Law School Discussion

Women in Law School

Women in Law School
« on: December 30, 2005, 12:03:01 PM »
In response to the question of whether being female makes it easier to get into law school, some stats from the National Law Journal:

(9/26/05)
55% of all current law school applicants are female (only 50% of graduates)

BUT at top schools:

(from 8/22/05)
Women make up 44.6% of this fall's class at the responding schools (the top 19), compared with 44.3% last year. The number of women entering this year's classes totaled 2,717, while the number of women entering last year's classes equaled 2,676.

Law schools participating in the survey were Columbia Law School, Cornell Law School, Duke Law School, Georgetown University Law Center, George Washington University Law School, Harvard Law School, New York University School of Law, Northwestern University School of Law, Stanford Law School, University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law, University of California, Berkeley School of Law, Chicago Law School, University of Michigan Law School, University of Minnesota Law School, University of Pennsylvania Law School, University of Southern California Law School, University of Texas School of Law, University of Virginia School of Law and Vanderbilt University Law School.

Do top schools just not care enough to recruit women?  Harvard certainly should, after last year's Summers fiasco... I wonder if this will play into their admin decisions.

It didn't seem to make a difference last year at Yale (per LSN):

Accepted females: 3.83 / 172.7
Accepted males:   3.74 / 173

Although you can certainly research your schools on LSN, as they do allow you to search by gender.

Because the attrition rate at law firms is so high for women, if a firm wants to maintain a high percentage of women further up the ladder, I suppose it might help in being hired later on.

Re: Women in Law School
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2005, 10:55:20 PM »
In response to the question of whether being female makes it easier to get into law school, some stats from the National Law Journal:

(9/26/05)
55% of all current law school applicants are female (only 50% of graduates)

BUT at top schools:

(from 8/22/05)
Women make up 44.6% of this fall's class at the responding schools (the top 19), compared with 44.3% last year. The number of women entering this year's classes totaled 2,717, while the number of women entering last year's classes equaled 2,676.


In drawing the conclusion that there's a disparity, you're assuming that the gender distribution of applicants to the top 19 schools is similar to that of all law schools in the aggregate.  It may be, but it may not be. 

It doesn't seem that the ABA school data on LSAC reports demographic data for applicants, just matriculated students.  Anyone know of a reliable source for applicant data reported by schools?

Nah, I'm not making that assumption at all... I'm just saying that top schools don't seem to be focused on getting a 50/50 mix.  If they did seek that breakdown, I'm sure they could get it.

I agree it would be very interesting to know female applicants for top school vs. overall.

Re: Women in Law School
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2005, 11:18:00 PM »
The differences are so small.  Are you sure that the numbers you're pulling down aren't just natural variance?  Did you expect that scores would be IDENTICAL? 

Bodhisattva

Re: Women in Law School
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2005, 11:27:15 PM »
Interesting, but that doesn't prove any systemmatic discrimination.  Maybe there are less very high-scoring females on the LSAT than men (the smart women go to med, perhaps?).  Or maybe women are more attracted to places near home, whereas men go for "prestige".

Re: Women in Law School
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2006, 09:25:32 AM »
Interesting, but that doesn't prove any systemmatic discrimination.  Maybe there are less very high-scoring females on the LSAT than men (the smart women go to med, perhaps?).  Or maybe women are more attracted to places near home, whereas men go for "prestige".

Actually, I started this thread in response to an argument on another thread about whether or not being female helps an applicant get into law school, not whether there is discrimination.  A male poster basically insinuated that a female Yale acceptee had been given a slight edge because of her gender.  So I wondered if adcoms do, in fact, give any weight to the checked "female" box (although I'm sure this varies from school to school). 

Granted, we don't have all the stats we need to know more concretely, but we know that there are a wealth of female applicants, yet top schools are ending up with a female-to-male ratio 44.3 : 55.7, which is statistically significant (after all there are 10% more men).  I agree that men may have higher LSATs, or may be seeking more prestige, and we don't know if more women declined offers to these top schools...

All I'm trying to do is determine if women get a boost from their gender in the admissions process, and I would say that from the limited information we have, they do not.  But I welcome any stats people can find to say differently, since, as a woman, I'd like all the help I can get!   

 ;)

Bodhisattva

Re: Women in Law School
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2006, 11:47:54 AM »
I was responding to this part of your opening post

"Do top schools just not care enough to recruit women?  Harvard certainly should, after last year's Summers fiasco... I wonder if this will play into their admin decisions."

I thought you were suggesting they are in fact discriminating.

Btw that "fiasco" was ridiculously overblown.  Summers was in no way out of line, in my view.

Re: Women in Law School
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2006, 12:19:18 PM »
I was responding to this part of your opening post

"Do top schools just not care enough to recruit women?  Harvard certainly should, after last year's Summers fiasco... I wonder if this will play into their admin decisions."

I thought you were suggesting they are in fact discriminating.

Btw that "fiasco" was ridiculously overblown.  Summers was in no way out of line, in my view.

No, I was suggesting that Harvard might recruit/admit women more heavily, to improve their PR standing.  I know that after the Summers hoopla, the university as a whole started some women-friendly initiatives; I don't know if any made their way into law school.

As someone who works in PR for a university, I will say that Summers made a huge PR error.  These things ALWAYS get overblown in today's media-saturated world, and talking about any group's "innate" abilities will pretty much always land you in hot water. 

Re: Women in Law School
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2006, 02:52:22 PM »

Granted, we don't have all the stats we need to know more concretely, but we know that there are a wealth of female applicants, yet top schools are ending up with a female-to-male ratio 44.3 : 55.7, which is statistically significant (after all there are 10% more men).  I agree that men may have higher LSATs, or may be seeking more prestige, and we don't know if more women declined offers to these top schools...

In response to the above "statistically significant" actually has a mathmatical meeting. 10% actually could be statistically insignificant depending on sample size and reliability...

snikrep

Re: Women in Law School
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2006, 03:16:17 PM »
Woah - law schools admit women?  When did they start doing this?

Talk about being out of the loop.

drama gal

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Re: Women in Law School
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2006, 03:29:22 PM »
I am definately out of the loop... Can someone explain, what exactly was the fiasco at Harvard last year?