More minorities apply to College

By Vickie Snow

More minority students are applying to the NIU College of Law, and the number of minorities enrolled in state law schools also is on the rise.

According to an American Bar Association survey, 22 percent more minority students are enrolled in law schools than three years ago.

The annual survey questioned 174 ABA accredited law schools, including NIU, said David Gaebler, associate dean at the College of Law.

“We’re almost two-thirds (65 percent) ahead this year compared to last year’s minority applicants,” Gaebler said. But this “substantial increase” is counteracted by more applicants in general, he said.

Out of about 300 NIU law students, almost 7 percent, or about 21 students, have a minority status, he said.

The number of NIU minorities in the first year of the law program has slightly increased from 6 percent in fall 1988 to 9 percent in fall 1989, Gaebler said. The law program consists of three years.

However, since the first-year class is made up of about 100 students, “a couple of students makes a difference on the percentage,” he said.

Gaebler said the increases at NIU are a result of minority recruiting efforts, a “high priority” at NIU. “The strategies are paying off…despite scarce resources for minority recruiting,” he said.

Judith Malen, admissions and financial aid director for the College of Law, previously said the NIU recruiting program is aggressive, particularly when recruiting minorities.

The strategies include a “number of things specifically aimed at minority students,” Gaebler said.

One of the things that has improved recruiting strategies is the new position of a special assistant to the director in financial aid. The special assistant is a minority student and makes contacts on NIU’s behalf, Gaebler said.

NIU also attends national law school forums to attract minority students, he said.

However, NIU “doesn’t have enough money to attract some minorities,” Gaebler said.

Most NIU law graduates working in Illinois earn between $22,000 and $32,000, said a College of Law placement office spokesman.