Race, Racism and the Law
"Speaking Truth to Power"

Methodology and Limitations

The 2004 Whitest Law Schools Report
The Top Ten Whitest Law Schools in the United States


  • The purpose of this report is to provide a way to measure to what extent non-minorities (whites)  are over-represented in  law schools, to provide a way of measuring changes and progress in equitable representation of minorities and  to provide a mechanism of comparing law schools  training of a racially representative group of lawyers as we move toward becoming a "nation of minorities".   
  • The objectives of this report is to:
    • measure the percentage of  "whites"  in each law  school
    • measure the difference between the percentage of whites in the law school compared to percentage of: 
      • regional and state  population 21-39 (whites)
      • regional and state LSAC Applications (whites).
    • to compare the schools on each of these measures.
  • The information sources for this report  are:
    • the 2004 ABA-LSAC official guide.  This is information reported to the ABA as a requirement of accreditation. The information in the guide is based on the 2002 application/admission cycle. (American Bar Association - Law School Admission Council).
    • the LSAC National Statistical Report : 1998-99 through 2003-03. The 2002-03 tables ere used in this report.
    •  U.S. Census Bureau,  American FactFinder, Census 2000 Summary File 1 (SF1) 100-Percent Data and Census 2000 Summary File 1 (SF1) 100-Percent Data, http://factfinder.census.gov/home/ (Last Visited: March 21, 2003).

The definitions used in this report are:

  • Whiteness is defined as caucasian plus unknown. Questions have been raised about the methodology of counting unknowns as whites.  Unknown presented a problem. If we did not include them as white, then schools  with large number of whites who failed to report their race would look less white  than  they actually were.  I decided to count unknown as white for several  reasons.
  • State LSAC application pool is the total number of  LSAC applications from persons who list a particular state as their home  state.
    • For example, of 99504  LSAC applications 6797  were from Texas applicants.
  • Historically White Law Schools" (HWLS) (n=179). are schools who have historically been de facto white with no significant history of proportionately serving minorities.
    • Specifically, excluded from the statistics are: 
      • Howard University
      • Inter-American University School of Law
      • North Carolina Central University
      • Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico
      • Southern University
      • Texas Southern University (Thurgood Marshall)
      • University of Puerto Rico.
    • University of Hawaii is included in the descriptive statistics but like University of Puerto Rico it primarily serves a state population which is minority. The question to be answer is whether the University of Hawaii is a historically white school. For the purpose of this report it is assumed that it is a HWLS.
  • Tier designation was based on the 2004 US News & World Report Rankings.
    • The tier system is based on the U.S. News and World Report annual ranking of law schools. 
    • While Deans, ABA, and LSAC all decry the ranking, Deans, faculty, alumni, students and applicants all rely on the ranking as a measure of external worth. 
    • The Top 100 rank reported by US News is broken into tier 1 and tier 2.
  • Percent Total Whiteness for each law school was calculated by adding total whiteness to total unknown. Whiteness does not include Foreign natitonsl.
    • For, example University of Texas School of Law has 74.2% caucasian, .7 foreign nationals and 4.9% unknown; minorities is 20.1%; Thus, University of Texas Total Whiteness is 79.1%
  • Percent of State Whiteness in LSAC Applications was calculated by dividing the number  of applications from whites from a particular state by the number of total applications from the state. (Table)
    • For example, 6797 applications were from persons who state of residence was Texas; of those applications 4043 were from whites. Thus,  4043 divided  by  6797  times 100 = 59.5%.
  • Percent of Regional Whiteness in LSAC Application was calculated by dividing the number  of applications from whites from a region  by the number of total applications from the region.
    • For example, the Southeast region consist of  Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.  The total number of applications from the region is 9897. Of those applications, 6226 are from whites or 62.9%.  Thus, the percent of whiteness in LSAC Applications from the southeast region is 62.9% (added 04/18/04)
  • Descriptive Statistics  include mean, median, minimum, maximum.  The purpose of these statistics is to  give the reader a 'picture' of the data collected and used.
    • These statistics included only Historically White Law Schools" (HWLS) (n=179).
    • Mean is the average, around which the data clusters. All data in a sample is used. It is appropriate for data measured at least at interval level.
    • Median is the middle value when data in a sample is arranged in order. It is appropriate for data measured at least at ordinal level.
  • Correlation Statistics used was the Spearman Coefficient.  
    • If a result is 'statistically significant', it implies a statistical test has been carried-out, and the probability of obtaining the observed data (or more extreme) by chance, is small typically less than 0.05 or less than 5 chances out of a 100.


  • When comparing schools for total whiteness, it was assumed that all schools pulled from the national pool of applications. That is, all schools application pool actually reflected 68% white.  
    • To the extent that a school is a truly regional, state or local school then % total whiteness when compared to availability of applicants could be skewed.
  • To the extent that "unknown" is a significant number of minorities, than the percentage of whites will be skewed upwarded and the calculations  will be not be valid for that particular school.
  • However, the  State LSAC application pool nor the Law School age population represent the actual  application pool for a specific school. A school's actual application pool could be very different.
  • State LSAC Application pool reflects the number of persons in the national LSAC pool who listed the named state as their home. While all the applicants from a particular state may not have applied to law school in their state, the number provides a good idea of the available pool.
    • So, for example, Texas Tech has 85.7% white students. In 2002 there was 6797 LSAC applications from the state of Texas. Of those applications, 4043 or 59.5% were from white applicants .   Consequently, the disparity (excess whiteness) between whiteness in the student body and in the state application pool is  26.2 percentage points. That is, based on the LSAC applications from the state, only 59.5% of Texas Tech Student body should be white.
  • For those who object to the methodology here, based on the idea that it does not take into consideration the "pool" of qualified applicants, see my essay on LSAT and Discrimination and my essay on Legal Education!:Incompetent.  As practiced in most law schools, the law school admission process is not  an issue of who can do law school and be a competent lawyer. It is mostly a cherry-picking exercise, over applicants who all would be capable of being good lawyers if legal education would educate instead of sort.


Last Updated:
Monday, March 20, 2006  

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Coming Soon!

  • The Whitest Private Law Schools
  • The Whitest Law Schools by Tier
  • The Whitest Elite Law Schools
  • Whiteness in Ohio Law School

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[ Methodology and Limitations ] Top 10 Whitest Law Schools ] Ranking (All Law Schools) ] Alphabetical Listing (All Schools) ] Statistics (Total Whiteness) ] Whitest Regional Law Schools ] Whitest Public Law Schools (State Population) ] Whitest Public Law Schools (LSAC Applications) ] "What Others are Saying" ] Comments Form ] LSATMisuse and Discrimination ] Discrimination in Law School Admission ]

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Copyright @ 2004
Vernellia R. Randall
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Contact: race.mail@notes.udayton.ed

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