Monday, July 24, 2017

Glass Ceilings in the Legal Field: Asians Avoiding Law School Despite Strong Entrance Credentials

Losing Interest in Law School: On July 20, 2017, the ABA Journal posted a Debra Cassens Weiss article, under the header “Asian-Americans are apparently losing interest in law school; report shows outsize enrollment drop.” Check out this opening:

“Asian-American enrollment in law school has declined more steeply than that of other racial and ethnic groups, according to a report documenting a glass ceiling for this group in the law.

From 2009 to 2016, Asian-Americans’ first-year enrollment in law school dropped by 43 percent, compared to a 28 percent drop for all students, a 34 percent drop among whites and a 14 percent drop among African-Americans. Hispanic enrollment, meanwhile, increased by 29 percent.

In 2016, the Asian-American share of first-year enrollment was 6.1 percent, the lowest since 1997. Overall, Asian-Americans make up nearly 7 percent of law school enrollment, while they make up 5.6 percent of the U.S. population.

The report (PDF), “A Portrait of Asian Americans in the Law,” suggests the decline could be because of instability in the market for legal employment, the relative attractiveness of other professions, and recruiting efforts by law schools seeking African-American and Hispanic students.

The report’s major conclusion—that Asian-Americans are underrepresented among the top ranks of the legal profession—was released in January. Findings include: Asian-Americans are the largest minority group at major law firms, but they have the highest attrition rates and the lowest ratio of partners to associates. Asian-Americans make up only 3 percent of the federal judiciary and only 2 percent of state court judges.

Before the drop in law school enrollment, Asian-American enrollment in law schools was increasing, rising from 1,962 students in 1983 to a peak of a peak of 11,327 in 2009. Even after the drop, Asian-Americans were disproportionately enrolled in higher-ranked schools. In 2015, 34 percent of Asian-American law students were enrolled in the nation’s 30 top ranked law schools.” [Emphasis mine]

This is not surprising, as Asians often work hard, go to top schools, and then end up hitting a glass ceiling. A while back, I ran across this hard-hitting piece from Wesley Yang. It appeared in New York Magazine on May 8, 2011, under the headline “Paper Tigers.” Once the grades are earned and the degrees are handed out, political and social connections play a much bigger role.

Other Coverage: On July 18, 2017, the Washington Post published a Tracy Jan piece that was entitled “Law schools are filled with Asian Americans. So why aren’t there more Asian judges?” Take a look at this portion:

“While Asian Americans are the fastest growing minority group in law, and are overrepresented in the country’s top law schools as well as at major law firms, they lag behind all other racial groups when it comes to attaining leadership roles in the legal profession, according to a study released Tuesday by Yale Law School and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.

“Asian American growth in the legal profession has been impressive but penetration into leadership ranks has been slow,” said Liu, who co-authored the study with a group of students at Yale Law School, his alma mater.

Asian Americans comprise 10 percent of graduates at the country’s top law schools although they make up just 6 percent of the U.S. population. But only 3 percent of the federal judiciary and 2 percent of state judges are Asian American, the study found.

Of the 94 U.S. attorneys, only three are Asian American. And only four of the 2,437 elected prosecutors are Asian American.

In the private sector, Asian Americans have been the largest minority group in major law firms for nearly two decades, making up 7 percent of attorneys. But they have the highest attrition rates and the lowest ratio of partners to associates of any racial group.

And in academia, Asian made up only 3 out of 202 law school deans in the country in 2013, and 18 out of 709 associate or vice deans.

“Asian Americans do well when it comes to competition and selection with objective metrics” such as LSAT scores and grades, Liu said. “But when the selection begins to involve things that are intangible for promotions, they kind of flip off the radar.”

The disparities become evident straight out of law school. Asian Americans make up just 6.5 percent of federal judicial law clerks and 4.6 percent of state law clerks, despite their heavy presence at the top 30 law schools.

In contrast, while whites make up 58.2 percent of students at top law schools, they landed 82.4 percent of all federal clerkships and 80.2 percent of state clerkships.” [Emphasis mine]

If Asian students perform better overall on the LSAT and typically go to premier law schools, then it also stands to reason that they all do well on bar exams. Yet, their job outlook is limited – even when they do end up in large law firms. You don’t see that in the medical field!

Conclusion: In the final analysis, Asians have figured out that taking on huge amounts of student debt, for a “career” that may last 3-5 years, is idiotic. They see that their hard work – and degrees from top law schools – will not typically be rewarded with a Biglaw partnership or a judge position. Furthermore, even the supposed liberals in legal academia are not too keen on placing Asian professors in leadership positions. Remember, this “profession” is based on social capital and connections. It is better to be a drunk kid from a wealthy family than it is to be an unconnected hardass, when looking for legal jobs. But go ahead and take out $178,512.56 in loans, for your TTT law degree, Lemming.


