The class of first-year law students that arrived on campus this fall is unlike any other in the history of Notre Dame Law School.
The cohort of 183 students is the most diverse ever to enroll at Notre Dame Law School. One-third of all students in the incoming class are persons of color.
Of particular note, the new class has the most African-American students of any class in the Law School’s history. Nearly 13 percent of this year’s first-year students are African American.
Further measures of diversity show through in the geographic origins of the first-year students. They hail from 32 states, including the District of Columbia, as well as the Bahamas, Canada, and China.
In addition, students in the first-year class represent 117 undergraduate colleges and universities.
The first-year class also set records for having the highest median LSAT score (168) and the highest median undergraduate grade-point average (3.77) of any incoming class in Notre Dame Law School’s history.
“Our admissions process was a roaring success,” said G. Marcus Cole, the Joseph A. Matson Dean and Professor of Law at Notre Dame Law School. “I am very pleased with the composition of the new class.”
Cole has been able to interact with first-year students as a teacher and a dean this fall. He is teaching one of the Contracts courses that first-year students are required to take.
One day in the first week of September, Cole walked out of the classroom and saw a group of five African-American men chatting with each other in the hallway. The sight reassured him that the Law School’s diversity-and-inclusion efforts are working. In fact, the dean was so happy that he took a photo of the students.
“In the past, it would have been impossible to see five or more African-American men in the same classroom together at Notre Dame Law School,” Cole said.
Applications to Notre Dame Law School surged during the 2020-21 admissions cycle. The Law School received 3,694 applications — a 31% increase over the previous year.
The Law School also strengthened the expertise and diversity of the faculty this fall with the addition of three full-time professors, two new library faculty, and a visiting professor.