'U.S. News' Top Law Schools Fall Short on Diversity

, The National Law Journal


If you want to find the most racially diverse law faculties, look outside U.S. News and World Report's top-ranked schools—way outside.

The latest edition of Lawyers of Color magazine has catalogued minority faculty at all 200 ABA-accredited law schools and named the 13 most diverse. They included:

• Florida International University College of Law (ranked No. 105 by U.S. News);

• The University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law (No. 80);

• Howard University School of Law (No. 126);

• The University of New Mexico School of Law (No. 64).

The remaining seven schools fell within U.S. News' unranked second tier. (The magazine's list includes two Puerto Rican law schools that U.S. News doesn't rank.)

Besides Howard, law schools at historically black colleges that showed up on the Lawyers of Color list included the Florida A&M University College of Law and North Carolina Central University School of Law.

This is the first time that Lawyers of Color—published by research and media company Lawyers of Color Inc.—examined law school faculty.

"We want prospective law students to get to know the minority law professors and compare the level of diversity found at different law schools," staff writer Jamie Brathwaite and publisher Yolanda Young wrote.

The faculty diversity edition lists each ABA-accredited law school and the names of the minority faculty members who teach there, indicating their race or heritage.

The magazine cites research from the Association of American Law Schools that found attrition rates for minority faculty higher than for non-minority faculty. Minority faculty had lower rates of promotion and tenure compared to non-minorities.

Brathwaite and Young noted that the longstanding argument that law schools aren't producing enough minority law graduates to create a robust pipeline into academia is growing less credible as law school classes slowly become more diverse. "Prospective minority law students could influence this process by allowing the diversity of law school faculty to influence their choices in law schools much the way law firms are being pressured by their clients to hire diverse attorneys."

The magazine highlighted teaching fellowships for minority faculty members at Harvard Law School; the University of Wisconsin School of Law; and the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.

Contact Karen Sloan at ksloan@alm.com. For more of The National Law Journal's law school coverage, visit: http://www.facebook.com/NLJLawSchools.

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