Monthly Archives: October 1968

1968.10.16: Leon Letwin – Memorandum on Admissions Policies (UCLAW)

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October 16, 1968

MEMORANDUM ON ADMISSIONS POLICIES

Leon Letwin

Our present admissions policy has two facets :

1 . The vast bulk of our students are selected on the b asis

of their LSAT and GPA scores . The selection process is, however,

not automatic . The mere fact that one applicant’s paper record

is trivially superior to that of another does not automatically

guarantee his selection . Some weight may be given to extracurricular

activities or other background factors. It is, however,

the LSAT and GPA which primarily determine who is chosen . Other

f actors are weighed only where “all other things [namely, LSAT

and GPA] are equal .

2 . In the case of a distinct minority of the applicants,

the admissions decisions are made largely on factors other than

LSAT ~nd GPA . The most obvious example is our minority admissions

policy . But the practice has also developed to admit a certain

number of nonminority students on a basis other than their

superiority with respect to LSAT and GPA. They are admitted

because of some outstanding achievements or: some aspect of background

which seems to make them particularly v a luabl e additions

to the law school’s mix of students .

I propose we formalize this latter process so that our

admissions policy would be as follows:

1) No less than 80% of our students would continue to be

chosen almost exclusively on the basis of their LSAT and GPA .

This would maintain our strong emphasis on the traditional

qu~l ities. Since under these standards the choice is largely

automatic and departures from pure academic rank operate within

a narrow range, Assistant Dean Cossack would, by himself, select

the students falling within this category .

2) No more than 20% of the enter ing class woul d be c hosen

largel y on the basis of factors other than LSAT and GPA. This

group would embrace all students selected by reason of s pec ial

b~ckg round.

The special minority recruitment effort would then be

subsumed within this group . The objective for minority recruitment,

for the short run, would be to pl~ o duce a combined black

~nd brown student enrollment comprising no less than 15% of the

e~tering student class. This percentage would still fall

suostantial~y short of the proportion these minorities hold to

the Los Angeles area population as a who le . Some of these

minority students would, as at present, be drawn from those who

meet regular admissions requirements . This group will presumably

.

J

ex_?::!.:~d v:i th ti:n.e . The balance would be drawn from t he 20%

speci~~ ad~iss io Ls . As a rough guess, perhaps half of the

20S special admiss ions group would be minority students,

h~l~ LOnminority .

2 .

Since policy viewpoints would play a much highe r role in

m~king ~he selections of thi s 20% group, t he proc edure followed

would be made as follows:

A. With r espect to the minori ty admissions, the primary

decision would be made by a subcommittee consisting of Assistant

Dean McDermott and possibly another faculty member, and the two

student members of t he Admissi ons Committee, 1\ir . King and

~.~ . :.~:.rt inez . Dc::n ~.!cDermott would c hai r t he subcommittee .

B. ~ith respect to the other persons falling within the

20% group, the selections would be made by the Committee as a

whole on the recommendation of Assistant Dean Cossack. While

the very delegation of aut hority to recommend would place a

degree of discretion in t he hands of the Assistant Dean (in that

tile Committee would not routine ly examine the files of the hundreds

of ~pplicants whom he had not recommended) , the Committee, thr ough

passing on his recommendations, woul d be abl e to help develop the

policies upon which such admissions deci si o~s were made . (Dean

Cossack could be asked t o present for Committee action, perhaps

twice as many recommendations as the s eats a va ilable f or t his

croup.)

Rcaso~s for this Policy

1 . LSAT and GPA are used because they are thought to be

re:.sonably good predictors of law school academic performance.

It is, however, conceded by all (indeed insisted upon by the ETS) ,

thn~ the LSAT is but a working t ool and not a perfect predictor .

Thus even to the degree that one unquestioningly adopts the

objective of selecting t hose who will perform best on law school

exa:nin~tions, LSAT and GPA are not flawless discriminators . The

laY/ school student body contains numerous examples of people

admitted on the basis other than LSAT or GPA and who performed

outst:~.ndin~ly well in law school .

2 . ~ore fundamentally , we should r eject the notion that the

likelihood of superior grade performance is the only value the law

schoo::. ouc;ht to seek in determining its student body. High law

school grades are not ends in themselves . They are at best a

rou~;n inc..ox of maste:cy over some of the skills required of the

lc:~al practitioner. There are, however, other values of legitimate

concern -..:o the law school . Our minority recruitment program recognizes

this . The better law schools have traditionally recognized

n. vai~icty of values by seeking to achieve geographic , relig ious

anc c~ltural diversity in the s t udent body . Harvard is today, as

I understand it , an outstandi ng p r a ctit ioner of this viewpoint .

3.

