Diversity and Inclusion in Law School and Higher Education

A Law School Instructor Like Me: Race, Gender, and Ethnicity Dynamics in Law School

Christopher Birdsall, Boise State University
Seth Gershenson, American University; IZA Institute of Labor Economics
Raymond Zuniga, American University


This study examined ten years of administrative data from top 100 law schools and the impact that nonwhite, female faculty can have on student outcomes. Researchers wanted to know how female and students of color benefited from demographically similar faculty in 1L courses. They found that having mismatched faculty and students impacted grades. Having an “other sexed” instructor reduced the likelihood of receiving an A by 3% and having an “other raced” instructor reduced it by 10%. There was no impact on future course taking, dropping courses or participating in law reviews. Researchers suggest that having a diverse IL faculty can impact student persistence into the second year and graduating on time.