Law Students

Do Law Schools Take Advantage of Minority Students?
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Summary: There are known trends placing law school applicants that are minorities at a disadvantage over white students, but what can be done to fix those challenges?

There is no denying that America’s largest law firms have a large population of white males. Diversity has been growing in the past few years, with an emphasis placed on ensuring the leadership of these firms has greater diversity as well. Law schools are very similar. The majority of the students are white males, although the number of female students has been increasing.

  
What
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The motivations and concerns behind a white male and minorities are quite often very different. Minorities are concerned with laws and regulations that affect their already underserved communities. This has driven an increase in the number of minority applicants to law schools across the country. What these students don’t release is that they are entering into a system that is not necessarily in their favor.

Data shows that more minority students end up at lower-ranked law schools, making their chances of ending up in a major law firm or with a top job slim. Positions in social justice, where a large chunk of minorities want to be, that pay well enough to support an attorney are few so competition for them is fierce. Graduates of lower-ranked schools are at a disadvantage because of their law school.

Lower-ranked law schools bring with them other problems. These schools have lower bar-passage rates so students are already facing a challenge. According to Truth Dig, “Legal education has failed and will continue to fail minorities.”

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The reasons behind why minorities have lower LSAT scores, ending up at lower-ranked law schools where they are less prepared to pass the bar exam, and assuming they make it through, face almost impossible chances of ending up with a large firm are complicated and varying.

The history behind minorities in law school is also complicated. Night schools were the most convenient and affordable option for minorities back around World War I to pursue a law career. Eventually, it became a requirement for lawyers to attend a law school, which eventually led to the start of the American Bar Association as the accrediting body over law schools. The cost of attending these schools went up, pushing out many of the minorities that could not afford the costs.



Generally, lower-ranked law schools have less funding available for scholarships and financial aid so students end up paying more than some of the students at top law schools. This is another area that minorities still struggle with. Law schools see this and try their best to provide financial aid opportunities for all students but with low enrollment numbers, law schools lack the extra finances to do so.

Now, law schools are turning back to night school and other flexible options for students wishing to pursue their legal education in a more non-traditional manner. Law students are asking for programs that allow them to speed up the process of their undergraduate and legal degree or to slow down the process with part-time options. In order to keep enrollment numbers up and cater to applicants of all backgrounds, law schools are answering these demands.

As Truth Dug explains, “Solutions are not simple, but change is clearly needed…” Changes are needed to make law schools a reality for more. This includes better preparation for the LSAT while in college and resources to encourage all to pursue legal careers.

What can be done to encourage and help more minorities be prepared for law school? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about alternative legal degree programs, read these articles:

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