  1. A couple of Asian-American families I know don't even want their kids to go to college unless they get full-ride scholarships. They understand that college was cheap when they went, but that tuition has skyrocketed since the 1990s. It's really simple arithmetic for them: They can't afford to put their kids through college, and don't want to see their kids taking out loans. I didn't go into greater detail, but I got the impression that they'd rather see their kids enter a skilled trade like auto mechanics or culinary arts--fields with demand for workers.

    1. I should have taken up a trade rather than ruining my life with universities.

    2. I *was* going to do that. That is exactly what I was planning on after HS. But the Profit-Mongers and the indoctrination got me.. 3 degrees later: college BS, MBA, and JD, and here I am. Luckily, no debt.

      But as far as a career, none of them helped me.

      If I had gone with my original plan, who knows?? Probably a mediocre salary but far less stress and wasted time and effort.

      As far as Asian parents not even wanting their kids to attend college due to loans, I can only say that this does surprise me. On the other hand, a guy who ran a Chinese restaurant sold the place and I was told college was costing him $50k per year.

      Those kids, IMO, would've done far, far better staying and running the restaurant. Mostly cash business, etc. like bakeries.

      The downside: Crazy, insane hours before and after closing so days are very, very long.

  2. Those stats are wrong because "the profession" is dominated by WASPS and Jews, who sometimes are lumped into the "white" category when they most certainly are not. They are part of a near-eastern unique genetic clustering and have much more in common with their own genetic clustering than caucasoids. Jews, esp. Ashkenazi (Kazar), do not intermarry by and large. The jews that pass off as "white", i.e. Harrison Ford type, are 1/4th jewish with a white veneer. Same with Goldie Hawn (1/2).

    If you ask a Jew, they will not say they are "white" as they do not consider themselves to be white.

    Jews are hugely over-represented compared to the general population in the legal field:

  3. For someone that already graduated from college, what's a good career that is not based on social capital or connections? I am from a poor background so a meritocratic career is something I would like to explore.

    1. Teaching English in Asia.

    2. Depends on your age, health and skillset.

      But if you want something somewhat secure with good benefits, then be a police officer or a teacher. Government benefits are as good as they come and you generally have the community behind you, whereas people generally can't stand lawyers.

      If you have a good outgoing personality, then consider sales. You may discover that you're good, and you'll always find work with good opportunities for advancement.

      The legal job market is shit. Stay away if you know what's good for you.

    3. That's a good question. Meritocracy nowadays is rare, if it exists at all. Medicine, which someone suggested, may be one of the better choices, but not for someone who has already finished a bachelor's degree without (I assume) completing the courses required of applicants to medical school.

      In any event, stay the hell away from law.

    4. I took the long path of returning to undergrad to take the med school science prereqs, and then pursuing a medical career afterward, after having failed to enter the glutted legal market. I was one of the ubiquitous liberal arts - toilet law degree grads. While in undergrad at my crappy liberal arts school, I wanted to go to law school. But I also applied for corporate jobs too just to see what was out there. I did not receive a single job offer. I thought no big deal, I’m going to law school! I compounded my mistake of going to a liberal arts toilet undergrad by borrowing $150k to attend a toilet law school. I didn’t come from a wealthy connected family. I didn’t know about the risks. I believed that all I had to do was work hard and I would get ahead. That’s the working class mentality. Little did I know that most fields are about credentials and connections. My worthless degrees didn’t give me any opportunities.

      Medicine is much more of a meritocracy. But if you are going to go back to undergrad like me to pursue medicine, just make sure you like the science and practice of medicine. You face a long and arduous path. You pretty much need to get As in all of your science classes. You will need to put in a lot of time prepping for the MCAT. And the MCAT has become much more complex. When I took it, we were tested on Chem, O-chem, Bio, Physics, and reading comprehension. Now they test on even more subjects.

      The JD is also a stain on your application. During interviews, I was always asked why I wasn’t pursuing a legal career. I scored in the 97th percentile on the MCAT. With good grades, I was able to get interviews with some of the top schools. I ended up going to a great school. But I also applied to the med school at the university where I attended law school. The university is by no means prestigious. The law school is a toilet. The med school is not even ranked by U.S. “News.” Even though I was an alum of the toilet law school with a great MCAT score, the med school didn’t even offer me an interview. I got a rejection email about 8 or 9 months after submitting my application. I laughed because I was already going to a much better med school.

