July 27, 2006
Empirics of Affirmative Action in Law Schools
Posted by Fred Tung

The blogosphere is again hopping with commentary on the debate over affirmative action in law school, with special reference to the empirics.  Bill Henderson at ELS has just posted a very thoughtful comment on the state of play on the empirics of Richard Sander's A Systemic Analysis of Affirmative Action in American Law Schools.  Bill's comment responded to a provocative plea by TOTM's Josh Wright asking for clarity on the debate: 

Does anybody following the empirical exchange more closely than I have a sense of whether a consensus has in fact been reached in either direction? If so, what is it? Is the perception that Sander’s results have been debunked? If so, what is it that he has identified? If there is no consensus, what are the open questions?

The money quote from Bill's reply:

I am tired of academics trying to score points at Sander’s expense without offering an alternative hypothesis that directly confronts the data. Faced with the bleak statistics on minorities and the legal profession, our time would be better spent embarking on a Manhattan Project for legal education that examines each nexus of the lawyer creation process, including law school pedagogy. A panel of respected, independent scholars to review the questions raised by Sander and his critics would be a step in the right direction.

Right on, Bill.

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