Promoting Graduation Outcomes for Racially Minoritized Law School Students: Examining the Role of Finances, Racial Representation, and Prestige
enrolled student demographics, law school diversity, race and ethnicity, student financial aid, merit-based financial aid, law school rankings
Despite decades of efforts to diversify the legal profession, White lawyers in the U.S. remain substantially overrepresented. As a necessary step for fostering equity in the workplace, law schools must work to reduce or eliminate the current racial disparities in their persistence and graduation rates. Therefore, this study explored the link between various institutional factors and graduation outcomes among students from several racially minoritized identities. It used school-level data from 2011-2019 to conduct random effects analyses predicting the number and percentage of Students of Color who graduated from each law school in each year. The results indicate that the ingroup racial representation within the state (in which the law school is primarily housed) was positively related to graduation outcomes among Asian, Black, Latinx, underrepresented racial minority, and all law Students of Color; the percentage of Faculty of Color was also significantly related to graduation when examining most of these racial identities. Separate analyses were also conducted for law schools ranked within and outside of the top 100 of the U.S. News rankings. When comparing across these analyses, finances (e.g., financial aid provided, total tuition and fees, and estimated cost of living) were more consistently associated with graduation outcomes at law schools outside of the top 100, whereas racial representation (among faculty, other students, and within the state) and rankings were more often related to graduation among Students of Color within the top 100 law schools.