Judge Decries ‘Interview System’ at Arthur Grimes Law School

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Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay: ”I have reason to believe that the interview requirements will be unfair or discriminatory.”

– Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay

The Assigned Judge of the Second Judicial Circuit Court in Grand Bassa County on Monday took serious exception to the introduction of an interview system as part of the mandatory requirements for admission at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law at the University of Liberia (UL).

Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay claimed that the practice runs contrary to the spirit and intent of Article 6 of the 1986 Constitution, which he said requires equal access and opportunity to education for all Liberians.

While the UL administration may have a good intention before enrolling any candidate, Judge Gbeisay contended, ”I have reason to believe that the interview requirements will be subjective, and therefore, it is unfair or discriminatory.”

Judge Gbeisay made the observation when he spoke at the opening of the November 2017 Term of the 2nd Judicial Circuit in Grand Bassa County.

He believes that for a successful candidate to sit an interview before being admitted to the law school is unrealistic and unreasonable.

Judge Gbeisay also contended that because the interviewers are human beings, their selection process would be ineffective, biased and prejudicial, especially where certain family names are mentioned.

“Those whose family names ring bells to the interviewers will more probably be the only privileged ones to enroll at the state-run law school,” Gbeisay told his audience.

Gbeisay said the minimum requirements for admission to the law school say that a candidate must have earned a Bachelor’s degree with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.75 and have sat the test and made a successful pass.

He said the new procedure would deprive other candidates who are academically competent from being enrolled in the law school.

“You will irresponsibly agree with me that if the interview requirements now introduced were part of the law school requirements in the 1980s, such name like Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay would have found it difficult, if not impossible, to be admitted into the school,” Gbeisay pointed out.

“I am bringing this to the public domain so as to encourage the administration to discontinue the interview requirement, which I consider as a trap set that is not in the interest of the masses,” Gbeisay said.

He then reminded his audience, “After all, this school is funded and operated by the Liberian people’s taxes. So I call on everybody to join me to discourage the interview practice.”

Cllr. T. Nagblee Warner, Dean of the Law School, could not be reached for his reaction, but a renowned lawyer, who is also an instructor at the school, on condition of anonymity, told the Daily Observer via mobile phone yesterday that the Judge Gbeisay spoke what he observed about the school’s recent development, “so the comment does not warrant our reaction.”

“If the law school feels that Judge Gbeisay comment warrants its reaction, the administration will meet to discuss the legal implication,” our source said.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Greetings:

    1). Could someone please explain the following to me” “You will irresponsibly agree with me that if the interview requirements now introduced were part of the law school requirements in the 1980s, such name like Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay would have found it difficult, if not impossible, to be admitted into the school,” Gbeisay pointed out.”

    2). Then how did he get pass the ‘interview stage’.

    Kind Regards

  2. @charles E king I think he’s saying that doing the old days if you did not have a civilized name like “King” for example you was not going to be admitted to the university. Thus, insinuating that at the time he was admitted there was no interview requirement. Liberia had an apartheid like system where natives was disqualify from almost doing anything just because they are native.

  3. @Joseph Bartuah

    Mr. King was being facetious. He’s making a point that the judge has made the all too common Liberian mistake of inserting words into sentences where they do not belong. “Irresponsibly agree” does not make sense, and is now what the judge intended to say.

    You don’t need big words to sound intelligent, and you end up sounding very unintelligent when you misuse words.

    I applaud the interview component. We are trying to UP THE STANDARD AND QUALITY of Liberian professionals! The best law schools in the world conduct interviews, its standard practice, and very much welcome in Liberia.

  4. He probably has someone who will never pass the test and he wants to enroll her. We have too many quasi people calling themselves lawyers. I say vet them, let them be able to speak competently before they darken the doors of the Law School Everybody want to be a lawyer these days, some cannot even speak properly or write correctly. This man should be calling for higher standards. I bet he himself would never have been able to pass an interview. The Dean should make things harder for these people to become lawyers.

  5. Dean Warner, please raise the GPA to 3.5 and then have two round of interviews not one. Look at the Dean’s name, Negbalee, and he is one of the best minds in the country. This judge, should stop playing the ethnic or tribal card. Most good law schools have interviews. Some of our judges need to go back to law school.

    • Judge Gbeisay’s point exactly, that were interview one of the criteria or requirements for admission into the law school in their time, perhaps they (people like him and Dean Negbalee and because of their surnames) would not have been selected. As I see it, the judge may have a point and far greater and beyond the string of emotionalism exhibited here so far. In other words, this new interview criterion and the judge’s dissension with it must be analyzed critically, and not dismissed with this usual flippancy. For instance, what made the law school authorities to contemplate introducing this new requirement to its admission criteria? Will this new criterion in fact make it easier or harder for future students to enroll in the law school? What value will this criterion add to the admission process? Also is it not a fact that people who graduated from schools in Monrovia, especially the “Ivy league” schools would have a better grasp of English, even if it meant just their enunciation, or their world view compared to others from the leeward counties? Again, we’re not talking math, science and general academics where students from the leeward counties have held their own all the time. Rather we are talking all the etiquettes to make first impression including mode of dressing, accent, etc. Add the composition of the interview committee and the prospect becomes unpredictable. Already people feel some graduates of the law school should not have been allowed in the first place. One wonders based on what? Because of poor performance in real life? The kinds of cases they litigate and the outcomes? Their failure rates? Why? Could we set the same criteria for other professions too, like teachers, medical doctors, for example? My input here is not obviously exhaustive, but just to point out that indeed, some of these musings sometimes require a critical or in-depth look than meets the casual eyes.

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