UH Law School 7th in ‘Diversity Honor Roll’ Among America’s Top 27 Law Schools

November 2, 2012

In a new, detailed analysis of diversity in the nation’s law schools, Hawai‘i’s William S. Richardson School of Law ranked 7th in a “Diversity Honor Roll” that includes 27 ABA-accredited law schools.

This new study by The National Jurist magazine ranked Richardson Law School among the top 20 schools in the United States for overall diversity, and also included it among seven schools with the highest diversity of faculty.

The publication used student and faculty data evaluated according to a complex matrix. Editors noted that the final outcome of the new study is a listing of schools “that have a breadth of races both in student bodies and faculty.”

The National Jurist endeavors to cover the latest national trends and issues in legal education. In August the magazine tapped Richardson Law School as one of the nation’s “Best Value” Law Schools based both on cost and job outcomes.

Dean Avi Soifer said that the Law School is pleased to be recognized for its diversity, which Richardson has nurtured from its founding 40 years ago.

“What is unique about our Law School is not simply our diversity,” said Soifer, “but also the exceptional ways in which we celebrate and learn from difference while maintaining a kind of cohesiveness that is rare if not unique within the world of legal education.”

To determine the most diverse law schools, the magazine broke data from schools down into six categories. These are the categories, with the applicable percentages reported at Richardson:

  • Percent of minority faculty. (43)
  • Percent of black students. (1.4)
  • Percent of Asian and Hawaiian students. (39.3)
  • Percent of Hispanic students. (7.5)
  • Percent of American Indian students and students defining themselves as “two or more races”. (25.5)
  • Percent of Caucasian students. (26.32)

In preparing its analysis The National Jurist scored schools on a 1-10 chart in each category based on the national averages of those racial groupings. For instance, a school that matched the national average for any race received a 7, while a school with 30 percent or higher than the national average received a 10. The study then weighted the student categories at 70 percent and the faculty at 30 percent to determine a final score.

The median score for all accredited law schools was 4.83. Twenty-six schools scored 6.0 or higher to earn honors in the study. Richardson’s overall score was 7.1. Its faculty diversity score was 10, while its student diversity score was 5.8.

Dean Soifer noted that he hoped in the future the magazine would be able to take a more fine-grained approach in its definitions of minority students, as it did with Native Hawaiians this year. He would like to see further refinement among Asian groups, for example, to offer a fuller picture of how the nation’s law schools are faring in offering broad access.