New York Bar Associations Encourage Law Schools To Bypass SCOTUS Affirmative Action Decision, Report Finds
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 29: Anti-affirmative action activists with the Asian American Coalition for Education protest outside the U.S. Supreme Court Building on June 29, 2023 in Washington, DC. In a 6-3 vote, Supreme Court Justices ruled that race-conscious admissions programs at Harvard and the University of North Carolina are unconstitutional, setting precedent for affirmative action in other universities and colleges.
Credit: Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images.

New York bar associations are encouraging law firms and schools to bypass the Supreme Court‘s landmark ruling overturning affirmative action and implement racial preferences for admissions, according to a new report. 

The American Bar Association (ABA), the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA), and the New York City Bar Association (NYCBA) all appear to tell law schools to “ignore” the Supreme Court’s decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, the Manhattan Institute reported on Thursday. The associations, writes researcher Renu Mukherjee, are advising schools to use methods that appear to be race-neutral, but are meant to still select for race.

“Law schools, for instance, are advised to continue granting admissions preferences to black and Hispanic applicants using methods that are race-neutral in theory but race-conscious in practice,” Mukherjee wrote. “Meanwhile, law firms are advised to simply continue their use of affirmative action; the bar associations suggest that because Students for Fair Admissions considered this policy only within the context of university admissions, the decision is inapplicable to employment.”

In the wake of the SCOTUS decision, the NYSBA recommended that universities evaluate race through means of “a non-racial goal or value being pursued by the university,” as well as to document race for “research and evaluation purposes,” the report found. It also recommended using low socioeconomic status, first-generation immigrant status, geographic location, or some kind of percentage plan as other admission factors.

Schools are also encouraged to end early admission policies to align with “broader institutional diversity and equity goals” as well as consider removing standardized testing measures like the LSAT from admission considerations. These recommendations came from a 93-page report produced by the NYSBA Task Force on Advancing Diversity released after the SCOTUS decision to overturn affirmative action for admission into schools.

The report noted that there were some race-neutral pipeline programs been developed and supported by the bar associations to help those from low and middle-income families get into the legal profession with tutoring, standardized test preparation, and mentoring.


When asked if some pipeline programs might not be available for use by a group like white males, Mukherjee told The Daily Wire that if they did take race into account they “would be illegal and thus face challenge.” She added that the programs should be “open to ALL students, not just blacks and Hispanics.”

“Race-based scholarships and corporate diversity fellowships are merely affirmative action by another name,” the report said. “They suggest that individuals should be accepted by law schools or be hired in Big Law on account of skin color, as opposed to merit. In contrast, pipeline programs that offer academic support, test prep, mentoring, and career development opportunities prepare marginalized students to go toe-to-toe with their better-resourced peers; they provide these students with a sense of agency and accountability over their futures.”

Last month, the Wisconsin State Bar Association amended its definition of “diversity” for first-year law student clerk internship after it was sued by a conservative group that said the bar was discriminating against students based on race and sexual identity.

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