College & Legal Education Program # 1 — Proposition 209 and the Diversity Crisis in California Higher Education
This session examined the effect of Proposition 209, which was passed ten years ago, on the racial and ethnic makeup of our public institutions of higher education. Specifically, the panel discussed how the state constitutional ban on using race or ethnicity as considerations in admissions and hiring has affected the number of minorities entering California';s public colleges and law schools, and has consequently affected the number of minorities entering the legal profession. Among other things, the panel addressed the following:
- After the implementation of Proposition 209, African American and Hispanic admissions to the University of California at Berkeley and UCLA dropped by nearly half, and have never fully recovered to pre-Proposition 209 levels.
- Between 1995 and 2004, African American undergraduate admissions to UCLA dropped from 6.66% to 3.59%, and Hispanic admissions fell from 17.00% to 10.22%. In 2006, only 100 African Americans entered the freshman class, making up only 2% of the entering class. In 2006, only 3% of freshmen entering U.C. Berkeley were African American.
- In 1997, just one African American student enrolled in Boalt Hall. Since then, the numbers of African American and Latino students entering Boalt, UCLA law school, and other state law schools have improved, but they are nowhere near pre-Proposition 206 law school admissions. The disparity between the proportion of underrepresented minorities in our State population and their proportion in our legal profession continues to grow.
- While outreach efforts by the schools and by alumni groups have been instituted to increase the number of underrepresented minorities, the effect of Proposition 209 in decreasing the number of underrepresented minorities admitted to public colleges and law schools, particularly in the U.C. system, continues to have an adverse impact on diversity in the legal profession.
This session also examined efforts that have been instituted and may be implemented to reverse the trend of decreasing diversity in college and law school admissions caused by the environment of Proposition 209. Such efforts include adoption of "holistic" admissions criteria, de-emphasis of test scores and other criteria used in the traditional ranking of law schools, creation of alumni-organized scholarship and outreach programs, implementation of pipeline programs by law schools and colleges to increase minority admissions and acceptances, and examination of how private law schools and other private institutions not affected by Proposition 209 operate to provide opportunities to underrepresented minorities.
- Michael Schill, Dean, UCLA School of Law (bio)
- Marjorie Shultz, Professor, Boalt Hall School of Law (bio)
- Cynthia Valenzuela, Director of Litigation, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (bio)
- Karin Wang, Vice President, Programs, Asian Pacific American Legal Center (bio)
- Darnell Hunt, Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Center for African American Studies, UCLA
- Moderator, Pam Dunn, Dunn Koes LLP
College & Legal Education Program # 2 — Model Solutions in Colleges and Universities
This session examined successful college-level programs to identify minority students who have strong academic backgrounds and potential for success in the law, to encourage them to pursue a career in the law, and to assist them in gaining admission to law school. In particular, this session addressed the following topics:
- The upper reaches of the national law school applicant pool have extremely small numbers of African Americans and Latinos. The average admitted UCLA law student for Fall 2000 had an LSAT score in the 93rd percentile and a 3.71 GPA. However, in the entire nation in the 2000 application year, only 24 African-Americans and 45 Hispanics (out of 66,172 applicants) had LSAT scores above the 92nd percentile and grades of 3.5 or better.
- Nationally, the number of underrepresented minorities in law school is not keeping pace with the population. In 2003-2004, the percentage of African Americans enrolled in law school dipped to a 13-year low. According to the American Bar Association, it dropped approximately 13 percent in 2005.
- In California, due to Proposition 209, the U.C. undergraduate institutions that are the top feeder schools to the U.C. law school programs have seen the number of Latinos and African Americans in their undergraduate ranks drop, further reducing the numbers likely to be highly competitive for admission to the U.C. law schools.
- Programs need to be developed in the present competitive, post-Proposition-209 era to increase the numbers of underrepresented applicants throughout the academic pipeline who have highly competitive academic credentials. These programs should help students maximize their educational opportunities by improving their undergraduate academic records and assisting them in pursuing advanced degrees.
- Such pipeline programs can include mentoring, scholarship, academic assistance and tutoring, assistance in Law School Admission Test preparation, assistance in developing a career plan, internship and job opportunities, and other programs to assist minority students in increasing their grade point averages, their LSAT scores, and their admission and matriculation into law school.
Among the successful pipeline programs developed at the college level that were discussed in this session are the UCLA School of Law Fellows Program, Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO), King Hall Outreach Program (KHOP), UCLA African American Scholarship Fund Program, and the Posse Foundation.
