


Locked

Return to “Judicial Clerkships”