Female law students start at a disadvantage, research says

Madison Rexroat

Women have made great strides in gaining a presence on college campuses, particularly with law schools. 49.4 percent of the country’s law school students are women, but when it comes to these women getting jobs, there is a gap in the statistics.

New research, as reported in the New York Times, suggests that fewer women than men are enrolled in the country’s most prestigious schools. Instead, significantly more female law students go to lower-ranking schools.

This uneven distribution leads to a difference in job prospects for female law graduates. According to the article, women hold fewer than 20 percent of partnerships at law firms and are underrepresented in law-related jobs, even though there is a high number of women with law degrees.

The inequality starts with the application process. Research by the Law School Admission Council showed that in 2015, 79.5 percent of applications by men were accepted into law school while 75.8 percent of applications by women were accepted.

Once those applications are accepted, research reveals further discrepancy. Top-tier schools enrolled 47 percent of women in the 2015-16 academic year. Lower-ranked law schools, on the other hand, enrolled 53.5 percent of female students.

A probable reason for this difference is the increasingly high emphasis on LSAT (Law School Admission Test) scores. Women, who on average have lower LSAT scores than men, are automatically put at a disadvantage.

LSAT scores also influence financial aid possibilities, which can be a huge factor in choosing a law school.

To read the full article in the New York Times, click here.