Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Called Out by Belle Lettre on Law Student Hiring

Belle_lettre Who am I to ignore a request from such an eminent blogger as Belle Lettre?  She brings to my attention an article in the New York Times by Adam Liptak and wonders what its employment discrimination ramifications are.

How abou two posts, Belle? Rick writes below about an Adam Liptak article in which law students are grading law firms based on diversity.  She wants my expert reaction.

Now, my first reaction is similar to that of eric over at the Debris Blog:

So students from elite law schools will know at which firms woman, people of color, and LBGT people have the best opportunities to make bucketloads of money working on behalf of corporate power.

Taking Belle's question a little less cynically, I am not sure what the employment discrimination issues are.  The firms may respond by seeking to hire more diversity candidates, but as long as they don't have quotas and take other factors into consideration when hiring, there shouldn't be an employment discrimination issue.  Of course, over-eager firms may put in place a de facto quota and find itself being sued under a reverse discrimination theory.


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Thanks for the post! I quite agree with you and Rick. I'll try to get in a follow-up post myself. In short, I agree that absent a quota firms won't get into trouble--but it seems like the grades effectively demand a quota like approach. Not that firms have to employ quotas in order to increase diversity, but a results-oriented approach seems most efficacious, and anything else will just be lip-service to that goal. And you may recall the Kalev/Dobbin/Kelly 2006 article on Best Practices that argues that of all the diversity programs, the ones that require accountability as reflected in increased percentages of ____ are the most effective.

All a muddle. Thanks for your expert opinions!

Posted by: Belle Lettre | Oct 31, 2007 8:16:48 AM

This seems like another piece of the Big Law Revolution, , in which Stanford Law Students were also at the forefront. It will be intriguing to see how this unfolds historically and whether this demand up front for work-life balance will both expand geographically and filter beyond the elite law schools.


Posted by: Nancy Levit | Nov 1, 2007 7:43:04 AM

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