Leading Law Schools That Show the Largest Increases in Black Enrollments

In 2005 there were 1,719 black students enrolled at the nation’s 25 highest-ranked law schools. They made up 7.4 percent of all students at these 25 law schools. Blacks were 12.3 percent of all students at the law school at Vanderbilt University, the highest percentage among the leading law schools. Yet, at the University of Minnesota, only 2.2 percent of the law students were black.

Since 1999 the number and percentage of black students at our nation’s leading law schools have not changed significantly. But individual schools have made considerable progress. Overall, 12 of the top 25 law schools have shown an increase in the percentage of blacks in their student bodies. Thirteen of the 25 leading law schools have seen a drop in black enrollments.

By far the most significant increase has been at the law school of Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. In 1999 only 3.8 percent of the students at the Washington and Lee University law school were black. By 2005 the percentage of blacks in the student body increased to 9 percent.

Other law schools showing at least a two percentage point increase in black enrollments since 1999 are Notre Dame, New York University, the University of Chicago, and Washington University.

The largest decline in black enrollments at a leading law school was at the University of Southern California. There, blacks were 11.8 percent of all law school students in 1999. In 2005 black law school enrollments dropped to 8.7 percent of the total. Other law schools with significant declines in their level of black students were George Washington University, the University of Iowa, and Columbia University.