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Monday, February 25, 2008

Diversity and Minnesota law schools

While law schools nationwide have been grappling with recent declines in the number of enrollments from diverse candidates, Minnesota's four law schools have been pretty much holding steady and, in one case, substantially increasing its pool of diverse students.

The University of St. Thomas School of Law was one of about 20 schools in the country to report a recent increase in minority enrollment of 20 percent or more, according to Cari Haaland, the school’s director of admissions. First-year enrollment of minorities has nearly doubled since UST Law started in 2001 -- going from about 8 percent to 15 percent in 2007, she said.

Locally, the University of Minnesota Law School is in the lead for diverse enrollments, with about 16 percent. UST Law is second at 15 percent. Hamline University School of Law is third at 13.3 percent. And William Mitchell College of Law is fourth at 11 percent.

All of these schools are pretty aggressive about recruiting diverse candidates to come to Minnesota (and to stay in Minnesota), but it can be tough when you are competing with more glamorous markets that don't have sub-zero winter temperatures. So given all that, I was pleased to hear Minnesota is bucking the national trend. All of these schools have strong plans to continue working toward a more diverse student body.

For more, check out the article from this week's Minnesota Lawyer, which is the first part of a two-part special focus on diversity in the law.

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