ERIC Number: ED481717
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2003-Aug
The Road to Law School and Beyond: Examining Challenges to Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Legal Profession. LSAC Research Report Series.
Wilder, Gita Z.
To explore possible sources of the underrepresentation of minority groups in law school, this paper brings together existing data that describe the participation of members of different racial/ethnic groups, especially African Americans and Hispanics, at successive points along the way to employment in the law. It focuses on the process by which prospective lawyers are educated through the steps that lead to a career in the law, comparing the experiences of minorities with those of their nonminority cohorts. The objective is to identify places along the path to the legal profession at which minority members are most likely to fall by the wayside. Data suggest that African Americans are completing high school later than Whites, but Hispanics are completing high school at lower rates. College enrollment rates have been increasing steadily among high school graduates from all racial/ethnic groups, but only about 16% of African Americans and 10% of Hispanics held baccalaureate degrees. Among the first professional degrees recorded by the National Center for Education Statistics, a law degree appears to be a popular choice for members of minority groups. College graduates who are members of minority groups are proportionately more likely than their white counterparts to consider attending law school. There is no disproportionate loss of any single group at the stage of application to law school. At the level of admission, the racial-ethnic profile of the group of applicants admitted to law school is different than that of the applicant pool. The overall rates of admission of minority groups are generally lower than those of white applicants. These differences may be attributed, at least in part, to the majority-minority gap in Law School Admission Test and undergraduate grade point average measures. Minorities enter legal education at rates that are lower than those of their white counterparts, and law school persistence and completion are lower for Black, Hispanic, and Native American students. The article concludes by identifying possible targets for action to increase minority representation in legal education and the professions. (Contains 11 figures, 24 tables, and 24 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Law School Admission Council, Newtown, PA.