Traits Of Future Law School Applicants: A Sign of Things To Come?
Behind The Data: Comparing Law School Applicants To All College Freshmen looks at how the population of college freshmen intending to be lawyers differs from the general freshmen population. Surprise, surprise: the aspiring lawyers come from wealthier families and are more self-confident. The report is based on data from about 40,000 freshmen who went on to apply to law school between 2006 and 2009, a period that captures the beginning of an ongoing plunge in applications that continues today. Financial support and self-confidence are likelier to become even more prominent traits in times when the cost of law school remains high and the employment prospects of law school grads are not encouraging, or worse. The report's data showing the influence of family wealth underscores the big challenge ahead for increasing the percentage of lawyers who come from historically underrepresented and economically disadvantaged populations. But the report also contains some encouraging notes for increasing the percentage of some of the least represented populations: African-American and Hispanic students interested in law
indicated a greater focus on that goal than students in other racial/ethnic
subgroups. Of female African American
freshmen, a group that has increased its presence in law schools, 64% who said
they were interested in law school said they were not likely to change their
career plans. Also encouraging -- the college students aiming for law school placed greater importance on "becoming a
community leader," "influencing the political structure," and "keeping up to date with political affairs" than
did other freshmen.