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LSAC Files Brief With U.S. Supreme Court in Support of the University of Michigan Law School's Affirmative Action Program

Statement of the Law School Admission Council

February 17, 2003

The Law School Admission Council, sponsor of the LSAT, will file a brief tomorrow in support of the University of Michigan Law School’s affirmative action program. LSAC’s brief will make the following primary points:

  1. Diversity, including racial and ethnic diversity, is an essential element in training those who will become lawyers, judges, and national and global leaders.
  2. Law schools have been able to achieve diversity through the measured, appropriate, and legal use of affirmative action.
  3. Abandoning affirmative action will lead to a significant decline in opportunities for members of minority racial and ethnic groups, particularly at the most highly selective law schools.
  4. Plaintiffs misunderstand the limited, proper role that test scores, including LSAT scores, should play in the admission process.
  5. Although test scores and grades are important and useful admission criteria, no one has a right to a seat in law school simply because they have very high LSAT scores and undergraduate grades.
  6. Excessive reliance on undergraduate grades and test scores would have a devastating impact on minority participation in law school, particularly at those law schools with the most demanding selection criteria. In 2001-02, for example, only 29 of the 4,461 law school applicants with the highest LSAT scores and grades were African-American. Overall acceptance rates for African-American law applicants, already among the lowest for any race or ethnic group even with affirmative action, could be cut by nearly half.
  7. A thorough approach to admissions, one that takes race into account as one of many factors in crafting an incoming class, can achieve both diversity and selectivity at the nation’s law schools.
  8. Other measures, such as percentage plans, are not as effective, and deny educational institutions the discretion to shape their student bodies to meet their own missions and goals.

The Law School Admission Council is a nonprofit association of US and Canadian law schools based in Newtown, Pennsylvania. Copies of its brief, prepared by former US Solicitor General Walter Dellinger and other attorneys for LSAC, are available by contacting Ed Haggerty at 215.968.1326, or [email protected]

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