High-Ranking Law Schools Showing Increases in Black Enrollments in This Decade

Tracking black progress at the nation’s leading law schools is an important barometer for gauging how blacks are faring in reaching the top echelons of the legal profession. The leading law firms in this country recruit a large majority of their associates at the nation’s leading law schools. Also, the nation’s top law schools typically produce the law clerks for the nation’s Supreme Court justices and other federal judgeships.

In the 1999 to 2007 period, total black enrollments in the nation’s law schools inched upward only slightly. But some of the nation’s leading law schools have shown major improvement. At the University of Texas, black enrollments increased from 43 students in 1999 to 77 students in 2007.

The University of Chicago also saw a major increase in black enrollments during the period. There were 43 black students at the law school in 2007, an increase of 72 percent from 1999.

Three other high-ranking law schools showed increases in black enrollments greater than 40 percent in the 1999 to 2007 period. They are the University of Notre Dame, Northwestern University, and New York University.

Harvard, the University of Virginia, Boalt Hall at the University of California at Berkeley, and Washington and Lee University all posted gains in black enrollments of 20 percent or more. Emory, Boston University, and the University of Michigan were the only other schools among the nation’s 30 highest-ranked law schools to post gains in black enrollments during the period.