NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Women Flocking To The Law

March 26, 2001

Only one in every 10 first-year law students in 1970 was a woman. But women are expected to be the majority of students entering law schools this fall.

The growth in women lawyers is expected to help propel more women into leadership positions in politics and business.

  • Last fall, women comprised 49.4 percent of the 43,518 students who began law school.
  • As of March 9, more women than men had applied for admission to law schools this fall.
  • Despite the increasing number of women graduating from law school and passing bar exams, the proportion of judges and partners at major law firms who are women has not kept pace, experts report.
  • In addition to the law, women are making inroads in other endeavors -- in schools of medicine, education, veterinary medicine and business.

Many women, as well as men, view a law degree not necessarily as a ticket into the legal profession itself -- but as an opportunity to enter other professions, such as business, politics or as a government policy analyst.

The forthcoming prevalence of women in the legal profession could have a profound impact on public policy, observers predict. For example, a woman entering medicine would not likely have the kind of impact of a woman entering the law.

Source: Jonathan D. Glater, "Women Are Close to Being Majority of Law Students," New York Times, March 26, 2001.


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