The Enrollment of Racially Minoritized Students in Law School: Factors Predicting Within- and Between-School Variation
enrolled student demographics, law school diversity, race and ethnicity, student financial aid, merit-based financial aid, law school rankings
Given the substantial lack of racial diversity within the U.S. legal profession, it is critically important to understand how to improve the representation of racially minoritized students at law schools. This study uses panel data from the 2010s to consider several types of factors that may shape the number and percentage of incoming law school students from several racially minoritized identities: finances, demographic representation, and rankings. The results of fixed effects analyses revealed that increases in the representation of Latinx and Asian students as well as Faculty of Color actually predict subsequent decreases in the percentage of incoming racially minoritized students, which suggests that law schools could be seeking to maintain a certain approximate level of racial representation over time. Moreover, increases in the ingroup racial representation within the state (in which the law school is primarily housed) and U.S. News rankings are both associated with greater subsequent numbers of incoming Black and Latinx law students; the provision of conditional scholarships and the combined total of tuition and fees are also significant predictors. These findings have salient implications for policy and practice.