Law School Admissions


The Marginalization of Black Aspiring Lawyers

Document Type

Law Review Article

Publication Date



legal education, admissions, diversity, LSAT


This paper argues that Black people who aspire to be lawyers endure marginalized existences, which span the law school admission process through the matriculation process and into the law school classroom. The manner in which the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) drives the vetting of law school applications ensures that Black applicants face steep disadvantages in gaining admission. In the 2016-17 admission cycle, it took about 1,960 Black applicants to yield 1,000 offers of admission, compared to only 1,204 among White applicants and 1,333 overall.2 These trends are explained in large part by racial and ethnic disparities in average LSAT scores. The average score for Black test-takers is 142—11 points lower than the average for White and Asian test-takers of 153.3 Therefore, for large proportions of Black law school applicants—49 percent in 2016-17—their marginalization in the admission process ends in outright exclusion.