The Door to Law School
University of Massachusetts Roundtable Symposium Law Journal, Vol. 6, 2011
40 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2011
Date Written: September 1, 2011
This article researches Law School Admissions Council and ABA Section of Legal Education data for the first ten years of this century and finds that nearly half of all Hispanic law school applicants and nearly two-thirds of all African American law school applicants during this ten-year period were totally shut-out from every ABA-approved school they applied to, compared to just about one-third of all Caucasian applicants.
The research also shows that that African Americans, Mexican Americans, and Puerto Ricans all lost ground in terms of proportional representation, both in comparison to the growth in enrollment of all students of color and the growth in enrollment of all students. The article also reviews the social and economic costs of this continuing failure on the part of America's law schools to diversify the legal profession, including the substantial lost opportunity costs suffered by communities of color when qualified applicants are denied admission, conservatively estimated at $12.6 billion dollars for the African American community as a result of the applicants who were denied admission during this ten-year period. Finally, the article proposes a comprehensive blueprint for action to open the door to law school to make the profession more representative of the increasingly diverse society that lawyers serve.
Keywords: Diversity, Law School Applicant Shut-out Rates, Lost Opportunity Costs, Blueprint for Action
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