Focus Policy Blog
A Call for Diversity in Legal Education, Part One
A recent special report in the National Law Journal examines the issue of limited diversity in legal education. Various aspects of this issue are addressed including barriers related to preparing for law school, initiatives taken to spark an interest in the legal profession with high school students, programs implemented to prepare law-school bound minority students for law school, minimal minority representation among judges, and what law schools can do to promote diversity and inclusion from a law student’s perspective. This posting is the first of several that will examine these issues.
Key findings of the portion of the report discussing preparation for law school are as follows:
- From 2003 to 2012, the number of minority J.D. students only increased from just over one-fifth to just over one-quarter of the student population (which does not reflect the 37% minority population in 2012)
- In 2013, 89% of law schools conferred degrees on 10 or less African-American students
- Because minorities only make up 12% of lawyers, minorities are disadvantaged when it comes to entering law school by the fact that most are the first to attend law school, minorities have the lowest LSAT average scores and consequently the highest rate of not being accepted to any law schools at all
The report suggests that law schools should take measures to increase diversity of their student body. For example, the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law works with public high schools and undergraduate schools hosting moot court competitions on the law school’s campus complete with coaching from the law school’s faculty.