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In response to President Clinton’s “Call to Action” for the legal profession to become more diverse and place more of an emphasis on pro bono work, a group of lawyers, judges, corporate counsel, academics and bar association officials called Lawyers for One America on Monday submitted a report to the White House calling for reforms on both counts. Called “Bar None: the Report to the President of the United States on the Status of People of Color and Pro Bono Services in the Legal Profession,” the report encourages law firms and corporate legal departments to pursue racial diversity and increase the number of lawyers of color through voluntary hiring and retention goals. It also encourages the legal profession to object to the publication of law school rankings on any basis, including rankings on mathematical formulae and/or reputation. It argues that these weights have been found to be arbitrary and that they overlook excellent schools. “Many schools are now trying to give the proper weighting but a lot of them are too concerned with their rankings [in publications such as U.S. News & World Report],” said Teveia Barnes, the executive director of Lawyers for One America (LFOA). “A lot of those rankings are based on LSATs. So the pressure on the schools is twofold. They get it from the media, and they also get it from students and parents who are deciding where to go to law school, based on the rankings.” Barnes said the report determined that LSATs disproportionately affect minority students in a negative fashion because they are less likely than their white counterparts to have the money to take preparation courses that lead to better scores. “We’re not saying, ‘Don’t look at LSATs,’ ” she said. “ Just give them their proper weight. Look at the other things going on in these students’ lives. Are they working two jobs and going to college? Are they supporting a family? What kind of leadership skills, communication abilities or writing abilities do they have?” Villanova Law School Dean Mark Sargent said he believes rankings such as U.S. News & World Report‘s have a distorting effect on potential students selecting their schools and also create pressure from alumni and donors to improve their place in what he believes is a fundamentally flawed ranking system. “We are more sensitive to LSATs because if the mean is higher we can avoid being browbeaten by students and alums,” Sargent said. “But in the end, rankings like that are bad for everyone. But I think the impact on racial admissions is unclear. For us, there is no impact. But for a school in the top 20, they really stress LSATs, so they have fewer minority students. In general, though, I think most schools are extremely eager to attract more minority students. There’s just not a large pool of them applying.” LFOA was formed after President Clinton issued his “Call to Action” at the White House on July 20, 1999. Specifically, the president asked the bar to address two areas of benefit to people of color: to increase the diversity of the legal profession at all levels and to increase pro bono resources and use the bar’s legal skills to help minority communities advance economically. Law firms and corporations are urged to establish concrete, quantifiable pro bono standards of between 3 percent and 5 percent of an attorney’s billable hours, or roughly 60 to 100 pro bono hours per attorney each year. The 133-page report recommends 28 different reforms and commitments for corporations, law firms, law schools and associations to bridge socioeconomic and racial divides and prevent lawyers from losing touch with their communities. According to the report, the legal profession is a symbol of exclusivity rather than empowerment — more than 90 percent of practicing lawyers and 80 percent of those currently enrolled in law school are white, and there is a relatively low retention level of minority law students. The bar association in San Francisco, Calif., where LFOA and Barnes are based, has introduced new recruitment and retention goals for the next 10 years. The plan includes incremental increases each year until 2010, when the San Francisco Bay Area’s minority population is expected to reach 57 percent; the goal is for lawyers of color to compose 18 percent of partners and 40 percent of associates. In Philadelphia, an independent steering committee led by Duane Morris & Heckscher partner Nolan Atkinson and Sunoco associate general counsel Jonathan Waller has looked into local firms’ minority recruitment and retention procedures. The committee held a workshop earlier this year that included representatives from all factions of the local legal community. At last Thursday’s Philadelphia Bar Association’s board of governors’ meeting, the committee will present a report filled with recommendations to increase the low number of minority lawyers working at the city’s law firms. Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll’s Charisse Lillie, who was apprised of developments by LFOA members because of her role as chair of the ABA’s commission on racial and ethnic diversity in the profession, said local and state bar associations will eventually have to be the engines for change in this area. “This [report] is really important because while the ABA and some state and local bar associations have initiated their own programming, a presidential initiative carries with it a little more weight,” Lillie said. “I would anticipate this filtering down to local and state bar associations, which can really effect change with these issues.” Among other LFOA recommendations are measures for the legal profession to create and support a national program offering law school scholarships for more minority students to attend law school. The suggested national program would establish a not-for-profit enterprise committed to increasing the number of minority lawyers in the profession and creating a program offering scholarships to enable more people of color to attend law school. Additionally, the report encourages state and federal judges — including the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court — to increase the number of minority clerks to more accurately reflect the communities they serve. In that spirit, Lillie said, the ABA commission will roll out a new program at its January meeting that gives more minority students access to judges. “It’s in response to the small number of [minority] judicial clerks,” Lillie said. “It allows the judges to become more familiar with minority law students, and it gives the students exposure to the idea of clerking for a judge, which many of them never thought about doing before.” During the past year, LFOA made monthly reports to the White House and the Department of Justice on the progress of the president’s “One America” initiative within the legal profession. Participating organizations in the LOFA collaboration include the American Bar Association; the American Corporate Counsel Association; the Association of American Law Schools; the Hispanic National Bar Association; the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association; the Native American Bar Association; the National Bar Association; the Pro Bono Institute; and other lawyers from law firms, corporations, bar associations, civil rights organizations and law schools. Sponsors of the program include Lexis Publishing; Morrison & Foerster; Levick Strategic Communications; Wells Fargo Foundation; Cisco Systems Inc.; Bell South Corp.; Bank of America Foundation; and American Lawyer Media, publisher of The Legal Intelligencer. LOFA has a Web site located at http://www.lawyersforoneamerica.org/. The Lawyers for One America’s “Bar None” Report recommends: DIVERSITY � That the legal profession create a national not-for-profit enterprise committed to increasing the number of lawyers of color in all sectors of the profession. � That bar associations make diversity a top priority, including their boards of directors, committee chairs, and officers. � That the legal profession create a national program offering scholarships to enable more people of color to attend law school. � That law firms and corporations adopt specific voluntary percentage goals for hiring, retaining and promoting lawyers of color within their organizations. ACCESS TO JUSTICE � That law firms and corporate employers of lawyers establish concrete, quantifiable goals for pro bono services. � That law schools make available to all law students opportunities that expose them to the legal needs of under-served communities. � That law schools develop loan forgiveness programs for students who commit to serve under-served communities of color.

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