Advancing Law School Diversity To Be Focus of Panel Discussion

Participants to include leading scholars, experts involved in Supreme Court case

Release Date: February 19, 2004 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Experts who participated in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case on affirmative action in law school admissions will be joined by leading scholars of diversity in higher education for the 2004 Mitchell Lecture of the University at Buffalo Law School. This panel discussion will examine innovative proposals for enhancing diversity in American law schools.

"Who Gets In? The Quest for Diversity After Grutter" will be held from 3-5:30 p.m. March 8 in 106 John Lord O'Brian Hall on the UB North (Amherst) Campus. It will be free and open to the public.

Law school admissions decisions have a profound impact on the legal profession and on America's social and political institutions. Deciding "who gets in" is an important, but complex social act. The recent Supreme Court decision in Grutter v. Bollinger, a case that questioned the University of Michigan Law School's admissions process, noted that diversity in the admissions process provides a critical benefit to all participants in legal education and to the legal profession as a whole.

The Mitchell Lecture panel discussion will offer differing perspectives on diversity and merit in law school admissions. Panelists will point to new strategies for achieving diversity and will assess the likelihood that such strategies actually may be implemented. They also will draw connections between law school admissions decisions and recent changes in legal practice and the legal profession.

The panelists will be:

David L. Chambers, Wade H. McCree, Jr., Collegiate Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan Law School. A member of the Michigan law faculty for 34 years, he recently co-authored "Minority Law Graduates in Practice," a comprehensive study of the careers of white and minority graduates of the Michigan Law School. The study received the Distinguished Article award from the Law and Sociology section of the American Sociological Association. From 1999 to 2001 Chambers served as a co-chair of the Association of American Law Schools' Task Force on Diversity in Admissions. Noted for his work on the legal profession and family law, he is the author of "Making Fathers Pay," an empirical inquiry into the enforcement of child support. Chambers is past president of the Society of American Law Teachers and served on the AALS executive committee.

Charles E. Daye, Henry Brandis Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. When he joined the UNC faculty in 1972, Daye became its first African-American tenure-track professor. He served as dean of the North Carolina Central University School of Law from 1981-85 before returning to the UNC law faculty. Daye was president of the Law School Admission Council in the early 1990s, and contributed to major LSAC reports on affirmative action, diversity and test use in law school admissions. Daye has published widely on housing and community development, torts, law school admissions, black lawyers and other legal topics. He has given extensive pro bono and leadership service to national, state and local organizations and to the university and law school.

Margaret E. Montoya, professor at the University of New Mexico School of Law. She was a witness for the student defendant-intervenors in Grutter v. Bollinger. Montoya and her students also filed an amicus curiae brief arguing that New Mexico's urgent need to provide legal services to underserved populations creates a compelling state interest that justifies consideration of race in law school admissions. Montoya has published widely in the field of critical race theory. Past president of the Society of American Law Teachers and currently a member of its board of governors, she is chair of the Diversity Committee for the Law and Society Association. This academic year, she is interim director of the Southwest Hispanic Research Institute. Before joining the New Mexico law faculty, Montoya was associate university counsel for employment practices.

Marjorie M. Shultz, professor at University of California at Berkeley School of Law. She is a co-author of the recently published "Whitewashing Race: The Myth of a Color-Blind Society." With Sheldon Zedeck of Berkeley's psychology department, Shultz is a principal investigator in a five-year research project that seeks to identify and develop predictors of effectiveness in lawyering that could be used in law school admissions decisions. In 2000, she received the Society of American Law Teachers' Achievement Award for her contributions to legal education and equality. Shultz also has written many articles on medical research, informed consent and health-care law, as well as commentaries on the intersection of contracts, feminism and family issues. She frequently consults on issues in health-care law and ethics for hospitals, medical groups, health-industry organizations and national policy agencies.

Frank H. Wu, who testified as an expert witness in the Grutter case, is professor of law at Howard University and adjunct professor at Columbia University. He has written and lectured extensively on issues of race, justice and the law. In 2002, Wu published Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White, a Kiriyama Prize notable book. He is also co-author of "Race, Rights and Reparation: Law and the Japanese American Internment." Author of more than 200 articles in the professional and popular press, Wu has made many media appearances. In 2001-02, he served as chair of the District of Columbia Human Rights Commission. He is a member of the Committee of 100, a civic group that promotes Asian-American political participation, and a trustee of Gallaudet University, the only university primarily for deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

The Mitchell Lecture Series was endowed in 1950 by a gift from Lavinia A. Mitchell, in memory of her husband, James McCormick Mitchell. An 1897 graduate of the UB Law School, Mitchell later served as chair of the Council of the University of Buffalo, which was then a private university. Justice Robert H. Jackson delivered the first Mitchell Lecture in 1951, titled "Wartime Security and Liberty Under Law." The lecture was published that year in the first issue of the Buffalo Law Review.

Mitchell Lecture programs have brought many distinguished speakers to the UB Law School, including C. Edwin Baker, Derrick Bell, Barry Cushman, Carol Gilligan, Elizabeth Holtzman, Stewart Macauley, Catherine McKinnon, Carrie Menkel-Meadow, Richard Posner and Clyde Summers.

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