It has declined to set its sight on achieving the highest possible

LSAT average and has·opted rather for a richly diverse student

body. It has thus recognized that the objectives of legal education

are far more complex than turning out those most successful at

getting high grades in law school. ·

The effect of adopting such a policy would be to put the

n1inority recruitment effort in a more accurate light. It would

not then appear to be a sport in the law school’s admissions policy,

but an aspect of a general effort to respond more thoughtfully and

faithfully to the actual needs of legal education and of the society

served thereby_

1968.10.08: Industry Calls Minority Trainees — No One Replies (LA Times)

1968.10.08 -- Industry Calls Minority Trainees, No One Replies (Leon) -- LA Times_Page_1 1968.10.08 -- Industry Calls Minority Trainees, No One Replies (Leon) -- LA Times_Page_2

1968.10.01: Letwin and Wasserstrom, National Goals for Expanding Minority Group Entry (UCLAW)

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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES

BERKELEY DAVIS • lRVl=’E LOS A=’CELES R!VE I1.S!DE • S.’.N DIEGO • SAN FRA!’.’ClSCO SA.’I/TA BARBARA SA!’.’TA CRUZ

SCHOOL OF’ LAW

LOS ANGELES, CALIFOI\NIA 90024

National. Goals for Expanding Minority Group Entry

into the Legal Profession : Some Proposals

I. Introduction

to the CLEO Council

Submitted by

Leon Letwin

Professor of Law

and

Richard Wasserstrom

Prof . of Law and Philosophy

(October 1, 1968)

This brief paper is addressed to only a few of t he issues with

which CLEO should concern itself . . We deal here only with (1) t he

quantitative nationa l goal s for minority group en.rollment in l aw

schools; (2 ) the amount of financial assistance required to support

an enrollment of this siz e; and (3) possible sources of funds in

the amount needed. We do not address ourselve s to topics such as

that of the need to recruit many more minority p e r s ons i nto l aw

school t eaching , that of the ways in which l e gal educa tion ought to

change itself to accommodate better these l aw students, and other

equ ally i mportant and complica t ed problems.

It i s a l so necessary to observe that t his paper i s at best a

sketch of certain proposals. We indicate a number of the assumptions

upon which our propos a l s rest, but we do not pTesent much in

the way of evidence to support the assumptions. In part, this is

. because we l ack the neces sary detailed information–our assumptions

are, we hope, educated but none theless speculative guesses . And i n

part, this is because of the time limitati ons u nder which we are

working .

II.

2.

‘l’he Proposed Level of Enrollment of Uinority Group Students

in Legal Education through 1973~74

A. By the time the 1973-74 academic year is under way

no less than 10% of the students engaged in the full-time

study of law should be minority group students. In terms

of yearly figures for enrollment, our proposal is as

follows:

1969-70

1970-71

1971-72

1972-73

1973-74

B. Assumptions

No specific proposal

first year students

first year students

second year students

first year students

second year students

third year students

first year students

second year students

third year students

2,000

2,500

1,700

3,000

2,200

1,500

3,000

2,700

2,000

Total: 2,000

Total: 4,200

Total: 6,700

Total: 7,700

1. When we speak of “minority group” students we mean

students drawn primarily from the three large ethnic

groups:. black Ame~icans, Mexican-Americans, and

~terto Ricans living in the United States. On a

regional basis other minority groups would no doubt

be included. ·

2. In 1973-74 there will be between 75,·ooo and so, 000

students enrolled in law school. ·

3. We include in our figures throughout this proposal

the approximately 600 minority students enrolled at

the four predominantly black law schools.

4. We make no provision for 1969-70 because we do not

know the extent to which CLEO can materially affect

enrollment and raise funds for next fall •. The goal

should be to come as close to the 1970-71 objectives

as possible.

5. Our projected figures are misleading in the sense

that they do not include the minority group students

who will be second and third year students in 1970-71, ·

and the minority group students who will be third year

students in 1971-72. We omit them in part because we

assume ~hat some provision for their financial needs

will have been made before their admission to law

school, and _in part because we do not know the size of

the pool. To the extent to which their financial needs

must be taken into account their number should be added

to our calculations.

6. The pool of undergraduate minority group students is

increasing in size at a rate substantially greater

than that for the college population generally, and

that there is in addition a pool of persons who have

already completed their undergraduate work and who

would be interested in coming to law school if

adequate financial assistance were available.

7. We assume that the generally accepted criteria for

admission of interested minority group students to

law school will not be the traditional requirements

3.

of high LSAT and GPA scores but rather whether there

is reasonable “likelihood that the student will be able

to complete satisfactorily the requirements for the

law degree at_the school to which he has applied.

I ;8.- To the extent feasible, the 10% minority group enrollment

should roughly reflect the relative proportions

of the three minority populations in the society at

large.

9 .. Finally–and we emphasize this–our proposal is a.

limited five-year proposal. We regard as unsatisfactory

a percentage as low as 10%, given both the nature of

past and present inequities in the society and the

urgent and continuing need for substantially more

minority group representation in the bar. We assume

further, that a primary obstacle to significantly

greater minority group enrollment is the quantity of

funds obtainable in this period. We assume throughout

that our estimates are minimum ones and that they

represen~ a floor rather than a ceiling for aspiration.

III. ·The Proposed Level of Financial Assistance that Should Be

Made Available

A. On the average, $4,000 of financial assistance

(tuition plus cost of living) should be made

available to each minority group student for

each of his three years of legal education.

