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August 23, 2000
Contact: Ed Haggerty

1999-2000 Law School Applicant Pool

Women Applicants to Outnumber Men for First Time

NEWTOWN, PA (August 23, 2000) For the first time ever, it appears women applicants to law school will outnumber men for the Fall 2000 entering class, the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) announced today. While the numbers are preliminary and the margin is very close, there are currently 34,891 female applicants (50.19 percent) and 34,463 male applicants (49.58 percent); 151 (0.61 percent) did not indicate their gender.

"We’ve anticipated this day for a long time," said Janice L. Austin, an LSAC Trustee and Assistant Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. "This is no surprise, but it’s gratifying to see the gains that women have made over the past three decades."

Women have applied to law schools in increasing numbers since the early 1970’s when only 10 percent of applicants were women. Each year since then, women have experienced gradual increases. In 1981, women comprised approximately 37 percent of the applicant pool. By 1991, this percentage had climbed to 40. In 1995, the proportion of women reached 45 percent.

Overall, the number of applicants increased nationwide by 3.4 percent, the second year in a row that applications slightly increased. This is good news for many law schools that saw a significant decrease in applicants during the 1990s.

The number of minority applicants to law school kept pace with the overall increase in applicants. African-Americans comprised 11.2 percent of the applicant pool, up from 11.1 percent last year. Hispanic/ Latino applicants remained steady at 4.0 percent, while Chicano/ Mexican American applicants saw a very slight decrease to 1.8 percent from 1.9 percent last year. Puerto Rican applicants also dropped slightly to 2.6 percent from 2.7 percent last year. American Indian/ Alaskan Native applicants remained steady at 0.8 percent. Asian/ Pacific Islanders increased to 7.2 percent of the pool compared to 6.8 percent last year.

The proportion of White applicants rose to 66.7 percent of the applicant pool, up from 65.2 percent last year.

The applicant pool appears to be getting somewhat younger. The percentage of applicants age 22 and under has increased over the past five years from 24.0 percent in 1995 to 27.5 percent this year. Meanwhile, the number of applicants over age 31 has fallen slightly over the past five years.

The Law School Admission Council is a nonprofit organization whose membership includes 183 ABA-approved law schools and 15 Canadian law schools.


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