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Study Proves Diverse Student Body is Beneficial to Law Students

A research study, performed over a 10-year period, included UNC-Chapel Hill professors and determined that a diverse law student body offers many advantages to law schools. Those advantages include education benefits for the institution, society and the student body, according to a press release from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. An article written about the survey is titled “Does Race Matter in Educational Diversity? A Legal and Empirical Analysis” and it is going to be published this summer in “Rutgers Race & the Law Review.”

“It’s so gratifying to see a study that is rigorously designed, multidisciplinary and involving data from many sources to address a critical issue in higher education today,” Abigail T. Panter, Professor of Psychology at UNC, said. Panter is a co-author of the study. “Collaborative groups like ours can produce data that are useful for people to evaluate, which is especially important in the current climate when the Supreme Court will be involved.”

The team of professors who worked on the study includes Charles E. Daye, a Professor of Law at the UNC School of Law; Panter; Walter R. Allen, a professor of sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles and Linda F. Wightman, educational research methodology from UNC Greensboro.

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The researchers used the past decade to examine race and how it is linked to educational diversity. The researchers did this by tracking law school students beginning with their enrollment in law school until their graduation from law school. The study used data from across the country of 6,500 incoming law students from a sample of 50 ABA-accredited law schools.

“Our conclusion is that, because race matters and contributes to educational diversity, it would be a tragedy if educational institutions were told that the race of applicants could not be in any way considered,” Daye said. “There is no other factor that will adequately target the qualities needed in a student body in which the students can interact and learn from each other and learn the ways the others see the world.”

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