Group of diverse students studying outside

Race and Ethnicity in Law School Admissions

Important Baselines Following the Supreme Court’s SFFA v. Harvard/UNC Decision

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2023 that institutions of higher education can no longer consider an applicant’s racial or ethnic status in admissions — even as they may consider an applicant’s experiences, perspectives, and interests that may be expressly tied to their individual racial identity. This shift in the legal landscape, which applies to public and private law schools that are recipients of federal funds, means, in practical terms, that essay questions and interviews may merit enhanced attention, particularly with respect to questions about an applicant’s life experiences and goals. These questions may include a discussion of issues related to, for example, perspectives or commitment on matters of social justice or racial equity. Nothing in the Court’s ruling prohibits any applicant from telling their complete and unique, individual story — including where their racial or ethnic identity may be important in and integral to that story. 

Of course, the kind of information that law schools elicit and evaluate will vary, school by school, based on the precise mission and context of each law school. Where considered by law schools, background information regarding an applicant’s life experiences and perspectives will be considered in light of other relevant admission factors considered by the law school.

Get Prepared with a PLUS Program