Forthcoming in Standford Law Review (May 2005)


In an article in Stanford Law Review, Richard Sander argues that the practice of American law schools of taking race into account in admissions to law school perversely leads to fewer black lawyers entering the bar each year than would be the case without affirmative action. Sander’s claim is that, while ending affirmative action would reduce somewhat the number of black students admitted to any law school, there would in the end be more black lawyers because those black students who do attend law school would no longer attend schools where they are over their heads academically and would graduate and pass the bar at much higher rates than they do today. To reach his conclusions he relieves on projections based on an analysis of several datasets including the Bar Passage Study of the Law School Admissions Council. The article that follows is a response to Sander, also to be published in the Stanford Law. Resting on a reanalysis of the same datasets on which Sander relies, it concludes that ending affirmative action for black applicants to law school, far from leading to a net increase in the numbers of black attorneys, would probably lead to a decline of new lawyers in the range of 30 to 40 percent each year.


Law and Economics

Date of this Version