Deans Tell Students Law School Is Too White

Deans from Case Western University Law School in an email to students said they shouldn’t be satisfied with the diversity of the student body following the release of a report ranking the Ohio law school the 144th whitest law school on a list of 200.  

“First, we should not be satisfied with the diversity of our student body, even on the measures used in this study,” deans Jessica Berg and Michael Scharf said. “It does not mean we have an equitable number of students who identify as Black, Native American, Latinx, Asian American, Pacific Islander, or other under-represented groups.”

The rankings, published by Race, Racism and the Law, were released on March 9 by retired Dayton University law school professor Vernellia Randall.

The study is based on its “Total Whiteness score, Excess Whiteness over LSAC applicant pool, and Excess Whiteness over state population.”

Total whiteness refers to the percentage of white students in first-year enrollment for 2017-2019. Excess whiteness is based on the percentage of white students in the school compared to the LSAC applicant pool.

The overall score ranges from 0 to 129 – the lower the rank number the higher the whiteness. Half of the 200 schools listed scored more than 44 points. The top five whitest law schools are the University of Georgia, Samford University, Mercer University, Pepperdine University and Southern Methodist University. The top five least white law schools are Pontifical Catholic University of P.A., Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Howard University, Texas Southern University and St. Thomas University.

Of the 200 law schools listed in the study, 10 percent had no excess whiteness, 76.5 percent more whites in their first-year class than was in the National LSAC application pool, 62 percent had more whites in their first-year class than the state applicant pool, 59.5 percent had more whites in their first-year class than was in the regional pool and 69.5 percent had more whites in their first-year class than was in the state population.

Additionally, the nine non-historically white schools were significantly less white than historically white law schools and public law schools were whiter than private law schools but was not statistically significant.

Berg and Scharf in a statement to the Washington Free Beacon said the school was “committed to diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our law school community and know that we still have work to do in this area.

“This study draws attention to one measure, but its greater impact may be to help reinforce the need for additional conversations and initiatives,” they added.