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Report Chronicles Changes in Law Education

The Law School Survey of Student Engagement, released Tuesday, chronicles changes in law education in the United States from 2004 to 2019. While law education has become more diverse in terms of race and ethnicity, those gains have been unequal. For example, Black men doubled their percentage of the total number of law students — from 3 to 6 percent — in the 15 years of the survey, while Black women saw no similar gains. White men are still the majority of law students, though that group fell from 86 percent of total students in 2004 to 74 percent in 2019.

The report also details ballooning debt burdens for law students. In 2004, only 18 percent of students surveyed expected to have debt greater than $100,000 when they graduated. Now that number is 39 percent. For Black and Latino students, that number is over 50 percent.

Other areas covered in the report include levels of satisfaction and job expectations for law students. Overall satisfaction with law school has remained constant. White women reported the highest average satisfaction with their experiences, while Black women reported the lowest average level of satisfaction. Roughly half of respondents expected to join private firms upon graduation.

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