Student Study

A National Study on How Career Opportunities for Women of Color are Shaped in Law School

The Center for Women in Law and The NALP Foundation are joining forces to examine the experiences of women of color in law school. This study is critical because nearly 50% of law firm offices have no partners who are women of color. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the lack of women of color partners may stem in part from disparate experiences while in law school.

Grades, networks, and professional development play a pivotal role in the success of students once they begin practice. Women of color law students report a sense of isolation, exclusion from the best study groups, a lack of role models, disparate treatment by professors, and heightened objectification and sexual harassment at networking events. Notably, women of color report being “hit on” while networking, having to navigate quid pro quo offers, being talked out of seeking prestigious opportunities, and missing other foundational career experiences. These negative experiences manifest themselves immediately in decreased networking efficacy and loss of potentially important connections, but may also impact women of color’s confidence in their abilities, outlook for their careers, and other essential elements that facilitate career success.

The Center for Women in Law and The NALP Foundation seek to identify disparities between the experiences of women of color law students and their peers, document those disparities, develop actionable solutions, and engage stakeholders to adopt the recommendations. Researchers will collect quantitative and qualitative data through a survey of students in ABA-accredited law schools across the country and through focus groups.

You can donate now by visiting our donor page and designating your gift to the Center for Women in Law and adding Women of Color Study to the comment section.

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Thank you to our sponsors:

Walmart
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
Bloomberg Law
The Grant Family Foundation
Marcy Greer
Ciotti Law, PC