Law Students by Gender

The Wall Street Journal article, Women Notch Progress – Females Now Constitute One-Third of Nation’s Ranks of Doctors and Lawyers, reports that “”Women account for a third of the nation’s lawyers and doctors, a major shift from a generation ago when those professions were occupied almost exclusively by men, new Census figures show. Women’s share of jobs in the legal and medical fields climbed during the past decade even as their share of the overall workforce stalled at slightly less than half. Women held 33.4% of legal jobs—including lawyers, judges, magistrates and other judicial workers—in 2010, up from 29.2% in 2000. The share of female physicians and surgeons increased to 32.4% from 26.8% during that time. In 1970, women were 9.7% of the nation’s doctors and just 4.9% of its lawyers, according to Census data.” At Brooklyn Law School, the percentage of women law students is even greater as the 1,376 law students consist of 757 male students (55%) and 619 female students (45%).

An ABA article shows that statistics at BLS are consistent with law schools nationally but women’s enrollment at law schools has been steadily declining since 2002, when women constituted about 49% of law students. ABA statistics show that women made up about 47 percent of all first-year law students for 2009 to 2010, and 45.9 percent of all law school graduates. The all-time high was in 1993, when women’s enrollment bumped just above 50 percent. Figures for employment of new attorneys show the same downward trend as women make up 47 percent of first- and second-year associates, down from 48 percent in prior years. The 2011 Report of the Sixth Annual National Survey on Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms by the National Association of Women Lawyers surveying the nation’s 200 largest law firms states that: “It may not be a huge change, but it suggests that the pipeline may be shrinking.”