Phi Beta Cons

Re: Affirmative-Action Fantasy

I was in law school quite a long time ago (30 years), but I have a very hard time seeing what benefit there is in turning each class into a “lively discussion.” What limited value there is in law school — which I have come to see as principally a barrier to entry designed to limit competition in the market for legal services — is in learning from professors who are experts in their particular fields. Why pay a small fortune to sit around and listen to other students talk about their opinions on how the law ought to be? There are many places where someone who is interested in divergent opinions about the law (and better-informed ones) can go if he is interested in hearing them.
Furthermore, I doubt that UVA law-school classes really exhibit much of that “lively discussion.” Do courses on, oh, civil procedure or evidence generate it? Is there any more “lively discussion” in classes that have “diversity” than in those where the students who have enrolled are mostly of “the same” background? I doubt it very much.
We hear lots of chatter about the supposed educational benefits of “diversity,” but I submit that it’s designed to obscure the fact that it doesn’t really accomplish anything.

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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