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October 23, 2019

News
Kate R. Cook, Kenneth N. Thayer

Sugarman Rogers teams with NAACP Legal Defense Fund on behalf of Harvard students and alumni to Support Harvard’s successful defense of race-conscious admissions

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As “amicus plus” participants in the landmark Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College case, 25 Harvard student and alumni organizations cheered the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts’ decision upholding Harvard’s race-conscious undergraduate admissions policy.

The organizations—which provided witness testimony, submitted summary judgment and post-trial briefs, and participated in opening statements and closing arguments at trial in support of Harvard’s consideration of race as one factor in its holistic admissions criteria—were represented by the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (“LDF”) and Sugarman Rogers attorneys Kate Cook and Ken Thayer on a pro bono basis.

Finding that Harvard’s policy did not improperly discriminate against Asian Americans, the court held that “the use of race benefits certain racial and ethnic groups that would otherwise be underrepresented at Harvard and is therefore neither an illegitimate use of race or reflective of racial prejudice.”  In reaching this conclusion, the court cited testimony from the organizations’ witnesses for the key proposition that “removing considerations of race and ethnicity from Harvard’s admissions process entirely would deprive applicants, including Asian American applicants, of their right to advocate the value of their unique background, heritage, and perspective and would likely also deprive Harvard of exceptional students.”

As a law firm with many decades of committed service to promoting social justice, Sugarman Rogers is proud to work alongside LDF in helping these dedicated students and alumni achieve their goal of safeguarding diversity and inclusivity at Harvard. To learn more about Sugarman Rogers’ pro bono work, click here.