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Friday, May 27, 2011

Women in the Profession: More Data for Bill

Bill Araiza asks what to make of the data that the percentage of women in law schools has declined "from 49.05% in 2002 to 47% in 2010." I don't know, but here is some more information: the percentage of women applying to law school. (This data is from the LSAC, for 2000-2009 and 2010.) 

Female applicants compared to female accepted candidates (data from LSAC, 2000-2009, 2010):

Applicants Accepted

Difference between percent of applicants who were female and percent of admitted students who were female:

Applicants Accepted Delta

Perhaps it is premature based on this information, and maybe if we broke this out by rankings we would see something different, but my tendency now is to want to ask the question, "Why are fewer women applying to law school?"

Update: This is indeed how the question is framed in Vivia Chen's post: "Why are fewer women flocking to law?" 

Here is the spreadsheet from which I generated these graphs:


Posted by Sarah Lawsky on May 27, 2011 at 06:12 PM | Permalink


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Women tend to be, on average, more risk averse than men. A legal education is a very risky proposition these days if you don't have a huge scholarship or rich parents.

Also, I agree with McKie-Mason that this is much ado about nothing.

Posted by: GU | May 30, 2011 11:55:34 AM

A possible answer to that question, though it's of course only a hypothesis, is that women are smarter about looking ahead and balancing the costs of legal education against its expected payout, and (especially during a recession) are thus less likely than men to apply to law school.

My question, though, would be "why do we care about a 53-47% difference, especially when that difference fluctuates? Why can't we accept that that's probably as close to equal as we'll get, on one side or the other?"

Posted by: Andrew MacKie-Mason | May 29, 2011 1:24:40 PM

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