UM Law Ranks #13 for Access and Equity, According to Study

A recent study published in Rutgers Law Review named the University of Mississippi School of Law No. 13 (tied with Wayne State) in access and equity among public law schools.

Christopher Mathis, a visiting assistant professor at the University of Iowa College of Law, evaluated American Bar Association Standard 509 from academic year 2019-2020 for public institutions on 12 different indicators not often addressed in other rankings systems:

  1. Black law student representation at the institution
  2. Latinx law student representation at the institution
  3. Black student representation in comparison to state representation
  4. Latinx student representation in comparison to state representation
  5. Proportion of Black law school graduates
  6. Proportion of Latinx law school graduates
  7. Proportion of full-time law students: women
  8. Faculty of color representation
  9. Proportion of full-time faculty: women
  10. Faculty of color to Black students ratio
  11. Faculty of Color to Latinx students
  12. Financial equity

In the abstract of the study, Mathis says:

“Over the past few decades, several comprehensive ranking systems, including the influential U.S. News and World Report’s Best Law Schools rankings, have emerged to provide useful information to prospective law students seeking to enroll in law school. These ranking systems have defined what is measured as ‘quality’ and what outcomes law schools focus on to gain a better position in the ranking. These rankings fail to measure what many law schools claim to be one of their longstanding goals— diversity, access, and equity.

One of the problematic and shocking reasons U.S. News cites for not including diversity measures in the ranking is that law schools themselves have no consensus on diversity. I counter this argument, asserting that while there may not be widespread consensus—for certain people—on diversity, there is substantial academic scholarship and agreement on the tenets of diversity that ranking enthusiasts can use to design an effective diversity measure. I maintain that any ranking that does not include diversity, access, and equity measures often leave communities of color and their interests in the margins. Therefore, this Article seeks to center the needs of Black and Latinx prospective law students through a new ranking system

Given that public law schools aim to increase racial/ethnic diversity—that is, the number of racial/ethnic minoritized students—because of their institutional missions, the Article provides the first ranking of public law schools on ‘Access and Equity’ measures. It describes ranking law schools based on measurable outcomes related to diversity, access, and equity. This ranking uses twelve access and equity measures that are significant to Black and Latinx law school fit. This ‘Access and Equity Ranking’ is the only ranking to date that will help Black and Latinx students identify which public law schools centers their needs.”

Read the full study here.