THE PLANK MAY 27, 2009
A large Washington law
firm-Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge-has been forced to apologize
to a Yale Law School senior after a student-faculty tribunal found one
of its partners had asked her "discriminatory" questions focusing on
her being a Puerto Rican.
The tribunal found the
questions, asked during a recruiting dinner, violated Yale rules
against discrimination. The questions, according to the tribunal,
included: 'Do law firms do a disservice by hiring minority students who
the firms know do not have the necessary credentials and will then fire
in three to four years? Would I have been admitted to the law school if
I were not a Puerto Rican? Was I culturally deprived?"
a letter of apology this week, Shaw Pittman's senior parnter, Ramsay D.
Potts, called the questions by Martin Krall "insensitive and
regrettable", and acknowledged "they may have had a chilling effect on
the firm's recruitment of minorities and other students.
But Potts said that neither the firm nor Krall had "discriminatory motives or intent."
Krall asked the questions of Sonia Sotomayor
de Noonan, a resident of the Bronx, N.Y., who had graduated from
Princetown before going to Yale Law, during a dinner in New Haven Oct.
2 with several other Yale students.
Then again, maybe Goldfarb will argue that Shaw Pittman's apology itself is evidence of preferential treatment.
Update: I should have known better. Goldfarb actually does believe the Shaw Pittman incident represents preferential treatment:
Not only was Sotomayor offered the job, which she turned down in
protest, but she received an apology from the law firm for questions
she complained were inappropriate -- a complaint that led to the
formation of "student-faculty tribunal."
I'm at a loss for words. On a related note, I was having an email debate yesterday with someone about whether we here at TNR wrote articles in the hope that conservatives would cite them with the hoary old "Even the liberal New Republic argues. . . . " I don't think that's been the case for a while now, for a number of reasons, but one of the most obvious ones is: the conservative movement is in such a shambles these days that there are only a handful of conservative pundits out there whom you'd want citing your work. Believe me, getting a thumbs up from Michael Goldfarb or Mark Steyn is not the sort of thing that brightens your day.--Jason Zengerle