December 2008 • Vol. 28 No. 11 | An E-Publication of the Los Angeles County Bar Association

Trustees Support State Bar’s Opposition to Releasing Bar Exam Applicant Data

Law professor wants to use data to evaluate effects of affirmative action.

LACBA trustees voted unanimously at the November 19 board meeting to support the State Bar’s opposition to releasing private law school applicant data from 1997 to 2005 in Sander v. State Bar of California.

UCLA Law Professor Richard Sander and three other professors seek private bar data including applicants’ race, gender, law school grades, and LSAT scores to analyze whether affirmative action programs are a disservice to minority students during law school and subsequent bar exam and law firm performance. 

Applicants sign a limited release when supplying the data, and most information is self-reported. According to the State Bar, 35 percent of applicants do not state their race. Concerns include the applicants’ right to privacy and due process with respect to notice and opportunity to opt in or out of the proposed study. 

LACBA’s Amicus Briefs Committee has been charged with reviewing the Sander case to determine the appropriate time and means by which LACBA's support of the State Bar's position will be communicated to the court.

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