Law Schools' Academic Reputation Drops

diversity masksDiversity In The Legal Profession Begins With Law School

Law school is more diverse than ever before. But that’s not exactly saying much. During the 2013-2014 academic year, 26.9 percent of enrolled law students were minorities. During the same academic year, 29.1 percent of 1Ls were minorities. According to Tamesha Keel, the assistant dean for career services at Penn State’s Dickenson School of Law, law schools can and should do more to put more diversity into the legal profession.
If there has been any lesson from all of the unrest surrounding police violence, it is the importance of having a diverse representation in certain professions. Akin to having a diverse police force, it makes sense to have a diverse representation of attorneys.
Keel puts it best in her article, “Developing a diverse and inclusive law school community is critical for creating a richer experience and maintaining relevance. This experience translates into better lawyers with deeper understanding of the profession’s global realities, more capabilities in representing a diverse client base, and heightened cultural intelligence – skills that are absent without multicultural experiences.”
The truth is, if law schools do not increasingly admit and enroll minorities, not much will change. But admitting and enrolling is only the first step. “As champions of justice, law schools need to facilitate and encourage dialogue around diversity and inclusion, not shy away from potentially heated topics, such as race,” Keel says.
Of course, now more than ever, race issues are inundating American culture and media. Keel says instead of avoiding or simply ignoring these discussions, law professors should be the professors leading the campus discussions. Moreover, the law schools should be giving voice to their minority leaders.
Says Keel, “Cultivating a diverse and inclusive law school environment that best funnels qualified, culturally dexterous professionals into the profession is invaluable to the community at large, mirrors our melting pot society, and is pivotal in diversifying the legal profession. Using a more strategically ingrained approach should be a solution to positively impact the legal profession’s lack of diversity.”
Source: Huffington Post