Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

The Most Diverse Law Schools

Most diverse law schools2preLaw, Most Diverse Law Schools:

Legal education stands at a crossroads. For years, law schools have sought to match enrollment with the real world’s makeup of race, gender and other underrepresented groups.

Yes, the American Bar Association requires law schools to demonstrate a commitment to diversity in both students and faculty. But many schools have gone above and beyond that accreditation requirement.

In 2018, law schools hit a zenith for diversity. With minority enrollment numbers higher than ever, an unprecedented 80 law schools out of 204 made preLaw’s honor roll for diversity. Inclusion on the honor roll was based on how well enrollment matched national averages for various races.

But a different ABA requirement began chipping away at diversity. The ABA passed a new rule stating that law schools must attain a bar passage rate of 75% within two years of graduation.

Several law schools found themselves with bar passage rates either below the mark or dangerously close.

The new standard contributed to the closing of three law schools that had honors for diversity in 2019. Two other law schools dropped ABA accreditation to avoid a similar fate.

The loss of those schools meant a hit to diversity. At the same time, racial protests in 2020 brought diversity to the fore, with law schools doubling down on their commitment to enrolling a diverse student body. Law schools across the nation raised money for scholarships and created endowments to support diversity. 

[In fall 2022,] Pepperdine Caruso School of Law hosted a Diversity Week and signed a memorandum of understanding with Tuskegee University, one of the 104 accredited Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the United States, for a 3+3 degree program. It allows students to earn an undergraduate degree from Tuskegee and a J.D. from Pepperdine in six years.

“Our collaboration represents two outstanding universities working together for students to complete a law degree and consider a variety of careers with a strong legal foundation and create a more diverse pool for the profession,” said Keith Hargrove, Tuskegee University’s senior vice president for academic affairs. ...

Most Diverse Law Schools Methodology
Our grades are based on how well each school matches with the U.S. average for each minority population. For students, we look at Asian (which includes native Hawaiian), Black, Hispanic, Caucasian and American Indian populations. For faculty, we compare overall U.S. minority percentages with the percentage of minority faculty. A school receives full credit when it matches the national average and can receive up to 40% added value when its percentage is higher than the national average for each population. Faculty accounts for 25% of the final grade, with each student population accounting for 16.67%, except for American Indian, which accounts for 8.32%. We’ve used this methodology since 2013. All data is from the American Bar Association.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink