Diversity and Inclusion in Law School and Higher Education

Is Affirmative Action Responsible for the Achievement Gap Between Black and White Law Students? A Correction, a Lesson, and an Update

Document Type

Law Review Article

Publication Date



affirmative action, race-neutral alternatives


This essay revisits an Essay I published in the Northwestern Law Review in 2007 on affirmative action and its potentially deleterious effects on black law students. The original 2007 essay found no evidence of a 'mismatch' effect, where black students are disadvantaged by matriculating to schools where they are outmatched by their fellow students. It also found evidence of an antimismatch effect that suggested that minority students were well-served by affirmative action policies. In the current essay, I correct some unreplicated findings and discuss the substantive impact of these changes. I find no evidence of either a mismatch or an antimismatch effect after these corrections. I also offer some suggestions of best practices to minimize future errors such as mine.