Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Law Schools Face 'White Flight'

Am Law Daily (sub req'd) recently ran an article about white flight at the nation's law schools.

"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 the author points out that it's not necessarily good news because there is a"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."

I take issue with the author stating that highly intelligent people are forgoing law school. The author even admits that LSAT scores are tied to socioeconomic factors, and that, among other things, makes the LSAT a poor judge of intelligence. In fact, the author states, "a law degree has long been considered a positional good that privileged people purchase to get ahead of everyone else. Indeed, it was created to exclude minority groups."

We need broader representation of minorities in the legal profession, especially as our citizenry becomes more diverse. And, newsflash, there are some people who go to law school for more than prestige and money. I think it shows real character to continue with a dream to practice law in the face of all of the criticism.

"And just where are white college graduates fleeing to? Maybe the record number of applications to medical schools this year has something to do with it."

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