AUSTIN, Texas — Several initiatives undertaken by The University of Texas at Austin School of Law’s Office of Admissions have resulted in an increase in the number of African American and Mexican American students entering law school here this year.
Although an official figure for the number of students entering law school will not be available until after the 12th day of class, officials at the law school provided early estimates.
Preliminary counts show that eight African American and 39 Hispanic (including 30 Mexican American) students entered law school on the first day this fall semester compared with four African American and 28 Hispanic (including 26 Mexican American) students in the fall of 1997. This year’s entering class is expected to be about the same size as last year, when 468 students attended.
“We’re happy to see that our efforts are beginning to show some results. We remain firmly committed to achieving as diverse a student body as possible under the prohibition of affirmative action imposed by the Hopwood vs. Texas opinion of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The University continues, with the representation of the Vinson and Elkins law firm, to challenge the Hopwood opinion,” said law school Dean M. Michael Sharlot.
“We believe that interviewing applicants, inviting an optional statement on overcoming adversity and adopting new goals for admission played a major role in allowing us to make this positive step towards greater diversity. The Texas Leadership Program, established by the Ex-Students’ Association and Larry Temple, has been incredibly helpful in recruiting many of these students,” said Assistant Dean for Admissions Shelli Soto.