How Diverse Are the Law School Faculty in the United States?

diversity of law school facultyEarlier this month, The John Marshall Law School announced its latest effort to increase faculty diversity and inclusion efforts. The Chicago law school named its first Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Faculty on campus. This is the first appointment we’ve come across strictly focused on law school faculty diversity at an Illinois law school.

Earning the new title is Associate Professor Arthur Acevedo.

Supporting the Chief Officer of Diversity and Inclusion, Troy Riddle, Acevedo will work to increase representation of minorities and women in the classroom – both the students and the professors.

Aside from increasing the faculty diversity, the role also allows Acevedo to educate current and future faculty about best practices for handling diversity issues in the classroom and one-on-one with each professor’s students.

It got us thinking. How diverse are law school faculty across the country? In the past, our team at the Commission has written about the minority and female representation in the workplace and on the bench. However, we’ve never addressed the diversity of law schools.

The most recent study conducted on the law school faculty diversity that we came across was completed by the ABA back in 2013. Here’s what we uncovered.

When looking at the race and ethnicity of all full-time male faculty members, 15.9% were minorities and 82.7% were white, while the remaining ethnic groups were not identified.

Of the full-time female faculty, 22.7% identified as minority and 75.9% as white. As for law school faculty numbers, there were more males in full-time faculty roles than women (5,189 compared to 3,659).

We went back to The John Marshall Law School and spoke with a representative there. She provided us with the school’s diversity statistics. The John Marshall Law School’s student body has more than 34% minority students and nearly 50% female students. Its faculty diversity numbers reflect the national picture. 40% of its 47-person full-time faculty are women and 21% are minorities.

What changes will Professor Acevedo bring to the law school faculty diversity? Will we see an increase in pipeline programming as we see at the law school level? We look forward to finding out, and seeing how the diversity conversation will continue to change in the coming year. Kudos to The John Marshall Law School for taking this step towards a more inclusive future in the legal profession.

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