The Fight Against Affirmative Action At Harvard Could Threaten Rich Whites

Sander is vulnerable on other fronts. He assumes that in a world without law-school affirmative action, lots of black students would still choose to study law, even though they'd be reduced on many campuses from 8 percent of the student population to 1 or maybe 2 percent. Assuming that other professional schools continued to admit higher numbers of black students, it's hard to see why many wouldn't begin choosing medicine or business over law, as this paper points out. In a different critique, Harvard law professor David Wilkins worries about thinning the ranks of black students at the most elite schools. They're the ones most likely to become part of well-connected networks, and they are the pool from which the big law firms overwhelmingly draw their black partners. Wilkins also takes a longer view and argues that Sander's concern about the fate of black law students turns out to be misplaced: Five years to 15 years after graduation, they earn significantly more on average than other black college graduates. And Wilkins points out that Sander never questions the utility and value of the bar exam itself—which probably puts him in the minority of those who have taken it, assuming he has. One way to increase the number of black lawyers might be to write a test that relies less on trick multiple-choice questions, or to convince the state bar associations that administer the exam to quit failing more and more would-be lawyers each year, as several have taken to doing. (Fewer new lawyers means less competition.)

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