In terms of the yearly enrollment figures ~e have

proposed (and assuming_an inflationary adjustment

of 5% per year), the total dollar amounts neede~

are:

needed for year

1970-71

1971-72

1972-73

1973-74

no. of

students

2,000

4,200

6,700

7,700

total cost/student

$4, ooo·

4,200

4,400

4,650

total cost

(rounded to

nearest million)

$ 8,000,000

18,000,000

29,000,000

36,~00,000

~ 4.

B. Assumptions

1 .. The average tuition cost, given the variation

between public and private schools, will be at

least $1250 per year.

2. The minimum amount of support a single student

will need is, on the average, $2,500.

3. The minimum amount of support a married student,

without children, will need is, on the average,

$2,500.

4. The minimum amount of support a married student

with children will need is, on the average,

$2,500 plus $GOO per child. ~

~. On the average there will be one-third as many

children to be supported as there are minority

group students enrolled in law school.

6. Thus, the average amount of financial support

provided will be roughly $2,750 per student.

7. We assume an inflationaiy figure of approximately

5% per year during this period.

IV. Proposed Sour·ces of Funds and Allocations of Fund Raisin_g_

Responsibilities

A. CLEO should assume the primarY- responsibility for

generating 75% of the amount needed and the law

schools should assume responsibility for the

re~1aining 25%.

For each of the years indicated the amounts involved

would be roughly as follows:

1970-71

1971-72

1972-73

1973-74

B. Assumptions

law schools

$2,000,000

4,500,000

7,250,000

9,000,000

CLEO

$ 6,000,000

13,500,000

21,750,000

27,000,000

1. The overwhelming majority of minority group students

who will be attending law school come from familie~

unable in any way to assist them financially. In

addition, a _large number of these students will enter

law school having already incurred substantial debts

in the course of obtaining their undergraduate

education.

~ 5.

2. It is desirable to extend the opportunity for legal

education not only to recent college graduates without

families, but also to older, more mature family men

for whon such opportunities did not previously exist.

3. It is undesirable for minority group students to work

during any of the three academic years of law study

(except insofar as such work is primarily educationally

directed).

4. Given the relatively modest levels of support proposed

and the relatively great economic needs that minority

group students and their families will have, it is

undesirable to assume that any meaningful portion of

a student’s law school expenses can be defrayed through

earnings secured from summer employmeht.

·s. Because of the financial condition of most minority

group students, the financing of any portion of their

legal education through loans should be avoided.

~owever, to the extent to which a loan program may

become necessary, it should provide interest-free loans

which do n.ot become payable unt:i_l a substantial period

of time (say five years) after g:caduation.from law

school. More importantly, any such loan program should

contain significant, if not complete, forgiveness

provisions if the recipient chooses .to employ his legal

sk.ills on behalf of the minority community or in public

service generally.

6. Given the very great need almost all minority students

will present, the administration of any means test

as a cond:i.tion for the aVJarding of financial support

will end up being more expensive than the across-theboard

allocation of funds to an occasional student

without needc Nonetheless, on the assumption that a

means test will be politically necessary, it should,

both for this·and other reasons, be an extremely simple

and “gross”·one, i.e., if “need” is made out by -the

app1icf:.nt fo:..’ substRnti~~l financial assistance, the

standard mininmm stipend should be awarded without any

more detailed attempt being made to see lf only $1500

or $2000 rather than $2500 is required.

7. We ass1u.1e that it will tax the host law schools, but

not oppressively, for them to come up with 25% of the

cost of each minority student’s expenses. The schools

can raj_se the amount by cultivating more intensively

than in the past the traditional sources: alumni,

state.legislatures, local foundations, etc.

6.

8. The 75% that CLEO will generate will virtually all

have to come from sourc·E~s that have not traditionally

supported legal education to any very subsiantial

degree. . We have in mind:

a) The one hundred or so very large and very affluent

law firms in the United States. These firms now

pay a starting associate approximately $15 ~ 000 •.

If there are 100 law :firms in this category and

if each were persuaded to .contribute the equivalent

of one year’s salary for one junior associate to

this pu~~ose, $1,500,000 would be generated annually6

b) The organized bar generally; The ABA and the NBA

should pe employed to educate all·. members of the

bar concerning their responsibilities in tbis. area.

c) The major foundations. The Ford Foundation has

on more than one occasion provided virtually the

entire sum needed by CLEO for projects that were

more parochial in scope and less urgent in need

than the.CLEO program, eGgO, $25,000~000 to.

Stanford University, $30,000,000 to Columbia.

University, ~~50, 000, 000 to the Woodrow Wilson

Fellowship programo

d) -The Federal Governmento This would involve both

the resources of presently existing programs,

and those thai might be provided by new legislationo

The mftgnj.tude of support that has been made available

in recent years through the National Science Foundation

G1″ants and the NDT!!A program, make it plain

that the kind of support needed for CLEO is, in

thl.E? perspective, exceedingly small6 Aga:tn, the

problem appears to be not one of capability but

rather one of persuading others of the genuineness

and importance of the needo