Law schools are gearing up for their first salvo of post-affirmative-action motions

Group of diverse multiethnic and multicultural people on top of each other.Diversity people.  Concept of teamwork, community and collaboration.  Diverse culture.  racial equality.  UnitWe are at the beginning of an answer to a very pressing question: How will law schools respond to the functional end of Affirmative Action? The SFFA vs. Harvard The decision makes it clear that race cannot be used as a factor in admissions, positively or not, in determining which prospective students will make the transition from applicant to acceptor… without directly prohibiting the student from Speaking about their race or how it has affected their lives, motivations and aspirations earn the Esquire title. How will students and universities manage this limit? The first step consists of modified essay questions. Once applications open on September 1st, schools will have a lot of material to sift through. From Reuters:

The Supreme Court’s June 29 ruling, effectively outlawing the affirmative action policy long used to increase the number of underrepresented minority students on campus, says essays and personal statements in which candidates discuss their race or origin are acceptable said Gisele Joachim, vice president of law school engagement at the Law School Admission Council.

The US Department of Education underscored this point on August 14 when it released new guidance for colleges and universities, clarifying that applicants are free to speak up about how their race has affected their lives.

Since the verdict, administrators and students have been upset. Should I remove my diversity statement? Should I apply at all? Luckily, schools have published their essay questions and are giving students plenty of opportunities to provide answers that will set them apart from the crowd of applicants. Questions like:

  • What does the rule of law mean to you and what particular background or experience do you have that can help you to contribute to its further development or that underscores its importance to you personally?

  • How has the world you came from positively influenced you today?

  • Please address any information without which you feel your application would be incomplete and which would shed more light on your unique potential to be successful in the JD program and to contribute to the university community and the specialty or profession.

These essay prompts were compiled by Mike Spivey from various schools. You can follow how different schools have changed their diversity and personal testimonies through his well-organized and updated blog.

It is probably still too early for celebrations to avert the crisis. Even if the essay prompts are superficially racially neutral, there are wealthy people who are ready and willing to sue any institution that has not tailored its licensing and employment practices to white men. The Harvard/UNC ruling is being used to threaten initiatives that seek to recruit women and applicants for law firms—hell, even law school students.

If admissions numbers for this wave of college applicants fall before classes collapse before positive action functionally repeals, expect litigation accusing schools of using “race to backdoor” proxies undesirable women and minorities in the classroom. However, you should proceed with caution; I doubt “civil rights” Republicans want the aftermath of their lawsuit to be too close to home — legacy recordings are already in jeopardy, after all.

Law school admissions essays revised after Supreme Court decision on affirmative action (Reuters)

Earlier: The steep path to ending Affirmative Action has moved to the next goal: Women and “Diversity Representatives”

Chris Williams became social media manager and assistant editor for Above the Law in June 2021. Before joining the team, he worked part-time as the underage Memelord™ in the Law School Memes Facebook group for Edgy T14s. He stayed in Missouri long enough to graduate from Washington University’s St. Louis School of Law. A former boat builder who can’t swim, he is a published author on critical racing theory, philosophy and humor, and has a fondness for cycling that occasionally annoys his peers. You can email him at and tweet at @WritesForRent.

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