Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Evaluating Hispanics in Law: Another Way to Look at It

Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Evaluating Hispanics in Law: Another Way to Look at It

Article excerpt

HO'S annual law school special issue contains data tfrom the National Center for Education Statistics, most specifically, its IPEDS database of the law schools granting the most JD degrees to Hispanics. We've also included new information this year to gauge the progress or lack of progress Hispanics are making in the field of law. Acquiring this new data has given us the opportunity to take a fresh look at law schools and the law profession, enhancing our coverage of the subject. It also presented a unique opportunity to take a step back and review the ascent of Hispanics in lawr over the past four decades.

It's a mixed message for Hispanics in this area. While more and more Hispanics are attending law1 school and earning JD degrees, Hispanic legal professionals are still not represented in robust numbers in the executive boardrooms of law offices. Hispanics have come a long way, but they are still one step behind on the corporate ladder.

It's been a steep uphill climb, but the number of Hispanics entering the legal profession has been steadily increasing over the past 40 years. Consider this: According to the American Bar Association, there w'ere little more than 1,100 Hispanics in law schools pursuing JD degrees in 1971. In 2013 that number now stands at more than 11,000 Hispanics attending U.S. law schools on the path to a career in the legal profession. It couldn't come at a better time for the burgeoning Hispanic population seeking legal advice, many of whom prefer to engage representation that shares their culture and/or language.

The U.S. News anil World Report Diversity Index for 2014 shows that Hispanics nowr are the majority/minority group in 53 of the 200 law schools in America that the magazine rates as having a measurable degree of diversity. In schools such as Stanford University, Western State University and Southwestern University where Asian-Americans were previously listed as the majority/minority student group (as early as 2004 and as late as 2009), Hispanics have now assumed that position. As more and more Hispanics are channeled into undergraduate and graduate schools, the number of majority/minority Hispanic law schools will surely increase. In this issue we feature the top 25 schools (by the largest percentage of Hispanic enrollment) from the Diversity Index.

As impressive as the numbers are for Hispanics in law school, it should be noted that Latinos/as have a long way to go to advance in the legal profession. …

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