Sunday, September 26, 2004

Non-Minority Males Run the AALS Gantlet

In a post yesterday I began to offer some data indicating that non-minority male candidates for law teaching jobs suffer discriminatory treatment. I’ll offer some more and better data here. As before, all the data comes from the American Association of Law Schools’ Statistical Report on Law School Faculty And Candidates for Law Faculty Positions (2002-03), which compares how candidates listed in its Faculty Appointments Register did in landing law school teaching jobs from the 1990-91 hiring season to the 2001-02 one.

The most on-point data comes from Table 7E of that document (go here and scroll down to Table 7E). In brief, that data shows that in all but two (1995-96 and 1997-98) of those twelve hiring seasons, men non-minority candidates fared worse than all other categories of candidates. In the first of those two exceptional years, 1995-96, non-minority women did worse than non-minority men. In the second, 1997-98, a very small group of minority women candidates (only 67) did worse than a typically large group of non-minority men (382). In another hiring season, 1999-2000, non-minority women candidates did just as badly as non-minority men candidates.

For the usual good reasons, averages prove most probative. Averaging over the twelve hiring seasons, non-minority men plainly did much worse than any other category of candidate reported in Table 7E. Here’s the data in tabular form:

Composition and Success Rates of FAR Candidates,
1990-91 to 2001-02

All Candidates Successful Candidates

Category # Cat. % # Cat. % Success %

Minority Women 772 7.6 135 10.3 17.5
Minority Men 1072 10.5 185 14.1 17.3
Non-Minority Women 2687 26.3 373 28.4 13.9
Non-Minority Men 5694 55.7 620 47.2 10.9

Standing alone, that data, however facially damning, would not prove that non-minority men candidates for law teaching jobs suffered racial or sexual discrimination. From a statistical point of view, we would in addition need to run a regression analysis to show that those candidates were at least as well qualified as their counterparts. The AALS study offers no data on that front, though I am willing to bet that it could prepare a report if asked. Such a report could base candidate credentials on class ranking or law review participation, both of which offer fairly objective measures of academic success. It might also use somewhat less objective measures such as rank of degree-granting school, advanced degrees, and clerkships. The FAR forms contain all that data in searchable fields, so I assume the AALS could pull up the data. For present, all I can say is that I strongly doubt that non-minority male candidates for law teaching jobs tout significantly worse credentials than any other class of candidates.

From a legal and ethical point of view, the case that non-minority males suffered racial or sexual discrimination in seeking law teaching jobs would prove much stronger if backed with evidence that someone intended to disfavor them. I’ve already pointed out that the AALS search engine facilitates such discrimination, though it would remain to prove that someone actually used that search engine so as to deliberately ignore non-minority male candidates.

Other evidence of intentional discrimination might exist too, such as the rejection letter I once got, when I was interviewing for law teaching jobs, frankly admitting that, while I was in all other respects a desirable candidate, my would-be employer felt compelled to add racial diversity to its faculty. I think that the letter’s writer meant to make me feel good. I ended up feeling good and mad. In retrospect, however, I appreciate the all-too-rare admission that I had been denied an equal opportunity to win employment.

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