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U.S. Law School Enrollment Stabilizes Amid Historic Racial Diversity Surge

published December 20, 2023

By Author - LawCrossing
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( 3 votes, average: 3.4 out of 5)
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U.S. Law School Enrollment Stabilizes Amid Historic Racial Diversity Surge

Recent data from the American Bar Association (ABA) reveals that enrollment in U.S. law schools has achieved stability after two years of volatility. Concurrently, the final admissions cycle before implementing a national ban on affirmative action witnessed a historic high in racial diversity among new law students.
 

 Enrollment Trends
 
The ABA's latest figures indicate a marginal decline of half a percentage point in the total number of law students embarking on their Juris Doctor programs this fall, compared to the previous year. This follows a notable 12% spike in first-year students in 2021 during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, followed by a substantial decline in 2022.
 
Across the nation, 37,886 first-year students commenced Juris Doctor programs this fall, a slight decrease from the 38,060 recorded in the preceding year. Among ABA-accredited schools, 105 experienced an increase in full-time, first-year enrollment, while 91 reported a decline.
 
 Racial Diversity Milestone
 
Despite the overall enrollment trends, racial diversity among new law students reached a historic high. According to a Law School Admission Council analysis of ABA data, 40% of the new class consists of students of color, a noteworthy increase from the 39% recorded in 2022. This marks the third consecutive year law schools have collectively enrolled the most diverse class on record.
 
 Affirmative Action Ban Impact
 
This year's first-year JD class represents the final cohort admitted when most law schools could legally consider applicants' race. The U.S. Supreme Court's June decision to ban affirmative action at colleges and universities, while some states like California already had similar bans in place at public institutions, has prompted a call for increased efforts to promote access, equity, and fairness in the legal profession.
 
According to the Law School Admission Council's analysis, the recent Supreme Court decision necessitates a heightened commitment to advancing law and justice in the face of the new constraints.
 
 Prospects for the Future
 
Early data from the Council suggests a nearly 4% increase in the total number of new law school applicants compared to the same point in the previous year's admissions cycle. Notably, non-white applicants now constitute a slightly higher percentage of the national applicant pool, comprising 42%, up from 41% in the previous year. This indicates that the Supreme Court's ruling has not dissuaded racially diverse aspiring lawyers, showcasing a continued commitment to legal education among diverse populations.

published December 20, 2023

By Author - LawCrossing
( 3 votes, average: 3.4 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.

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