African-American and Chicanos Increasingly Rejected
A Columbia Law School study released this week says as the U.S. grows more diverse, the population of law schools nationwide is increasingly white.
There were 3,000 new spots created for first year students from 1993 to 2008, the report says.
But at the same time, the percentage of African-American and Mexican-American law students declined, even as both ethnicities improved their L.S.A.T. scores and college GPAs, reports the Wall Street Journal Law blog.
“What’s happening, as the American population becomes more diverse, is that the lawyer corps and judges are remaining predominantly white,” John Nussbaumer, associate dean of the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan.
Nussbaumer says blame U.S. News & World Report which ranks law schools by the LSAT requirements. “Deans get fired if the rankings drop, so they set their LSAT requirements very high,” he says.
In 2003, the Supreme Court’s Grutter v. Bollinger held that to crease a diverse student body, race can be taken into account.
The study, A Disturbing Trend in Law School Diversity, finds a 7.5 percent drop in African-Americans in the 2008 freshman class and an 11.7 percent drop in Chicanos.
At the same time the number of law schools has increased from 176 to 200 in the last 15 years. That created 3.000 additional freshman seats, none of which were taken by African Americans or Chicanos.
The New York Times reports that minority candidates have been applying to law school in relatively constant numbers. But from 2003 to 2008, black applicants experienced a 61 percent rejection rate and Chicanos, a 46 percent rejection rate. Compare that to 34 percent of white applicants who were declined.
Mr. Nussbaumer, who teaches in Lansing and sees a high number of African-American applicants says, “We’re living proof that it doesn’t have to be that way, that those students with the slightly lower L.S.A.T. scores can graduate, pass the bar and be terrific lawyers.” #