The New York Times is chock-full of law-related coverage and does not pass up the opportunity to critique the legal system. From law enforcement to law schools, no institution is safe. Law schools haven’t shied away from the legal system’s flaws, and the following 3 YouTube videos highlight their willingness to explore them.
1. Harvard Law – Panel on Law Schools in Crisis
In 2011, New York Times writer David Segal explored law students’ significant educational debt and dim job prospects in a series of articles:
- Is Law School a Losing Game? (01/08/11)
- Law Students Lose the Grant Game as Students Win (05/01/11)
- Law School Economics – Ka-Ching! (07/16/11)
- What They Don’t Teach Law Students: Lawyering (11/19/11)
At Blueprint JD, we have been actively monitoring the law school crisis and its impact on the future of legal education. We are not alone in our interest. Harvard Law convened a panel discussion last year, to explore the questions raised by the recent scrutiny. The panel discussion was entertaining, and also revealed why many have a love-hate relationship with Harvard Law.
2. UVA Law – Prof. Alex Johnson, African-Americans, Law Schools and the LSAT
In 2010, the New York Times noted the declining diversity in law schools, in particular, lower numbers of African-American and Mexican-American law students. Writer Tamar Lewin examined the joint research effort of Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) and Columbia Law professor Conrad Johnson, which is memorialized on the web site A Disturbing Trend in Law School Diversity. The study concludes that despite relatively constant numbers of African-American and Mexican-American applicants and 3,000 additional law school seats, admissions still lag. In particular, 61% black applicants (as compared to 34% of white applicants) are denied admission to all of the law schools to which they apply.
Later that year, UVA Law held a talk featuring Prof. Alex Johnson, a past chair of the Board of Trustees of the Law School Admissions Council, which develops and administers the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). Johnson responded to the SALT/Columbia Law study and explored the achievement gap in standardized tests such as the LSAT.
3. NYU Law – Michelle Alexander, New Frontiers in Race and Criminal Justice – Keynote Address
On February 26, 2012, Trayvon Martin, a black teenager as fatally shot as he walked through his father’s gated townhouse community in Florida. By mid-March, the tragedy garnered national media attention. In a March 16, 2012 article, New York Times writer Charles Blow criticized the lack of an arrest, addressed the racial sensitivity of the case, and discussed the universal fear of parents of black young men that their children will be unfairly profiled.
In 2012, NYU Law held a conference devoted to the intersection of race and criminal justice. In the conference’s keynote address, Prof. Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, discusses the how the Trayvon Martin tragedy exposes the myth of colorblindness.
Does your law school engage in self-reflection? Let us know about it in the comments.
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