      After going through all of that, you will have to put up with 4 years of med school. At this point you better like science, because you will dedicate your life to learning anatomy, physiology, histology, pathology, pharmacology, etc. You’ll have to study topics such as the channels in the nephron of the kidney, and the drugs that block those channels like loop diuretics or thiazides. Then you will have your rotations, where you will be working 12-14 hour shifts at times, night call, and weekend call. The work is interesting. You get to scrub in on surgeries. You see patients. But the long hours are tiring.

      Then after putting in four years of med school, you have several more years of residency. The rules capping residency work hours was just eliminated. Expect to be worked like a dog in residency. On the bright side, schools and residency programs are working to eliminate mistreatment. Everyone is expected to treat others with respect nowadays in the medical profession.

      Despite the long hours, the work is great. You are caring for and helping people. The job is very secure. The technological advances in the not too distant future that will help you treat patients is incredible. A new leukemia treatment is coming out where the patient’s white blood cells will be genetically modified to attack and kill the cancer cells. Gene editing with CRISPR is going to create opportunities to cure debilitating genetic diseases. There is research underway to treat disorders like muscular dystrophy with viruses that insert a good gene into the muscle cells to replace the mutated gene.

      If you don’t want to give up years of your life in med school and residency, you could also become a nurse or PA. Those are great careers.

  4. S. Bradford Quartermaine VIIIJuly 24, 2017 at 1:58 PM

    Fuck these people. What's stopping them from killing it? I myself went to boarding school at Phillips Academy Andover. I didn't get into Thomas Mann or the Trinity School. You don't see me complaining about it. Didn't get my first job until I was 24. I didn't even wear a tie to that interview. I just showed up in a polo shirt and slacks and a bunch of old guys my dad knew just laughed at my jokes and hired me on the spot. What's so hard about getting a good job? Some of my Biglaw buddies even went to shithole prep schools like St. Paul's. Didn't stop them from doing well either. I summered in the Hamptons and lunched at the finest restaurants while these Asian students were grinding away and learning a bunch of shit. I even took a gap year before going to Harvard. Spent that whole year backpacking Europe. My old man even put me on a $20,000 monthly allowance that whole year. My great uncle was a U.S. ambassador to the Court of St James's. What stopped these Asian students great-great grandparents from making a killing and setting up their heirs well?

    1. The same thing that stopped Old Guy's illiterate great-great-grandparents from doing so.

  5. It's harder for Asian men to break into the field too than it is for the women. You see hiring partners at biglaw firms would rather see a skinny young Asian woman in the office than some nerdy Asian guy. So if you have an eggroll dangling in between your legs find another profession where it won't be held against you as it is in the shitty legal profession.

  6. When you are rooted in the Tao all of the forces in the Universe become as one, and then you know: Avoid law school like your life depends on it.

  7. Lance Ito retired a few years back.... the Juice is Loose again.

    Law school is for 1. Rich kids; or 2. The fiances of engineers and insurance actuaries.

  8. All of this talk of discrimination is irrelevant. Great news everyone! A JD is still worth over ONE MILLION DOLLARS in extra lifetime earnings over a simple bachelor's degree!

    Check out this stunning conclusion to Simkovic's latest "study":

    "Commonly used bellwethers—such as current economic conditions, outcomes for recent graduates or changes in law school enrollment or BLS job opening projections—are poor predictors of outcomes for those currently matriculating to law school...Even for relatively low earners, and even for those who are unlucky enough to graduate into a weak economy, a law degree has typically more than paid for itself over the course of a lifetime. Indeed, earnings premiums for low earners appear to be insensitive to unemployment conditions at graduation."

    So ignore the abysmal class of 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2011 employment stats. Ignore the silly BLS employment outlook for attorneys. Whether you are a minority attorney facing discrimination, a recent unemployed toilet grad, or a JD advantage grad putting your "skills" to use in lingerie sales, you will make an extra ONE MILLION DOLLARS over your lifetime! In fact, better to be a toilet grad because you will be the least likely to be impacted by an economic downturn.

    1. Scamkovic is nothing but a goddamn propagandist.


    On July 23, 2017, the Law School Truth Center featured an entry labeled "Asian-American Engineers Passing on Lucrative Career Doesn't Add Up." Look at the following segment:

    "The second story is Law School Admissions by College Major:

    The chart makes a strong case supporting the conventional wisdom that the GPAs from different college majors are not equivalent. Although French majors and mechanical engineering majors have the same average LSAT, the average GPA for French majors is more than 0.3 higher, which is an enormous difference in the tightly stratified world of law school admissions. The applicant with a 158 LSAT and a 3.25 GPA in mechanical engineering likely has similar prospects as an applicant with a 158 LSAT and a 3.55 in French, but the latter is probably more likely to be admitted to law school and receive a scholarship.

