March 15, 2006

Why Won't They Let Me In?

by Armen

No I'm not talking about clubs in Vegas, but actually this press release on behalf of an Army captain who thinks he is being denied admission to law schools because he served in Iraq. The key sentence is: "While having average and/or below average grades and LSAT scores..."

I'm never too fond of anyone with a sense of entitlement. This is just a perversion of the previous kid who thought he deserved to get in everywhere b/c of his numbers. Except this one wants schools to overlook the numbers and admit him for his valor. The United States government has a perfectly well-established process for awarding valor. A seat in Civ Pro is not one of them.

March 15, 2006 05:00 PM | TrackBack
Comments

My CivPro classes often seemed as long as the Iraq War.

Posted by: KipEsquire at March 15, 2006 06:22 PM

The letter from Nussbaum's attorney states:

"I respectfully submit to you for decades, due to sympathy, legislative pressure and case law, quotas and considerations were utilized for minority and handicapped student acceptance and entrance, to your institution and others throughout the United States, to place those "less fortunate", under equal footing. I respectfully submit to you, now is the time regardless of your views of the war, to help place all the incredible "Mark Nussbaums" in our country at equal footing. Reward four (4) years of risking his life, protecting you and I with a small insignificant dream in the scope of it all, entrance and graduation in Law school".
I like how the attorney doesn't bother stopping at his request for admission. He goes all the way and asks for graduation too. Why not just ask for an honorary degree? That would be much simpler.
The attorney has one thing right though. Admitting someone into law school is more like putting him "under equal footing" than on it.
Nice advocacy, huh? Through his sloppy prose, Nussbaum's attorney even manages to trivialize Nussbaum's desire to attend law school, calling it "a small insignificant dream in the scope of it all". That certainly sends a powerful message to the admissions committees.
I guess real attorneys don't take jobs like this.

Posted by: Beau at March 16, 2006 05:27 PM

C'mon. New York Law School would admit an illerate homosexual Native American with 6 felony convictions before they'd admit a soldier.

I think there is nothing wrong with this letter. This is the 4th blog I've seen this letter on tonight, and I am quite sure if it were a black student trying to get admitted, and the lawyer listed a whole bunch of raced-based junk no one you would dare criticize it.

Posted by: Brian at March 18, 2006 03:03 AM

Yeah you got me. The grammar is tip top. I hate soldiers. And I eat Belgian babies. Any other powers of persuasion? If I took you seriously for a split second I'd say something along the lines of, "umm see the linked post about the kid who had the academic credentials but was complaining about denials of admission. [at least that one didn't think he was entitled to graduation]."

Posted by: Armen at March 18, 2006 04:34 AM

I am ashamed of the actions of CPT Nussbaum. When he took his oath he promised to serve the nation selflessly. The oath specifically states: "I will never use my position or rank to gain favor or a place of priviledge over others." That is exactly what this letter is asking. Shame on this CPT for tarnishing his valorous service.

Posted by: Army2Law at March 18, 2006 11:17 AM

"The United States government has a perfectly well-established process for awarding valor. A seat in Civ Pro is not one of them."

I don't think your criticisms are entirely fair. While I do think its silly that someone would go as far as securing an attorney to challenge a rejection from a school that wasnt behaving arbitrarily or capriciously, I think there is some point where law schools can be justly criticized for playing fast and loose with people's expectations. According to your logic neither the person with high test scores and good grades nor the one with a diverse background should ever expect to get in anywhere. But I think that law schools are doing something wrong when, in an effort to bring their applicant numbers up, they target people they have no intention of admitting with promotional material (be it a letter or a fee waiver) whose LSAT's are just high enough for them to take the law school seriously. This backlash, in my opinion, is richly deserved.

Posted by: Chris at March 18, 2006 05:36 PM

Chris, I think you're mischaracterizing my criticisms. I think it's absolutely fair to criticize the admissions practices of law schools. But this must be done with the understanding that each law school has a right to decide on its own student body (within applicable limits of course). To that end, if a T2 school doesn't want to admit the 4.0 180 candidate, I see no problems with that. Similarly, if no accredited school wants to admit an Army officer who apparently has nothing going for himself other than his prior work experience, then again, I see no problems with that either. My beef is with the mindset that somehow a candidate is entitled to admissions (even if you combine the two in question into a single applicant, I'd still have the same view).

But then that might raise some issues about admissions practices now wouldn't it?

Posted by: Armen at March 18, 2006 07:46 PM

New York Law School would admit an illerate [sic] homosexual Native American with 6 felony convictions before they'd admit a soldier.

1) Generally speaking, New York Law has a lower standard of admissions than NYU Law.

2) I have former, current and future military personnel for both classmates and professors, at a school where the faculty filed a brief against the Solomon Amendment. Law schools can disagree with military policy while being happy to admit and hire veterans.

3) Including ones who are -- ohmigod -- queer.

Posted by: PG at March 19, 2006 09:24 AM

Yeah I agree that NYU law would rather accept a homosexual than someone who has sacrificed their life for this country. Good job NYU for having "great" standards...if Mark did get accepted, I hope he turned it down because he deserves a lot better than the shitty treatment that you guys gave him...I hope you all fail at life.

Posted by: Bob at January 12, 2007 10:01 PM

The issue at hand is not one of entitlement but one of discrimination. The CPT has the same qualifications of many others who are recieving their diplomas from NY law schools. He is not better. He is not worse. He is equal. Unfortunatley, the popular views of the Iraq war have infiltrated the opinions of admissions officers at our nations top law schools. Those in these positions are there because they are vocal and opinionated. This is not a bad thing. However, these opinions need to be fair and balanced. A person who does an outstanding job in the task assigned to him or her needs to be rewarded. The leaders of our soldiers are still leaders. The CPT needs to be given the credit deserved. He should not be discriminated against because he has fought a war that was pushed upon him.

Posted by: Jill at January 12, 2007 10:10 PM

Jill and Bob,

Nussbaum's attorney doesn't seem to have learned much in law school. One data point is not sufficient for an allegation of systemic discrimination. Notice that when lawsuits challenging affirmative action are brought, they generally have multiple plaintiffs who claim racial discrimination, not just one pissy guy. For Nussbaum to make such a claim stick, he would need either to show that these schools systemically discriminate against veterans of the Iraq war (a difficult claim to make stick, given that I personally know people who have served in Iraq who have been admitted to top law schools), or he would have to get evidence of discrimination in his specific case. Such evidence could come in the form of a memo stuck on his application that said, "Bleh, Iraq vet!" or someone who was in the admissions committee room during their deliberations who could testify that there was bias against him.

Posted by: PG at January 15, 2007 09:41 PM

I was also an army officer in Iraq, and I just got into NYU Law '10. Maybe someone needs to do better on his LSAT or just go to Brooklyn.

Posted by: Gavin at May 8, 2007 05:46 PM
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