A new racial discrimination suit brought against Troutman Pepper turns on the question: maybe the partner was an equal opportunity asshole? After allegedly never receiving negative reviews, an associate changed bosses and began receiving feedback the plaintiff deemed as “dehumanizing” before getting terminated.
Putting aside whether the partner or the firm engaged in discrimination in this case, the matter provides a jumping off point for a number of interesting discussions about the nature of mentorship and feedback, the repercussions of working from home on attorney development and soft learning, and whether or not it’s ever appropriate or professional to be a complete prick.
What it does not do is spark a conversation about the LSAT.
Wait. Why is the LSAT trending on Twitter?
Every 10 or 11 months, Ted Frank does something egregiously stupid and we have to write about it. Frank is an attorney whose half-hearted PR tells the world he’s “defending the interests of class action victims against greedy lawyers” when he’s actually trying to make it economically infeasible for classes to EVER receive a recovery. He hollers like a hit dog when you point this out as if his perfect LSAT score (this obsession matters) means no one could ever crack his clever pretense. As it turns out, going to NYU Law on a slightly less than perfect score because you were drunk DURING the test is more than enough to peer through his not-opaque-at-all ruse.
Then he and his acolytes bombard our mentions for three days about how he “lives rent-free” in my head before we forget he exists for the better part of another year. The circle of life!
Apparently, he’s emerged from his hibernation, dreaming of a world where Boeing can build screen doors on airplanes and no law firm will get paid to sue, to spout some nonsense about this case.
How does this guy making everything about the LSAT? Hey Siri… play “Glory Days by Bruce Springsteen.”
The plaintiff did attend the University of Maryland for law school and it is currently ranked 51st by U.S. News. The lowest quartile of admitted students scored LSATs below 156 and its highest scoring quartile received over 164.
Is there ANY REASON TO ASSUME THE PLAINTIFF SCORED IN THE LOWEST QUARTILE? Absolutely not. Is Frank going to pen a 323-word Tweet — the first of a whole thread — based on this assertion? You’d better believe it!
This is a common rhetorical tactic for conveying racism without saying it. Consider Professor Amy Wax of Penn Law, who — despite having no access to confidential student grades — publicly asserted that Black students rarely graduate in the top half of the law school class. Wax doesn’t know that, but she sees no problem publicly making that assumption out of nowhere because… you know.
Swap “rarely” for “almost certainly.” Same shit, different day.
Honestly, what does the LSAT have to do with anything in this case? The associate wrote an email that — at best — was confusing about which partner got pinged on internal comms. The LSAT doesn’t test applicants on drafting emails.
In fact, the law school admissions test that actually endeavors to focus on “practice ready” aptitude is the JD-Next test that gets flack because its selling point is that it promotes more diversity.
Anywho… here comes some phrenology:
“Because of mismatch.” He’s talking about the Richard Sander book arguing that Black students aren’t suited for elite schools and that leads to more failure. It’s taken as gospel by right-wingers, despite the fact that the argument has been widely discredited when its “empirical” research faces even modest scrutiny.
Anyway, Frank seems to think that a Black student would only attend Maryland instead of NYU if the student had bad LSAT scores. Having spent years talking to prospective law students for an Above the Law feature we called The Decision, where we weighed in as they evaluated which school to choose, I know there’s a lot more to it between scholarship packages that don’t cover cost of living or a student’s desire to stay close to home. Most of the students we’d talk to were accepted into T14 schools and asking us just how much further down the USNWR rankings they could go without impairing their career goals because they had a better deal.
But just like the LSAT score, Frank is going to go ahead write in the plaintiff’s financial aid and living situation. Did he talk to Troutman and get an inside scoop or something? There’s a whole complaint there full of facts and nothing else to contradict it yet, though he seems perfectly fine rewriting the plaintiff’s life history anyway. And why the hell not? Black women are just empty slates for white dudes to draw characteristics upon, amirite? Look, if this had been a white woman suing for sex discrimination over these allegations… would Frank be digging into his cherry-picked bag of LSAT tricks? Probably not. But he’d find something else. I believe in you buddy!!!!!!
It must be exhausting to imagine all this backstory just to fit your prejudgment. He could’ve just ranted that “Gen Z’s soft” or something. But judging based solely on the facts in the record is reserved for white dudes.
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news.