When the Supreme Court took an ax to affirmative action in SFFA v. Harvard, we knew the effects would ripple right through the law school admissions process. And while admissions officers are doing their darnedest with the tools left them, it hasn’t been easy.
Now the admissions gurus at Kaplan have surveyed law school admissions officers at 85 law schools to find out what’s going down on the ground level. And it doesn’t look great.
A whopping 87 percent of respondents said they were somewhat or very concerned about the impact on diversity at law schools across the nation. Approximately 59 percent said they were somewhat or very concerned about their specific school’s ability to create a racially diverse student body.
Amit Schlesinger, executive director of legal and government programs at Kaplan, had this to say about the results.
“In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action, Kaplan’s survey reveals that law schools are grappling with concerns about maintaining diverse student bodies, which is something many of them have long prioritized. However, the silver lining lies in the promising trend of an increasingly diverse applicant pool, which presents an opportunity to mitigate any challenges they may face in achieving a representative student body. It’s also important to note that while law schools can no longer explicitly use race as a factor, we know that some law schools have broadened their personal statement criteria, which may give admissions officers a deeper understanding of prospective students’ backgrounds, while also remaining within the bounds of the Court’s ruling.”
And though 2023 was great for diversity — law schools saw their most diverse class ever — Schlesinger warns, given the Court’s ruling, that it won’t last, saying, “It’s unlikely this streak will continue given the Court’s decision, but law schools will likely do their best to stem the bleeding, while not violating the ruling.”
Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter @Kathryn1 or Mastodon @[email protected].