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Noteworthy Briefs

Study Supports Michigan Law School’s Diversity Policies
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The Law School at the University of Michigan, which is under fire from a federal lawsuit challenging its race-sensitive admission policies, released a study last month  showing that there are few significant racial differences in the success rates of its graduates.
“We have long known that our admissions program works extremely well,” says Law School Dean Jeffrey Lehman. “But until this survey, the evidence was anecdotal, reflected in the experiences of individual graduates. Now we have powerful evidence that we are accomplishing our goal of preparing excellent attorneys who succeed in their careers and give back generously to the larger society.”
The study —  Doing Well and Doing Good: The Careers of Minority and White Graduates of the University of Michigan Law School, 1970-1996 — was conducted by Michigan law professors David Chambers and Richard Lempert and social science researcher Terry Adams. They surveyed all of the approximately 700 African Americans, 300 Latinos, and 60 Native Americans who graduated from the law school during a 27- year period and compared their achievements with those of a sample of over 900 White graduates from the same period.
The report says that more than 97 percent of minority graduates passed the bar of at least one state. The average incomes of those graduates in the 1970s and 1980s are well over $100,000 annually. And as a group, the graduates are satisfied with their careers and devote substantial time to community service — the entire group in private practice averaging more than 50 hours a year, with minorities averaging more than 100 hours a year.
Both the university and the law school are fighting federal lawsuits over its use of race in admissions. The lawsuits are on hold while a federal appeals court decides whether outside groups can intervene (see Black Issues, Jan. 21, 1999, and March 5, 1998).

Mississippi Universities Team Up to Improve Workforce Training
JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi State and Alcorn State universities have asked the state’s College Board to approve a joint academic program to improve workforce training.
The board was scheduled to meet in July. The two colleges want to team up to launch a master’s program in workforce education leadership. The degree will help administrative skills of professionals at Mississippi’s 15 public two-year colleges and others in rural areas around the nation, officials say.
“It is an area that is new and growing,” says College Board member Bill Crawford, an administrator at Meridian Community College. Mississippi State in Starkville and Alcorn State in Lorman “both bring a different perspective to the program,” Crawford says. “I’m excited about seeing them collaborating.”
The two colleges are seeking $412,774 for the first four years of the program. The funds would be divided equally between the two schools.

Regents Reject Law Schools at
Minority Institutions
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Rejecting impassioned pleas from students and Black and Hispanic lawmakers, the Florida Board of Regents voted last month to reject a request that they recommend new law schools for historically Black Florida A&M University and Hispanic-serving Florida International University.
Dr. Adam Herbert, University of Florida Chancellor, asked the board instead to push for a new program of pre-law scholarships and internships to increase access to law schools for minorities — something supporters of the new schools put forth as their goal. But Herbert said the question came down to a lack of two things — need and money.
“Access without need should not be the taxpayers’ burden but rather the individual’s responsibility,” Herbert said. “Florida can scarcely afford to fund fully every program request that is introduced, even if such programs have some merits.”
But the issue isn’t dead. The state Legislature has the ultimate say. And an angry Rep. Alex Villalobos (R-Miami) said not only will lawmakers introduce legislation to open and pay for the two schools, but he will be much more skeptical toward the regents when they come asking for money for other projects.
Both university president, FAMU’s Dr. Frederick S. Humphries and FIU’s Dr. Mitch Maidique, say if the start-up costs for law schools at their universities were too high, the schools would raise the money for that themselves.                                        

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