Wednesday, August 20, 2008
The California State Bar has taken a position in opposition to the release of confidential information concerning applicants for bar admission, according to a report in Forbes.com. The Bar was responded to a request for information from UCLA Law Professor Richard Sander. The matter is before the California Supreme Court on a writ filed by Professor Sander. Forbes summarizes the arguments of Professor Sander and the Bar:
Sander theorizes that placing unqualified minority students in elite law schools results in lower bar pass rates than if they attended schools where their admissions credentials match those of their classmates. Calling the outcome the "mismatch effect," he suggests that preferential admissions policies may actually harm, rather than help, students of color.
The Committee of Bar Examiners and Board of Governors rejected Sander's request for applicants' bar exam results, gender, race and law school academic credentials after reviewing it in detail and considering the comments of numerous constituents, many of whom had provided information with the understanding it was confidential.
Given the detailed and comprehensive nature of information required of applicants for purposes of evaluating character and fitness, I agree with the bar that the expectation of confidentiality obligates the court to reject the writ.
UPDATE: here is a link to an article on the dispute that appears in the August 2008 online edition of the California Bar Journal. If anyone has the pleadings in electronic form, it would be very helpful to see the precise contentions of the parties. Mike Frisch)