The pipeline for diverse lawyers just isn’t flowing. At best, it’s a trickle. For African Americans at some law schools, it’s almost running dry. That’s my takeaway from the latest report on minority enrollment at law schools.

Reports Karen Sloan of The National Law Journal:

Minorities comprised slightly more than one-fifth of all J.D. students in 2003 and just more than one-quarter in 2012, according to the American Bar Association. That means legal education still has a long way to go before it reflects the diversity of the country as a whole, considering that minorities made up 37 percent of the population in 2012. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that whites will lose their majority status by 2043.

If the trend continues, it means that the legal profession will likely continue to be dominated by white lawyers. That’s pretty amazing considering the changing demographics.
Here are some key findings from the report:
- African Americans are stuck—and have been for 10 years. The percentage of African-American law students has hovered at the 7 percent mark for the past decade. At UCLA Law School, only 33 out of 1,100 are black (California and Michigan prohibit taking race into consideration for admission to their public universities).

- Hispanics have seen the most growth. Hispanic representation among J.D. students grew from 5.7 percent in 2003 to 8.1 percent in 2012.

- Asians Americans are holding steady. In recent years, Asians have represented about 7 percent of law students. (The NLJ cautions, though, that the the ABA altered the way it collects data about Asian students so that it’s difficult to measure how much this group’s rates have changed.)

- LSAT scores are destiny. This should surprise no one: The higher your LSAT score, the higher your chances of gaining admission to law school. Average LSAT score for African Americans was 142; Hispanics 146; Asians 152; whites 153.

John Nussbaumer, an associate dean at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, tells NLJ that minorities have lower rates of law school acceptance because of their low LSAT scores. “It really all boils down to the LSAT and how a school treats those scores. If schools are willing to sacrifice a little in the U.S. News & World Report rankings race and admit students with lower LSAT scores, we might see improvement.”
In the arms race for law school ranking, coupled with the declining numbers of law school applicants, does anyone seriously think that law schools will ease up on LSAT score to increase diversity? If anything, law schools will scramble for candidates with the highest GPAs and LSATs.
But what’s even more ominous: the clamp down on race considerations for law school admissions. Chances are the UCLA effect will hit more law schools.
And you thought law was already lilly white?

E-mail: vchen@alm.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/lawcareerist