Many experts agree that a diverse classroom benefits all students.
So why is the legal profession one of the least diverse occupations in the nation?
With this question in mind, we decided to investigate the ever-changing demographics of the nations’ law schools.
Earlier this year, we took a look at the gender breakdown of laws schools and compiled the latest Law School Rankings by Female Enrollment report. More recently, we took a look at race and ethnicity demographics in ABA-accredited law schools and compiled our first annual Law School Enrollment by Race & Ethnicity report.
Here’s a sampling of what we found:
Minority representation is increasing, but it’s still not representative
On average, the 2018 law school class was more racially diverse than the 2017 class. Every race and ethnicity increased by at least 6.1%. However, the racial makeup of law students in ABA-accredited law schools still doesn’t reflect the racial makeup of the United States general population.
The greatest disparities concern the number of law students identifying as Hispanic or Black—groups that have historically been underrepresented in both law school classrooms and among practicing attorneys.
Top 10 law school rankings based on minority enrollment
Some regions of the country seem to attract more minority law students than others.
For example, New Mexico, Florida, California, and Texas have a relatively high percentage of minority law students; whereas Wyoming, Maine, and Montana largely fail to attract minorities.
Similarly, some law schools attract more racial and ethnic minorities than others. Here are the 10 law schools with the highest percentage of students identifying with each race and ethnicity recognized by the ABA Annual Questionnaire:
Conclusions on law school enrollment among racial and ethnic minorities
In general, our research found that minority students tend to be concentrated among a handful of law schools. What’s more, Hispanics and Black Americans remain underrepresented in law programs around the country.
Researchers attempting to understand the lack of Hispanic and Black Americans in law school classrooms have pointed to the high attrition rates for these 2 groups in college and law school, as well as LSAT scores that don’t match the scores of whites and other minorities.
To gain more insight into racial and ethnic demographics in law schools across the US, including which law schools struggle to attract minorities, read our full report on Law School Enrollment by Race & Ethnicity.
In the meantime, do you have any thoughts on this topic you would like to share?
If so, leave a comment below. We’re especially interested in hearing from minority law students and undergraduates.
Michigan Law School Journal of Race and Law, The Promise of Grutter: Diverse Interactions at the University of Michigan Law School
Washington Post, Law is the Least Diverse Profession in the Nation