Of the best law schools for Black students, Howard University ranks No. 1

Howard Law School is No. 1 ( Photo courtesy of Yolanda Young)

As president and executive director of Lawyers of Color, I am proud to announce the release of the third edition of the Black Student’s Guide to Law Schools & Firms. 

Lawyers of Color is a nonprofit devoted to promoting diversity in the legal profession and advancing democracy and equality in marginalized communities, and our annual report ranks the best law schools for African American students.

For the first time, Howard Law is No. 1 on the list of the “Top 25 National Law Schools for Black Students.” The remaining schools on the list, ranked in order from No. 2 to No. 25, are as follows:

2. Columbia Law School

3. University of Chicago Law School

4. Harvard Law School

5. Duke University School of Law

6. Georgetown University Law Center

7. University of Pennsylvania Law School

8. University of Virginia School of Law

9. Stanford Law School

10. Yale Law School

11. Cornell Law School

12. University of California, Berkeley School of Law

13. University of Alabama School of Law

14. New York University School of Law

15. Washington University School of Law

16. Vanderbilt University Law School

17. Georgia State University College of Law

18. The George Washington University Law School

19. University of Texas School of Law

20. Boston University School of Law

21. Temple University Beasley School of Law

22. Boston College Law School

23. Fordham University School of Law

24 University of North Carolina School of Law

25. University of Michigan Law School

The report notes that among the best regional law schools, Iowa and North Dakota law schools awarded Black graduates more than 5 percent of their juris doctor degrees. That’s more than the law schools at the University of Arkansas Fayetteville and Louisiana State University, which are located in states with high percentages of Black residents.

Law schools were evaluated based on 10 criteria that included the school’s bar passage rate and the percentage of jobs law students received that required a JD degree. A bonus was calculated for law schools with Black deans, of which there are a record 29. A quarter of law schools have more than 10 percent Black faculty.

This increased diversity is due to increased mentoring and training of prospective law professors and administrators. The academy has been intentional in its efforts to increase the law school leadership pipeline. We are now seeing dividends. Having greater minority representation in the academy serves as inspiration for black law students.

Lawyers of Color also ranked the best regional law schools. In addition to the overall scoring, greater weight was given to the percentage of JD degrees a law school awarded to Black law graduates and the amount of residency tuition, which could not exceed $35K.

Of note: Iowa and North Dakota law schools awarded Black students more than 5 percent of their JD degrees. That’s more than the University of Arkansas Fayetteville and LSU, which are located in states with high percentages of Black residents.

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