Nationally, women represent half (50%) of law school graduates. In Utah, women’s representation of law school graduates is dependent on law school. For the class of 2020, women comprised more than half (55%) of students enrolled the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah but only 40% at the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU.
Utah trails national trends in enrollment and graduation of law students of color. While approximately a third (33%) of law graduates nationally belong to a racial or ethnic minority, in Utah that number ranges from 15% (S.J. Quinney) to 18% (J. Reuben Clark). By contrast, other states in the region and/or with similar demographic profiles also lead Utah in law school enrollment among students of color: 33% in Iowa, 21% in Idaho, 31% in Colorado, 40% in Nevada, 32% in Arizona and 55% in New Mexico. Only Wyoming and Montana are similar to Utah with 16% and 15% enrollment of students of color respectively.
National vs. Utah Trends
|Women Law School Graduates||50%|
|S.J. Quinney College of Law||53%|
|J. Reuben Clark Law School||40%|
|Enrollment/Graduation of Students of Color||33%|
|S.J. Quinney College of Law||15%|
|J. Reuben Clark Law School||18%|
|Women Practitioners (overall)||38%||23%|
|Women Partners of Law Firms||24%||12%|
|Respondents who report no senior women in their workplace||61%|
|Respondents who report less than 20% women in the workplace||40%|
You could see that there was diversity in our firm wherever I was. I have felt like just the token.
Women are significantly underrepresented in the profession in Utah relative to the nation overall. While 38% of attorneys nationally are women, women comprise less than a quarter (23%) of practicing attorneys in Utah. The gender gap is even greater among partners of law firms. While women represent nearly a quarter (24%) of law firm partners nationally, they hold only 12% of law firm partnerships in Utah. These trends are reflected in our survey responses: 61% of respondents indicated that there are no senior women in their place of employment and over 40% of respondents indicated that their office is comprised of fewer than 20% of women.
The lack of equal representation in legal careers presents significant challenges for women’s recruitment, retention and advancement. When women do not represent a critical mass, they experience token pressures that heighten their visibility, reinforce negative stereotypes and induce performance pressures.