Grantee Research

How the Student-Faculty Demographic Impacts Law School Graduate Attrition, Attrition Rate, J.D.s Awarded, and Bar Passage (Part 1)

Document Type

Issue/Research Brief/Blog

Publication Date



diverse campus environment, faculty diversity, student attrition, bar passage correlates, student engagement


At law schools and in the legal profession, improving outcomes for women and minorities is still a priority. This study explores whether student-faculty demographic match impacts attrition, attrition rate, J.D.s awarded, and Bar passage.

Legal Lex data, ABA 509 Disclosures, and accounting for differences in school sizes were combined to form a data set and used to create profiles of law school faculty. The research divided law school faculty into two demographic categories: faculty who are women and diverse faculty (women and men). Faculty demographics were then categorized as either above or below the average of the faculty body at other law schools. Three types of analysis were carried out on these demographics: one including all faculty, one including only full-time faculty, and one including only part-time faculty in order to determine if differences exist by category.

The effect on student attrition, attrition rates, percentage of J.D.s awarded, and Bar success rates was then analyzed. Each category was examined first by gender (women and men), then by population (white Caucasian and minority), then by gender and population (white Caucasian and minority women and white Caucasian and minority men), and finally by gender and student racial groups.

This research used a Mann Whitney Wilcoxon nonparametric method approach to compare the deviation of law school faculty demographics in order to establish university sub-group profiles and determine their impact on student attrition, attrition rates, the percentage of J.D.s awarded, and Bar success rates.

This research builds upon existing K-12 scholarship and advances it to the graduate level. Further, it confirms that diverse faculty improved these metrics for students who are women and minorities. Demographic match positively impacts outcomes for law school students who are women and minorities. As such, it should be an institutional priority given commitments to improve outcomes for women and minorities.