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The total number of law school students continues to grow, but the percentage of women and minority students comprising the student body has remained static, according to the American Bar Association section of legal education and admissions to the bar. Philadelphia-area law schools are, in terms of growth and enrollment of women, following the national trend. However, some schools in the region deviate significantly from the norm in terms of the enrollment of minority students. Nationwide, the fall 2001 first-year class totaled 45,070, a 3.6 percent increase from 2000. The class included 22,816 men, or 50.6 percent, and 22,254 women, or 49.4 percent. Total law school enrollment for students pursuing a J.D. climbed to 127,610, an increase of 2,437 from 2000, according to the ABA report. While a 3.6 percent increase in a single year might seem to hint that more college grads are beating down law schools’ doors, the numbers actually reflect the fact that the enrollment in six newly accredited schools were, for the first time, included in the totals. These schools are the University of the District of Columbia, Chapman University, Western State University, Florida Coastal School of Law, University of Nevada-Las Vegas and Appalachian School of Law. Taking those six schools out of the equation, law school enrollment is still on the rise. Since 1997, the number of students entering law school has increased 4.9 percent. In 1999 and 2000, women made up 48.7 and 49.4 percent of first-year enrollment, and it was thought that 2001 would be the year when women would pass the 50 percent mark, according to the ABA. However, 2001 data show that men still have a slight edge over women. In 2001, first-year classes held steady with a 49.4 percent female enrollment. Overall, 62,476 women now comprise 49 percent of all law students. As a percentage of all law school students, minority enrollment held its ground, failing to show expected growth. Minority enrollment percentages for first-years, second-years and third-years held steady but failed to show expected growth. In 2001, minority enrollment crept to 26,257, an increase of 504 students across all three grades since 2000, the ABA reported. However, minority students did not gain any ground percentage-wise. First-year minority enrollment inched upward from 9,335 in 2000 to 9,557 in 2001, an increase of 222 students from 2000. Proportionally, however, first-year percentages for minorities showed a slight decrease. In 2000, 21.5 percent of first-years were members of a minority group, and in 2001, that number decreased to 21.2 percent. Overall in 2001, minority students comprise 20.6 of the entire law student population. Among the total 26,257 minority students, 9,412 were black, 990 were American Indian, 8,421 were Asian, 2,334 were Mexican, 689 were Puerto Rican and 4,411 were other Hispanic, the ABA stated. In 2001, the University of Pennsylvania School of Law saw its freshman class increase by 3.9 percent from 2000. The University of Pennsylvania, with 761 students currently enrolled, followed the national trend for enrollment of women but surpassed national statistics for minorities. Penn’s freshmen class is 51 percent men, but in 2000, women dominated the entering class by a 2 percent margin. In 2001, minority students comprised 30 percent of Penn’s batch of first-years, nearly 10 percent higher than the national average. For the entire law school, 29 percent of students identify themselves as a member of a minority group, a number well above the national average of 20.6 percent. While Temple University Beasley School of Law’s 2001 class size increased from 2000 by only five students, from 346 to 351, statistics on gender and race aligned closely to national figures. Total enrollment for 2001 reached 1,074, with a 49 percent women and 51 percent men gender breakdown. Minority students comprise 22 percent of the entire student population. The 2001 first-year class found women outnumbering men 51 percent to 49 percent. Minority percentages held steady at 22 percent. While women outnumbered men in the 2001 first-year class, they lost the strong edge they had in 2000, when women comprised 54 percent of the first-year population. Enrollment at Rutgers University School of Law-Camden showed the largest increase in first-year class size, nearly 8 percent, among local schools from 2000 to 2001. In 2000, there were 225 first-years, in 2001, 244. Men and women evenly split the first-year class 50-50. However, across all three grades, men outnumber women 53 to 47 percent. Twenty-seven percent of all Rutgers-Camden law students are members of a minority groups. While exact racial breakdowns were not available for the 2000 and 2001 first-year classes, the school estimated that 25 percent of students in each class were minorities. Widener University School of Law’s Delaware campus has one of the largest J.D. program. In 2001, overall enrollment reached 1,017, bolstered by a second-year class of 340. However, in 2001, the entering class was 32 students smaller, a decrease of more than 9 percent. While the school’s gender breakdown was split nearly 50-50 overall as well as for first-years, Widener had the second lowest percentage of minority students of law schools in the area, with only 12 percent of first-years and 11 percent of second-years identifying themselves as a member of a minority group, reflecting the schoolwide showing of 12 percent. However, Villanova University School of Law’s minority numbers were lower than Widener’s. Its first-year class, with 256 members, has 24 minority students, or 9 percent. second-years are also 9 percent minority. School-wide, the number is 10.5 percent, nearly half the national average. The school’s gender breakdown was also somewhat below the national average. Across the board, as well as for first-years and second-years, women made up 47 percent of the population. However, the increase in first-year class size between 2000 and 2001 perfectly aligned with the national average, at 3.6 percent.

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