Diversity and Inclusion in Law School and Higher Education

Employment Opportunities and Conditions for the African-American Legal Professoriate: Perspectives from the Inside

Document Type

Law Review Article

Publication Date



diverse campus environment, faculty diversity


African Americans are underrepresented on the faculties of American law schools. It is estimated that while they make up 13.1% of the U.S. population, members of this group make up only 8.4% of the tenured faculty at American law schools. Even that marker is not a true measure of the nation's law faculty racial diversity in what can be characterized as predominantly and/or historically white law schools (hereinafter, HWLSs). That is, American law faculty compilations by race do not ordinarily disaggregate HWLSs from others in the American law school universe; the percentage of tenured faculty who are African-American at the nation's HWLSs is likely closer to 6%.

Furthermore, scholarship on the subject suggests that once appointed to a tenure-track law faculty position, the conditions of employment for African Americans at HWLSs are often problematic for them. These difficult employment conditions may be reflected in the higher attrition and lower tenure rates for African-American law faculty, as compared to white law faculty. Moreover, there has been only one African-American dean of a top-fifteen law school in the nation's history, and only a handful to date in the entirety of the nation's Tier I law schools. Though there have been no statistical compilations on point, other law school leadership posts also seem to largely elude African-American faculty at HWLSs.