Bricks on the Brain

UM Law

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Outrageous Discriminatory Recruitment

As UM Law students know, when the US military JAG corps attempts to recruit on campus, emails begin by announcing their presence with a disclaimer:

Notice Re Military Discrimination and

Law School Nondiscrimination Policy

It is the policy of the University of Miami School of Law not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, or sexual orientation in its education programs, admissions policies, employment policies and other school administered programs and to refuse access to employers who refuse to sign nondiscrimination statements and/or who otherwise discriminate in violation of the nondiscrimination policy. By statute, the United States Armed Services discriminate by gender by refusing to employ women for certain positions. In addition, by statute, the United States Armed Services will not employ for any position those whom it deems to be lesbian, gay or bisexual. Because of the conflict between these policies, in the past the University of Miami School of Law has refused access to recruiters from the U.S. Armed Services.

Recently, the U.S. government has decided to cut off federal work-study funds and certain loans to educational institutions, which deny access to the Armed Services. Because of the government's threat to this important source of student financial aid, the University of Miami School of Law has reluctantly decided to allow access to military recruiters. This step is being taken solely to ensure our students access to federal financial aid and in no way represents approval of the Armed Services policy or a withdrawal from our firm commitment to our non-discrimination policy. Anyone with information that any other employer discriminates should contact the office of the Dean of the Law School.

Dennis O. Lynch

September 20, 1999

So imagine my surprise when a recent Career Planning Center update email notified students of the following scholarship opportunity:

Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, LLP Diversity Scholarship (1L)

Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, LLP is committed to diversity in the legal profession, and to continue its ongoing efforts to increase the diversity of the attorneys recruited, hired, retained and promoted to Shareholder status at the firm. To assist BDB with its recruitment of minority attorneys, in 2005 we established the Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, LLP Diversity Scholarship Program. During 2006, the inaugural year of the scholarship, we will award $5,000 to help defray the education expenses of one first year student. In 2005, first year students from the following law schools are eligible to apply: Capital University Law School; Case Western Reserve University School of Law; Cleveland-Marshall College of Law; The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law; the University of Akron School of Law; and the University of Miami School of Law. The scholarship will include a paid clerkship position in the summer following the first year of law school in one of BDB’s offices.

First year minority law students of African-American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native-American descent are eligible to apply. The scholarship will be awarded to the candidate who best meets the following criteria: Demonstrated Leadership Skills; Commitment to Excellence; Service to the Community; and Academic Excellence.

Interested students must submit the following items with a completed application: A current academic transcript (if not available at time of application must be submitted when received); A college transcript; A current resume; A written essay up to a 1,000 words on the following topic: What distinguishes you from your peers? Please include in your essay a discussion of the life influences that have contributed to the person you are today. Essays must be type-written, single-spaced, in Times New Roman 12 font format.

Completed application materials should be submitted to: Tami Whiteleather; Legal Personnel Coordinator; Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, LLP; 50 S. Main Street; Akron, Ohio 44309.

Applications must be received by January 10, 2006. Students considered for the scholarship award will be requested to interview with firm attorneys. Those selected for an interview will be notified by January 25, 2006.

Yes, that's right...WHITE PEOPLE NEED NOT APPLY FOR THE SCHOLARSHIP. So why is BDP allowed access when their scholarship/recruitment program blatantly discriminates by race?

In light of the stated policy, allowing this sort of opportunity access to the students is extremely difficult to defend. Whether or not such a scholarship/recruitment practice is legal is hardly relevant, because the military's policies have been deemed legal and yet remain condemned by the UM Law administration. Thus by UM's standards (where race, gender, or sexual orientation is the deciding employment factor), this scholarship/clerkship is just "wrong" and ought to be banned or disclaimed in the same manner the military recruitment efforts are.

However: I am not a lawyer, and what I'm about to say should not be taken as legal advice. But if this scholarship/recruitment were a hypo on an exam, I would likely conclude that such an employment practice is illegal. It might be legal under some sort of affirmative action plan, but there aren't enough facts here to know if an affirmative action plan can be sustained.

I for one find the scholarship/clerkship offensive, even if it is legal. Minority students at UM Law are perfectly capable of competing for employment in the legal field without handouts and preferences.

4 Comments:

  • At 10:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Install the blogger thing where people have to type some letters before you can comment. That gets rid of the spam.

     
  • At 2:53 PM, Blogger Bricklayer said…

    Thanks!

     
  • At 4:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey, I thought you were a Democrat?

     
  • At 2:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Why? because the white partners feel so uncomfortable when the firm is 99% white. haha...

     

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