    This bias toward higher-GPA college majors creates several problems for law schools. The schools may end up admitting students who will not perform as well as others who were not admitted. In addition, schools miss out on students with science backgrounds who have strong employment prospects in areas such as patent prosecution.

    Obviously, high-scoring Asian-American STEM students are idiot savants. They could go into law, where they're doubly underrepresented. They could make so much money their distant ancestors would awake and cry with happiness at the blessings of corporatized postmodern western culture. Even the most culturally atavistic, conservative cousins across the Pacific will instantly be quoting Wall Street and buying each other Thomas Friedman books at Christmas.

    Instead, the Asian-American STEM student chooses to do "other things." Well, my Asian- and Asian-American friends, how about instead of shooting off real rockets of limited practical utility you blast through that legal sector glass ceiling?

    You can't cure cancer unless you secure the patents first, and need I remind you that no one - no one - solved Fermat's Last Theorem until after the jurisprudential breakthrough of Sony v. Universal City Studios (1984).

    Obviously, law schools do the situation no favors. Presumably under the belief that Asian-American STEM students don't need the benefits of a law degree as much as certain other non-whites, law schools have declined aggressively pursuing these particular marks."

    Still think that enrolling in a low-ranked sewer is a smart idea? If so, have fun repaying $160K in student loans - on a $44K salary in a non-law position.

  10. Discrimination is rampant in law. If you're 30 you're too old to be a biglaw associate. Regardless of your grades or acumen. Asians get it bad too even the ones at the best law skools.


    On July 23, 2017, the Los Angeles Times featured an op-ed, from Goodwin Liu, under the title "There are more Asian American lawyers than ever - but not in the top ranks." Read this portion:

    "A new study that a team of Yale law students and I co-authored, which included a national survey of more than 600 Asian American lawyers, found that Asian Americans identify lack of access to mentors and contacts as a primary barrier to career advancement. Notably, 95% of our survey respondents had no parent with a law degree. Law is unfamiliar terrain to many Asian American families, including mine. The first lawyer I ever met was my congressman, the late Robert T. Matsui, who sponsored me to be a page in the U.S. House of Representative. If it weren’t for Bob, I’m not sure I would have considered law or become a judge.

    In addition, over half of our survey respondents said they “sometimes” or “often” experience implicit discrimination in the workplace. Some reported incidents in which colleagues or court personnel did not recognize them as lawyers. Female attorneys, in particular, reported being mistaken in court for the translator, court reporter, paralegal, client or even a client’s girlfriend.

    Although Asian Americans are regarded as having the “hard skills” required for competent lawyering, they are often thought to lack “soft skills.” Our survey respondents said they are perceived as hard-working, responsible and careful, but not as empathetic, assertive or creative. Asian Americans are stereotypically the “worker bees” in law firms; many struggle in promotion processes that involve subjective criteria such as likability, gravitas and leadership potential. As one survey respondent said, “Somehow I am the only one staying back to cover the team assignments when the others went out for yoga and wine.”

    That is a sobering article. Still want to take the plunge? Connections and wealth trump hard work.

    1. The asians avoiding law school, and possibly college, are the smart ones for sure.

      They recognize it's a Club and like George Carlin said, they ain't in it..

      Frankly the article made me laugh. Likability, gravitas, leadership? What a complete bunch of bollocks.. Some "savage" Ashkenazi jew will spectacularly fail on all 3 counts by a mile (lol! "likability") but he's a part of The Club, socially, culturally, and genetically. And so, he's in like Flynn. So is Chet Buffington III and James Smithton the II, etc.

      I can't fault the smart Asian kids for avoiding the trap of law. Why shouldn't they stick to the areas they dominate and play to their strengths instead of their weaknesses? That's simple common sense.

      What strikes me is that the smart kids avoiding law, like the asians, do a cost-benefit analysis prior to making a decision but also do a soft analysis including social aspects as well.

      The ones avoiding law school recognize all the hard and soft problems, conclude it's a losing bet, and avoid it. Done. Over.

      On the scale of IQ, asians are the top 30 categories and sub-categories before you ever get to any whites. So in fact, the smartest people are avoiding law school.

      Well, that's unfortunate but don't expect "the profession" to change. It won't. It is quite adept at preserving the inequalities within itself and keeping the money at the top going to the "right people".


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