- Leo Trujillo-Cox, Executive Director, UCLA School of Law Academic Outreach Resource Center (bio)
- Lynda Cevallos, Pre-Law Coordinator, Council on Legal Education Opportunity (bio)
- Sharon Pinkney, Director of Admissions, U.C. Davis King Hall School Of Law (bio)
- Rickey Ivie, Ivie McNeill & Wyatt, UCLA African American Scholarship Fund Program (bio)
- Rassan Salandy, National Director of University + Public Relations for The Posse Foundation, Inc.
- Moderator, Ann I. Park, Pond North LLP, LACBA Diversity In the Professions Committee
College & Legal Education Program # 3 — Model Solutions in Law Schools: Mentoring and Other Programs to Enhance Academic and Bar Passage Success
Not only are underrepresented minorities admitted in lower numbers to law school, the pipeline further constricts during law school. Underrepresented minorities experience greater attrition from law school, have lower academic success in law school (and therefore, fewer job opportunities in the legal profession), and lower bar passage rates. Among other things, the panel addressed the following:
- According to ABA statistics, 14% of Hispanics and 20% of African Americans drop out of law school by the third year.
- In California in July 2006, 73.6 of Whites taking the exam for the first time passed, while 45.1% of African American, 52.2% of Latino, and 65.1% of Asian American first-timers passed. Among repeaters, the pass rates showed a continuing disparity: 18.8% of Whites, 6.1% African American, 11.4% Hispanic, and 16.7% of Asian American repeaters passed.
- Not only are the comparative bar passage rates low, but because of the constriction in the pipeline, the diversity inthe absolute number of graduates taking the examination is disappointingly low: While 5,124 Whites took the July 2006 California Bar Exam, only 548 African Americans and 860 Hispanics did so. Given the extremely small pool of potential lawyers of color, the low bar passage rates are discouraging.
- As a result of the low pipeline numbers and the comparatively low passage rates, only 132 African Americans were admitted to the California bar in July 2006. This represents only 3% of the 4,730 total passing the July 2006 bar.
- In addition, in a state where 36% of the population, or 13 million, are Latino, only 295 Latino lawyers were admitted as a result of the July 2006 bar results.This represents 6% of the totaladmitted.
- In contrast, the 3,060 Whites passing the July 2006 bar made up 65% of the total California bar passers, and Asian Americans comprised 15% of the total passing the bar.
- In light of these challenging statistics, pipeline programs should be implemented to assist underrepresented minorities in achieving academic success in law school, staying in law school, and in passing the bar examination.
This track program examined successful programs established in law schools for the benefit of minority law school students, to mentor and support the students through law school and to assist them in passing the bar.
Among the programs discussed were Counsel on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO); University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law Education Pipeline and Pacific Pathways Programs; Wingspread program; and Golden Gate University Bar Examination Passage Program.
- Sarah Redfield, Professor, University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law (bio)
- Lynda Cevallos, Pre-Law Coordinator, Council on Legal Education Opportunity
- Rod Fong, Assistant Dean for Bar Exam Services, Golden Gate University School of Law (bio)
- Moderator, Patricia D. Lee, Director, State Bar Office of Fairness and Access to Justice (bio)
College & Legal Education Program # 4 — Model Solutions in Law Schools: Clerkships, Job Placement and Other Programs
In recognition of the diversity crisis in our legal profession, a number of leading bar associations, law firms, and other private sector organizations have instituted programs to not only support the "supply" side of the pipeline, but to increase the "demand" for minority lawyers. These pipeline programs demonstrate that law firms and bar organizations can do a great deal to support and mentor minority law students and to assist them in achieving successful careers in the law. These programs not only offer important scholarship assistance, but also provide job opportunities to expose minority law students to the work, requirements and culture of large law firms; they assist students in developing skills, confidence, resume credentials, and contacts to assist them in the future; and they introduce majority law firms to talented students who might not have been considered for the firms' traditional summer programs or full-time positions.
Among the programs discussed were the Bay Area Minority Summer Clerkship Program, Bay Area Minority Law Student Scholarship Program, Latham & Watkins Diversity Scholars Program and Bar Association of New York Diversity Initiatives.
- Christopher Arriola, Immediate Past President, Santa Clara County Bar Association and co-chair of Bay Area Minority Summer Clerkship Program(bio)
- Edith R. Perez, Partner, Latham & Watkins LLP (bio)
- Russ Roeca, Bar Association of San Francisco
- Paul Henderson, San Francisco District Attorney's Office
- Moderator, Ann I. Park, Pond North LLP, LACBA Diversity In the Professions Committee
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