Curricula and Programs

Predicting First-year Law School Performance: The Influences of Race, Gender, and Undergraduate Major

John Fordyce, Sprint
Lisa K. Jespen, University of Northern Iowa
Ken McCormick, University of Northern Iowa


We use regression analysis and proprietary data from three top 30 law schools to test the relationships of race, gender, and undergraduate major to first-year law school performance, as measured by law school grade point average at the end of the first year. We conclude that, all else equal: (1) Non-white students perform worse than white students, (2) Women on average do as well as men, though non-white women do worse than both white and non-white men, and (3) For the most part, undergraduate major has no relationship to first-year law school performance.