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The March 12 release of the 2000 U.S. Census reveals Texas’ minority population has grown from almost 39 percent to nearly 47 percent during the last decade. Texas’ law schools are not turning a blind eye to the changes. In fact, most are retooling their efforts to build diverse faculties to reflect these demographic shifts. “I think five years ago we did much less aggressive recruiting,” says W. Frank Newton, dean of Texas Tech University School of Law. “We used to be content with people who’d declared they were interested in teaching and wanted jobs.” With only 15 percent of its faculty comprised of minorities, Texas Tech has a way to go to reach the 50 percent mark Newton sees as optimal. So the school is on the offensive. Five years ago, the school looked for minority candidates in the American Association of Law Schools Faculty Recruitment Guide, but Newton says that wasn’t producing a satisfactory number of minority candidates. “That’s when we began looking at people who hadn’t even declared their interest,” he says. “That’s been successful.” Using only the AALS services is fast becoming pass�, according to at least three Texas deans, two minority recruitment experts and Sandra S. Yamate, director of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession. The AALS is a nonprofit organization of 164 law schools that works to improve the legal profession through education. Every year the AALS publishes a directory of candidates interested in teaching and a placement directory that advertises positions for candidates. It also holds a faculty recruitment conference in Washington, D.C., where law school recruiters can interview prospective candidates. Yamate says schools that rely on the annual AALS conference to get minorities on their faculty are probably not doing enough to diversify. “Sometimes you have extremely talented lawyers who may not necessarily be plugged in yet,” she says, adding that some minority lawyers are still learning how to get into academia. “It hasn’t been the most traditional way for minorities to go.” The AALS services — commonly referred to as “the meat market” — are considered a good starting point, says Nancy B. Rapoport, dean of the University of Houston Law Center, but she stresses that if you limit your faculty search to the meat market “you miss some good people.” UH employs 13 percent minority faculty. John C. Brittain agrees: “You can’t just rely on what’s known as �the meat market,’ ” says Brittain, dean of Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law, which has a 76 percent minority faculty. “ That is generally considered just the first step.” Even UT law, which hovers at the bottom of the heap with 8 percent of its faculty being minority, is pulling away from dependence on the AALS. “We used to rely very heavily on the AALS going back seven or eight years,” says Dean William “Bill” C. Powers. “Now we look more proactively both to teachers at other schools and people in practice.” One expert’s studies show that those searching for teaching positions through the AALS don’t always get picked up by the best schools either. Deborah J. Merritt conducted a series of studies from 1986 to 1991 on issues related to race and equality applied to law faculties. She says her research shows “for a scientific fact” that candidates who use the AALS “meat market” to get work as law professors end up at less prestigious schools than those who became professors via other connections. The more prestigious schools are hiring people based on strong word-of-mouth references from professors, other word-of-mouth references, letters and simple networking, says Merritt, who with Harvard sociology Professor Barbara Reskin authored “Sex, Race and Credentials: The Truth About Affirmative Action in Law Faculty Hiring,” which was published in the March 1997 Columbia Law Review. Even so, at least two of Texas’ law schools still put a lot of faith in the AALS to recruit minority faculty — South Texas College of Law in Houston, which has a 13 percent minority faculty and Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law in Dallas, which has 20 percent minority faculty. “The formal interviewing process [at the AALS conference] works best,” says Dean Frank T. Read of South Texas College of Law, which has a 13 percent minority faculty. When asked about other recruitment efforts, Read says, “That is pretty active, we send a team of six people to the AALS conference.” SMU law school Dean John B. Attanasio acknowledges that his school uses contacts at law schools and works to some degree with the ethnic bar associations in town .“But that’s not the way we recruit minority faculty,” he adds. But the majority of national schools don’t seem to be following SMU’s lead. “There is a widespread misperception that most entry-level law school faculty members are hired through the AALS Faculty Appointments Register Process,” wrote Richard A. White in the March 1996 AALS newsletter. “In fact, in recent years, only about half of new assistant and associate professors have obtained their positions through the Register.” White’s words hold true today. According to Carl C. Monk, executive director of the AALS, during the last five years only 42 percent to 56 percent of all new law professors were listed with the AALS in the year prior to getting their job. And AALS numbers show minorities comprised only 21.1 percent of the candidates in the 1999-2000 AALS Register. OTHER OPTIONS Pointing to these percentages, Michael A. Olivas, a University of Houston law professor who works with law schools nationwide to help integrate Hispanics into their faculties, asks this question: If only half the new hires are coming out of the AALS, why would a law school