Desegregating the Legal Community: The Lack of Diversity in the Legal Field Is Grounded within America's Law Schools

By Redfield, Sarah | Diverse Issues in Higher Education, March 31, 2011 | Go to article overview

Desegregating the Legal Community: The Lack of Diversity in the Legal Field Is Grounded within America's Law Schools


Redfield, Sarah, Diverse Issues in Higher Education


Much was made a couple of years ago of then-U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's contention that "a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a White male who hasn't lived that life." Her critics claimed that it showed a less-than-judicial temperament.

In fact, Justice Sotomayor was merely stating what many in the legal community have been saying for decades: the legal community's lack of diversity has a serious impact on access to justice in America. This impact is seen in the disparate criminal arrest and sentencing rates. It is also seen in the common perception of unfairness felt by minorities working and appearing within the justice system. While numerous historical and community factors lead to these trends and concerns, the sustained and seemingly intransigent lack of diversity throughout all levels of the legal system plays a fundamental role. Unfortunately, this lack of diversity is grounded within America's law schools.

Why is the legal community's lack of diversity such a big deal today? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 89 percent of attorneys in the United States are White. So too are the majority of prosecutors and judges. This number has remained essentially the same since the 2000 Census, notwithstanding dramatic changes in the nation's racial and ethnic composition. Indeed, America is predicted to be 54 percent minority by 2050. With this growing imbalance, it is not surprising that research shows that underrepresented minorities often perceive their access to the legal system as neither fair nor just.

An important part of the solution lies with America's law schools. The schools often say the pool of qualified minorities is simply not large enough. This is only half right. The pool is certainly deep enough to meet current diversity standards, but it is nowhere near large enough for admissions levels to approach parity with the population at large.

But even if the argument were completely true, does that mean that we can't do more to increase the pool of diverse students interested in and qualified for admission to law school? Certainly not. It is incumbent on us to do more to support underrepresented students as they journey through high school and college. By doing so, we can deepen the pool that is ready to be successful once they reach the law school gates.

To these ends, law schools should revisit their admissions philosophies. I am not suggesting lowering admissions standards. Rather, we should revisit whether the current requirements, with their heavy reliance on LSAT scores, truly reflect applicants' ability to thrive in law school and succeed in the practice of law. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Desegregating the Legal Community: The Lack of Diversity in the Legal Field Is Grounded within America's Law Schools
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.