For the first time ever, women constitute a majority of JD students at ABA-accredited law schools. 50.32% of JD students studying for fall exams are women.*
It’s a milestone to celebrate–but also one to view with caution.
As Kyle McEntee and I reported last month, female law students remain clustered at the least prestigious law schools. You can find a graphic representation of these data, along with a podcast in which Kyle and I discuss the numbers, here.
After crunching the latest disclosures, there remains a strong (and statistically significant) correlation between a law school’s US News rank and its percentage of female students: On average, the better ranked schools enroll a significantly smaller percentage of women students. The correlation remains when we look at schools’ placement outcomes. Men are significantly more likely than women to attend schools that place a large percentage of their graduates in full-time, long-term jobs requiring a law license. Women are more likely to attend schools with weak employment outcomes.
When we looked at last year’s data, we found a correlation of .381 between a school’s US News rank and the percentage of women it enrolled. This year, the correlation is almost as high, at .357. The story is similar for the relationship between percentage of female students and good job outcomes. Last year’s data showed a correlation of -.520, while the updated data yield an association of -.508. All of these relationships are statistically significant: the odds of them occurring by chance are less than one in a thousand.
Women now outnumber men in law schools, but our pipeline is still broken. Let’s do more to recognize and correct gender bias in the profession. You can start with Law School Transparency’s podcast series on Women In the Law.
* Source: The ABA’s annual data release. These totals include students from Penn State’s two campuses, which seem to have been omitted from the “All Schools” spreadsheet on the ABA site. 55,059 of this year’s students are men, while 55,766 are women.
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