Newest students add more diversity to Hoosier law schools

Indiana’s law schools have enrolled diverse and academically solid 1L classes for the fall 2020 semester, indicating the COVID-19 pandemic did not adversely impact the recruitment of students by the institutions.

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney is welcoming an entering class with the largest percentage of women in the school’s history. Of the first-year class at the Indianapolis institution, 57% are women. Prior to 2020, the highest proportion of women in any 1L class was 53% in 2017. And the seven-year average for the incoming classes from 2013 through 2019 was 48% women and 52% men.

Notre Dame has admitted one of its smaller classes this fall at just 155 students, 60 fewer than reported to have started in August of 2019. Dean G. Marcus Cole previously told Indiana Lawyer the resources and facilities available at the law school better accommodate fewer students.

The smaller class has less racial and gender diversity than the class that entered in 2019, although the South Bend school still has a higher percentage of entering minority students than the state’s other two law schools. This year, the 1L class is 46% women, down from 51% reported at the start of the 2019 fall semester, and 23% minority, a decrease from 27% one year ago.

Indiana University Maurer, which enrolled its highest percentage of first-year women law students in 2019, has a smaller proportion of female students in its class entering in 2020 but a higher proportion of minority students. The percentage of women has dropped from 56.5% in 2019 to 46% in 2020. The percentage of minorities has climbed from 16.5% last year to 20% this year.

A preliminary profile of the incoming classes at Indiana’s law schools is as follows:

IU Maurer

Number of 1L students: 179

Median LSAT: 162

Median GPA:  3.78

Percentage of women: 46%

Percentage of minorities: 20%

IU McKinney

Number of 1L students: 244

Median LSAT: 154

Median GPA:  3.44

Percentage of women: 57%

Percentage of minorities: 16%

Notre Dame

Number of 1L students: 155

Median LSAT: 167

Median GPA:  3.75

Percentage of women: 46%

Percentage of minorities: 23%

The start of this academic term also marks the first time since 1879 that Valparaiso Law School is absent from the start of a school year. Pressure from the Great Recession and declining bar passage rates forced the northwest Indiana institution to close after the spring semester, leaving bittersweet memories for the alumni and faculty.

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