UH Law School Ranks First in the Nation for Diversity

March 15, 2013

      For the third time in six months, the University of Hawai‘i William S. Richardson School of Law has been cited nationally for its strength in the realm of diversity – in particular for its focus on a multi-racial student population – and also for its diverse faculty.
       This week U S. News & World Report put Richardson Law School at the top of its national “Diversity Index,” meaning it’s the school “where students are most likely to encounter classmates from a different racial or ethnic group.”
       It pointed out that a school that enrolls a large proportion of students from any one ethnic group will not receive a high diversity index rating because there is a low likelihood that students will encounter others from a different ethnic group than their own. It also noted that the index “doesn’t measure how successful schools are at meeting ethnic diversity goals.”
        The groups forming the basis for the calculations are: African-American, Asian, Hispanic, American Indian, Pacific Islander, Caucasian and multi-racial. At Richardson, 30 percent of the class falls into the multi-racial grouping, while the remainder of the class is divided amongst other groups.
          Richardson Law School Dean Avi Soifer said, “We are particularly proud that our school embraces diversity. If we are the most diverse Law School in the nation, we are almost surely the most diverse in the world.”
         Soifer added, “Our students, staff, and faculty members manage to celebrate our diversity, without forgetting where we came from.”

         Five months ago the UH Law School was ranked 7th in the “Diversity Honor Roll” among America’s top 27 law schools by The National Jurist magazine. In that calculation Richardson placed among the top 20 U.S. law schools for overall diversity and among the top seven with the highest diversity of faculty.
        A month earlier, in October of 2012, Richardson was ranked by the Princeton Review as 1st in the nation as the “Best Environment for Minority Students.” At the same time, the Princeton Review ranked Richardson 4th in the nation for its “Most Diverse Faculty,” noting that 42 percent of the faculty members belong to members of minority groups and 43 percent are women.
        In the newest U.S. News rankings released this week, Richardson was also cited for the strength of its part-time evening program, which ranked in the top 30 evening programs. Richardson ranked 29th in the nation –- a slight drop from its ranking of 23rd in the nation a year ago.
         The consumer guide that annually ranks graduate programs nationwide noted that part-time programs “allow working professionals to balance a career with evening or weekend courses.” It also pointed out that students can usually earn a J.D. in four years. At Richardson, part-time students also have the option of moving into the full-time program after their first two years.
          Last year marked the first graduation of the inaugural part-time evening program cohort at Richardson Law School. The law School launched the part-time program in 2008 with an initial class of 25 students and the program now has 82.
        Program director Liam Skilling said at the Law School graduation ceremony last May that it has been particularly gratifying to work with students already immersed in other careers. “What they bring in terms of life experience enriches the classroom,” Skilling stated, “but they also have incredible potential to make positive change for Hawai‘i.”