From The Am Law Daily
As the number of applicants to law school continues to dwindle, some writers have begun pondering the demographic challenges facing law schools. Attorney Keith Lee and University of Saint Thomas School of law professor Jerry Organ recently wrote articles highlighting the decline in graduates from elite, “feeder” universities applying to law school. At the same time, recent law school applicants tend to have lower LSAT scores than their predecessors. Both of these observations fit into a developing narrative that highly intelligent and affluent college graduates are forgoing law school.
A different look at the data reveals a more profound trend: Most of the 8,651-student net decline in law school enrollments between 2010 and 2012 is attributable to white male law students going unreplaced. White women account for another big chunk of the decline. In fact, of the 7,776 fewer 1Ls entering law school over that two-year period, 6,528 (84 percent) fit into the “White/Caucasian” ethnic category. For a profession sensitive about a dearth of women and minorities, the idea that white men—and, to a lesser degree. white women—are losing interest in law school might be welcomed as a sign that the legal profession is poised to become more ethnically diverse. But analysis of Official Guide law school demographics data shows that any hopes that the law school applicant crunch will help make that happen are misplaced.
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