Is Using USNews Ranking in Making Hiring Decisions Discriminatory?
That’s what Drexel 3L William Hanrahan claims in a newly filed complaint against Dechert LLP. According to Hanrahan, though he ranks #4 in Drexel’s class, Dechert (and other large firms) hire disproportionately from higher ranked schools, and consequently refused to hire him. Why is that a problem? Well, here’s what the complaint says:
Hanrahan, who suffers from “Asperger’s Syndrome, an Autism Spectrum Disorder, and a concomitant non-verbal learning disability,” also argues that Drexel accepted more students than other local schools with disabilities, and that refusal to hire from Drexel tends to disproportionately screen out non-disabled candidates.
I’m not an expert in this area of the law, but I thought the complaint provided an interesting set of facts for discussion. My uninformed view is that the chain of causation (disability –> lower LSAT –> lower-ranked school –> fewer job offers) isn’t incredible, but that it’s hard to imagine a judge forcing firms to discount rankings (which, after all, aren’t entirely or even mostly based on student credentials) when making hiring decisions.