Gender Equity in Law School Enrollment: An Elusive Goal

Forthcoming, Journal of Legal Education

Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 508

17 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2019 Last revised: 15 Oct 2019

See all articles by Deborah Jones Merritt

Deborah Jones Merritt

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law

Kyle P. McEntee

Law School Transparency

Date Written: June 25, 2019

Abstract

Women finally make up more than half of law students nationwide, but that milestone masks significant gender inequities in law school enrollment. Women constitute an even larger percentage of the potential applicant pool: for almost two decades, they have earned more than 57% of all college degrees. As we show in this article, women are less likely than men to apply to law school — or to be admitted if they do apply. Equally troubling, women attend less prestigious law schools than men. The law schools that open the most employment doors for their graduates enroll significantly fewer women than schools with worse job outcomes and weaker access to the legal profession.

We explore here the factors that may contribute to this ongoing gender gap in law school attendance. We also propose several strategies for closing the gap. Enrollment equity alone will not put women on an equal footing with men; a sizable literature probes gender biases that pervade the law school environment. Recognizing and addressing the enrollment gap in legal education, however, is an essential first step toward improving the representation of women throughout the legal profession.

Keywords: Gender, Equity, Law Schools, Legal Education, Legal Profession

JEL Classification: K00, K4, K40, K49

Suggested Citation

Merritt, Deborah Jones and McEntee, Kyle P., Gender Equity in Law School Enrollment: An Elusive Goal (June 25, 2019). Forthcoming, Journal of Legal Education; Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 508. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3464582 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3464582

Deborah Jones Merritt

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States
614-247-7933 (Phone)
614-292-4868 (Fax)

Kyle P. McEntee (Contact Author)

Law School Transparency ( email )

Atlanta, GA
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.lawschooltransparency.com

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
70
Abstract Views
365
rank
336,627
PlumX Metrics