ABA Minority Data

The ABA pages tell you more about minorities than you'll ever know what to do with -- but it's at least worth trying to understand.

Notice that the first eight columns refer to the entire student body. # and %, # and %, # and %, # and %. Men, Women, Full-time, Part-time. Then you get # and % in the 1L class. Then you get a total -- which you already got from the first four columns, or the second four.

Huh? What? Look:

On the chart below, African Amer. 15 men + 20 women = 35. 35 FT + 0 PT = 35. Total: 35.

10 are 1Ls. 13 are seniors (JD degrees awarded). So I would hazard a guess that 12 are 2Ls. If the school has a part-time division then 12 would be the number in the 2L class plus the 3L part-time (i.e., after first year, before senior year).

The percentages are a little trickier, since percentages don't add up. E.g., 3.5% black men plus 5.7% black women does not mean 9.2% blacks in the school.

      • 15 out of 434 men = 3.5%.
      • 20 out of 349 women = 5.7 %.
      • 35 out of 783 total students = 4.5%.

Sample Minority Enrollment Data from the Official Guide

A little bit of overkill? Perhaps. But supposing the number of JD degrees had been 3. It would tell a very different story. It would say, "We admit them, we don't flunk them out at the end of the 1L year, but we lose them later."

Now look down the 1L column. 10 blacks; 2 Native Americans; 3 Mexicans and 1 Puerto Rican total 16. So who are these 59 minorities? 26 Asians and 17 "Other Hispanics," usually South Americans. So we have a lot of minorities (21.9%), but not necessarily a lot of disadvantaged minorities. Many schools admit large numbers of "legal" minorities with high LSAT scores to keep both their US News ranking and their reported minority percentage high.

The next school shows a very different picture: more than half of all the minorities are black -- and the number receiving degrees is even higher than the annual average! So they take even more minorities as transfers, or they admitted more two years ago than they do now.

Sample Minority Enrollment Data from the Official Guide

But something's wrong: 20 in the 1L class, 33 receiving degrees, but 51 total? Where are the 2Ls? I would definitely inquire before I enrolled.

And what's the deal with ZERO Mexicans and Puerto Ricans? Aren't they admitting any? Or did the application not ask for Hispanic subgroups? Even if a difference in the application accounts for the discrepancy, I'd be concerned about a total of 7 Latinos in the 1L class. On the other hand, I, who do not gamble, would bet a cool fifty that this is a southern school. Lots of blacks and few Hispanics, plus a moderate amount of Asians, reflects the college-educated populace of the south.

And what do we see below? An almost idyllic picture of minority enrollment. 28% minority, divided almost equally among blacks, Asians and Hispanics; all three Hispanic groups represented; and an almost-equal representation among the degrees awarded. The only problem I can see with a picture like this is that Justice Scalia might say it looks like a quota to him. (If that reference is lost on you, you might want to listen to the oral arguments in the Michigan case, Grutter v. Bollinger.).

Sample Minority Enrollment Data from the Official Guide

You never knew so much data was available, did you? You thought all you could do is ask your friends how their cousin liked Princeton Law. The data's here. Use it, and say "thank you" to Law Services for providing it at no charge.


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