Hailing from 108 colleges with 50 different undergraduate majors, 236 students began their first year at the St. John’s University School of Law. Some of these prospective attorneys, federal clerks, advocates, politicians or humanitarians are starting their law school education from ages as young as 20 or as old as 50.
These unique people have come together due to a carefully-planned, sizeable goal of St. John’s Law. That goal is to actively assemble a very diverse class that incorporates different racial, gender, spiritual and socioeconomic factors among others. This practice has been widely embraced by other law schools in the nation— in turn causing a significant effect on the legal field.
Alicia Meehan, associate dean for Admissions and Recruitment at St. John’s Law said “leaders in the legal community are definitely putting pressure on their workplaces to become more diverse and for them to adequately represent the population. In general, there is a push in the legal community to make lawyers more diverse. St. John’s is committed to producing more diverse lawyers but to also enrich our classrooms.”
This diverse collection of students is also the first in the law school’s history to be majority-female. That milestone makes St. John’s Law unique, in that while law school enrollment is about 50 percent female and 50 percent male, individual law school ratios are lacking, according to Enjuris.
“In the law, it has not always been equitable for women,” Meehan continued.
“In law firms nationwide, there is a big push to get more females into top management and partnership positions, but that has not historically been the case.”
It is important to note that the law school does not focus on gender in the application process. Instead, the admissions team adds to their strategy of yielding applicants who were offered admission a component to encourage women to accept their invitation to attend St. John’s Law.
“At our admitted students’ days, we had more female faculty and women in the administration such as myself present to them to show the strong role that women have here at St. John’s Law. We also had our female faculty do individual phone calls with the women we had already admitted,” Meehan adds.
Addressing the class at its mid-August convocation, law school Dean Michael A. Simons said, “A car slams into a group in Charlottesville— Who can actually do something? The answer is lawyers. You have the opportunity to make a difference because you have the authority to invoke the law. You, as lawyers, will have that power. You can do something about it.”