School of Law has most increase in black enrollment

The University of Texas School of Law ranks highest in increases in black enrollments among the nation's leading law schools between 1999 and 2007, reported the May 15, 2008 issue of The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.

Based on data from the American Bar Association, black enrollments at the university's School of Law increased from 43 students in 1999 to 77 students in 2007, an increase of 79.1 percent, the journal reported.

That major increase is in stark comparison to total black enrollments in the nation's law schools which inched upward only slightly in the 1999 to 2007 period, the JBHE reported.

According to the journal, "Tracking black progress at the nation's leading law schools is an important barometer for gauging how blacks are faring in reaching the top echelons of the legal profession. The leading law firms in this country recruit a large majority of their associates at the nation's leading law schools. Also, the nation's top law schools typically produce the law clerks for the nation's Supreme Court justices and other federal judgeships."

In addition to the university's School of Law, some other law schools have shown major improvement, the JBHE reported. Those include the University of Chicago with an increase of 72 percent from 1999 to 2007, when there were 43 black students enrolled at the law school.

The journal reported three other high-ranking law schools showed increases in black enrollments greater than 40 percent in the 1999 to 2007 period. They are the University of Notre Dame, Northwestern University, and New York University.

Harvard, the University of Virginia, Boalt Hall at the University of California at Berkeley, and Washington and Lee University all posted gains in black enrollments of 20 percent or more, the journal reported. Emory, Boston University, and the University of Michigan were the only other schools among the nation's 30 highest-ranked law schools to post gains in black enrollments during the period, the publication stated.