The wrap on historically black law schools

Over the course of the last several years the legal industry has undergone steady change, signified most significantly by a decline in the number of positions at the nation’s once extremely profitable law firms. Even as there is some indication that law firm hiring is rebounding, hiring is still not back to the levels seen before the bubble burst.

Then just last week there was extensive reporting on the fact that the number of law school applications is down. Which in turn causes some to question the caliber of applicants.

The Atlantic even says, “The Wrong People Have Stopped Applying to Law School.”

For those African-Americans who still desire to go to law school which law schools will they attend predominantly white institutions or historically black law schools?

One recent graduate of SMU Law offers a sobering picture of life after law school in, “HBCU law grads face tough job market

“Now all of a sudden, instead of owning the Dallas law market,” he recalls, SMU graduates were “competing with graduates from the Ivy League schools and some of the Top 15 schools,” so SMU grads were “probably not as well-equipped to compete.”

Diverse Issues in Higher Education reports in “Historically Black Law Schools Stay the Course on Social Justice Mission,” it’s certainly the intention of the nation’s historically black law schools to position themselves to attract and provide a top notch legal education.

…for the nation’s six historically Black law schools these bleak times are an opportunity to highlight their individual niches and strengths. While several deans say the economic downturn has had some impact on their graduates, they say they have continued to reshape their curriculum and graduation requirements in order to make their students more competitive in the marketplace.

Even after an exploration and comparison to other schools, in order for continued diversity in the legal profession, South Texas College of Law Professor Gary Rosin has written, “If the ABA is serious about increasing the diversity of the legal profession, especially in increasing the number Black/African American lawyers, it needs Historically Black Law Schools (“HBLS”).”


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