think that’s where the minorities are? “That’s like going to the NCAA finals and saying, ‘I’m only going to look here,’ ” comments Olivas. Baylor’s faculty has only 4 percent minorities, the lowest number for a law school in Texas. But Dean Bradley J.B. Toben says minority recruitment efforts at the school go beyond the AALS services. He says the school solicits minorities working in private practice. That, he says, is how they got Patricia Wilson, their lone minority faculty member, on board. But Toben says solicitation hasn’t worked — except with Wilson. The school has no formal cooperation with ethnic bar associations, he says, but “from time to time we receive correspondence from them.” “Minority faculty candidates are sought very vigorously by law schools across the nation,” he says. “And I believe there’s a limited number of potential candidates that might be available at any given time.” Asked what she would do if she were a dean at a law school like Baylor that had only one minority faculty member out of 21, Merritt says, “I wouldn’t say there aren’t enough applicants.” Merritt says she’d call the top law schools and ask not only for the people who are interested in teaching, but also for the names of people in private practice who are outstanding. She’d look at programs that provide fellowships for minority graduates interested in teaching and also would look at herself and wonder whether she was unconsciously devaluing the credentials of minorities during the interviewing process, she says. At Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, Dean I. Richard Gershon says he does not rely principally on the AALS to do minority hiring. TWU has a 15 percent minority faculty. Gershon says he works with ethnic bar associations such as the Mexican American Bar Association and others “that are predominant in our area.” Wesleyan is in Fort Worth. He also says the school does word-of-mouth recruiting. While Baylor says it engages in active recruiting beyond the AALS services, Olivas doesn’t think it is going about recruitment correctly because it never has employed a Hispanic law professor. Baylor was on his 1999-2000 “Dirty Dozen List.” [ See "El Padrino De Los Profesores,"in this package.] “I certainly appreciate Professor Olivas’ observation,” says Toben. “I hope that he would be in recognition of the fact that our not having Hispanic faculty members is certainly not for lack of trying.” “If you are a dean of a law school in Texas and you don’t have a Latino on your staff, you ought to be ashamed of yourself,” alleges Olivas. St. Mary’s University School of Law has a 20 percent minority faculty. Dean William “Bill” Piatt Jr., one of only two Hispanic law school deans in the country, personally assists with the recruitment at his school. He does heavy word-of-mouth minority recruiting, making telephone calls, sending letters and getting referrals from practitioners, in addition to using the AALS faculty recruitment services. Olivas will praise a school’s undertaking to diversify its faculty only if it can show a high yield, not just a valiant effort. He’s even critical of his own school. Although UH made offers to three minorities this year, he considers the year a failure because no minority accepted a position. It’s getting faculty in front of students that counts, he says. “Students are going to have a richer law school experience if they’re not taught by everyone who went to the same school in the same town, who look alike and have the same values,” says Barry A. Currier, deputy consultant on legal education at the ABA. Being taught by a diverse faculty “gives you a window on the kinds of concerns your clients are going to have.” BEYOND RACE For many administrators, diversification of law school faculties only along racial lines is not enough. “Diversity isn’t just race and gender,” Currier says. “It’s life experience, it’s where people come from, how broadly they’ve traveled, what sorts of work experiences they’ve had — it’s all the things they bring to the classroom through which the information they’re teaching is filtered.” Similarly, Rapoport’s “dream team” faculty would not only be racially diverse, but also would have a mix of people from different ends of the political spectrum. If people can’t cross partisan lines at a law school, “society is doomed,” she says. Rapoport says UH is moderate “but most faculties are probably liberal and I don’t want to be in a position where only one viewpoint is heard. My dream team would have some liberals, some conservatives, some people of color and others who are not of color.” The ABA’s Yamate agrees with Rapoport’s views on integrating a law faculty along various political lines. Yamate’s idea of an ideal law faculty would have not only a lot of racial, ethnic and gender diversity, but also economic and experiential diversity, she says. Just having minorities from all affluent backgrounds with no tie into their cultural heritage is no more effective than having a monochromatic faculty. “I think it’s even more important in some ways for nonminorities to see minorities at the head of the classroom,” she says. “When you’re learning from someone who has greater knowledge or expertise than you, it’s an opportunity to see that person and others like them in a new way.” So which schools in Texas really need work in order to diversify their faculty? “Every school in Texas needs to do better, including my own,” says Olivas. But Texas’ law schools can’t just expect minorities to show up at their door. First they have to admit that there’s a problem, he says. “Hiring minority faculty is the same as hiring any faculty — you just have to look harder.” Related Chart: Minority Faculty at Texas Law Schools

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