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A Kinder, Gentler Law School? Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Legal Education at King Hall

Lisa R. Pruitt & Celestial S.D. Cassman

Diversity is touted as a preeminent concern and important goal of the legal profession generally and of the UC Davis School of Law specifically. Known as King Hall (after Martin Luther King, Jr.), the UC Davis School of Law is relatively diverse compared to other law schools and enjoys a reputation as a kinder, gentler place to study law. This article and the study on which it is based investigate whether King Hall truly is, for students of various demographic backgrounds, the uniquely supportive community it purports to be. The article thus contributes to the burgeoning literature on the influence of a student's race, ethnicity and gender on her law school experience. Based largely on extensive statistical analysis of a student survey conducted at King Hall in February 2004, we conclude that, as at other law schools, statistically significant differences exist between the self-reported experiences and perceptions of women and minority students, on the one hand, and their male and white peers, on the other. diversify the profession and make it a more welcome and tolerable one for persons of diverse backgrounds, simply doing better than in the past, or doing better than other law schools, is not sufficient.

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