Factors influencing African-American students enrollment in Texas law schools.
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Hunter, Janis A.
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While extensive research has been conducted examining the college choice process of undergraduate students, little empirical research has been conducted on the relative factors affecting the law school choice of prospective African-American students, not only in Texas, but also nationwide. By developing a college choice model for African-American students considering legal education, this study will assist researchers and law school administrators in understanding the importance of these factors in the decision-making process. For example, how influential are (1) minority faculty role models and mentors; (2) financial aid; (3) assurance of employment after graduation; (4) supportive on-campus and off-campus organizations; and (5) scholarships in the law school selection process of African-Americans? The study was designed to survey prospective African-American students enrolled in Texas law schools during the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 academic years. Of the nine law schools located in the state of Texas, four private law schools, three public law schools and one historically Black law school chose to participate. Overall, 364 African-American students were admitted and enrolled in Texas law schools when both academic years were combined. Of the 364 African-Americans attending Texas law schools; 299 chose to participate in the study, which constitutes an overall response rate of 82%. In addition, seven of the eight law school administrators chose to participate in the interview portion of the survey, which constitutes an overall response rate of 87.5%. The study focused on the consideration of eleven research questions related to the factors that affect the law school choice of prospective African-American students. Additionally, a purpose was associated with each research question. The need to understand the factors that influence the law school choice of African-American students in Texas has never been greater, not only because of the pressures involved with today’s recruitment process, but also because of the declining number of African-Americans in the legal profession. Hopefully, these reflections might help (1) determine the most influential factors; and (2) assist Texas law school administrators in determining whether to commit resources to (a) the recruitment of minority students, (b) the hiring of minority faculty, and/or (c) curricular modifications.