Though U.S. News and World Report’s top ranking law schools may be perceived to be among the country’s best, there is one important factor in which they are all lacking: staff diversity. Lawyers of Color magazine released their own rankings of law schools based on the diversity of faculty, and found that those that placed well were not even among the top 50 on US News’ list.
Among Lawyers of Color’s list was The University of New Mexico School of Law, which ranked the highest on US News’ list at 64. Other schools included on both Lawyer of Colors’ list and the top tier of US News’ rankings are the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law (US News ranked 80), Florida International University College of Law (US News ranked 105), and Howard University School of Law (US News ranked 126). The other seven schools ranked by Lawyers of Color were included in US News’ unranked second tier.
The National Law Journal reports that this is the first time that Lawyers of Color conducted a survey of law school faculty. The magazine lists each ABA-accredited law school and the names of the minority faculty members who teach there. The list also cites research from the Association of American Law Schools that found high attrition rates among minority faculty and that minority faculty members had lower rates of tenure and promotion.
“We want prospective law students to know the minority law professors and compare the level of diversity found at different law schools,” said staff writer Jamie Brathwaite and publisher Yolanda Young.
In an effort to shine a positive light on American law schools, the same issue of Lawyers of Color ran their list of the 50 most influential minority law professors fifty years old or younger. “We wanted to recognize law professors who are making bold contributions to the legal canon and community at large,” wrote Susan Bronston Sullivan.