Association of American Law Schools
Statistical Report on Law School Faculty
And Candidates for Law Faculty Positions
Success Rates of Faculty Appointments Register Candidates, 1990-91 through 2000-01
The numbers of successful candidates shown in Table 7A represent those Faculty Appointments Register candidates from each of the eleven years who were listed in the following year’s Directory of Law Teachers. Prior to 2000-01, the highest success rate for Register candidates had been in 1990-91 when 12.9 percent of the candidates were successful. The success rate dropped to a low of 7.2% percent in 1996-97, but then rose to 11.6 percent for the 1997-98 candidate, 11.8 percent for the 1998-99 candidates, and 11.4 percent for the 1999-2000 candidates.
The most recent year (2000-01) shows a significant increase in success rates, with 15.0 percent of Register candidates appearing as new law teachers in the following year. The overall success rate for all eleven years is 11.2 percent and 10.9 percent for the most recent six years.
Table 7B provides an eleven-year comparison of the composition and success rates of Register candidates by gender. [Note: The “category percentage” columns show the gender composition of “all candidates” and “successful candidates.”]
Success rates of women candidates were higher than those of men candidates during the years 1990-91 through 1994-95. The differences in 1991-92, 1992-93, and 1994-95 were statistically significant (Chi-square test, P≤.05). This trend reversed for the 1995-96 candidates with only 9.1 percent of the women successful, compared to 11.0 percent of the men, not a statistically significant difference, but a significant shift in a well established trend. In 1996-97, women candidates again were more successful than men, but by only a small margin (8.2% for women compared to 7.7% for men). In 1997-98, 1998-99, 1999-2000, and 2000-01 the percentages of successful women candidates remained higher than that of men, but the success rate differences were not statistically significant. [Note: Lack of statistical significance, particularly in studies such as this which include data on an entire population (not just a sampling), does not necessarily indicate that an observed difference should be disregarded when interpreting the data. It is certainly noteworthy that women candidates have had higher success rates in all but one of the eleven years; this is not likely due to random chance.]
Table 7C compares the success rates of minority candidates to nonminority candidates. Minority candidates had success rates higher than those of nonminority candidates in all but one year (1997-98). The success rate of minority candidates rose dramatically to 26.9 percent in 1994-95, following three years of steady declines; and then dropped back to 14.6 percent for the 1995-96 minority candidates and still further to 10.6 percent for the 1996-97 candidates. The success rate of nonminority candidates had been relatively stable at about 10 percent until the drop to 8.0 percent for the 1996-97 candidates. Note that the overall success rate for 1996-97 was only 8.6 percent. The differences in minority and nonminority success rates were statistically significant in 1990-91, 1991-92, and 1994-95 (Chi-square test, P≤.01) and at a lower level of significance in 1993-94 and 1995-96 (Chi-square test, P≤.1). The 1997-98 data show a shift in the previously well-established pattern that minority candidates had higher success rates than nonminority candidates; 14.8 percent of the nonminority candidates compared to 10.0 percent of the minority candidates were successful. The 1997-98 rate difference is not statistically significant, but the shift from the pattern of previous years is important to note. In 1998-99, the success rate of minority candidates (15.7%) again was higher than the rate for nonminority candidates (13.6%) and in 1999-2000, the comparison is similar, showing the success rate for minority candidates (14.8%) higher than that of nonminority candidates (11.5%); these differences are not statistically significant. With the overall success rate for 2000-01 rising to the highest level of all eleven years (15.4%), both minority and nonminority rates rose. The 2000-01 minority candidate success rate (19.7%) again is significantly higher than the rate for nonminority candidates (14.3%), at the lower significance level (Chi-square test, P≤.1).
Register candidates belonging to minority groups have had a significantly higher rate of success. Of the 1,721 minority candidates listed in eleven years of the Faculty Appointments Register, 293 (17.0%) were successful. Comparing that to the 11.6 percent success rate (908 of 7,833) for nonminority candidates shows a highly significant difference (Chi-square test, P≤.01). This difference has not been as great in more recent years, but looking at the most recent six years shows only a slightly less significant difference, with the minority success rate of 14.1 percent higher than the nonminority success rate of 11.8 percent (Chi-square test, P≤.05).
Table 7D shows the success rates of candidates according to ethnic/racial categories. The American Indian/Alaskan Native group is too small for meaningful comparison within specific years, but the comparisons for aggregated years show these candidates to be among the more successful groups. Of the four groups comparable within specific years (Asian, Black, Hispanic, and White), Hispanic candidates had the highest success rate in five of the eleven years (1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1993-94, and 1999-2000); and Asians also had the highest success rate in five years (1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98, 1998-99, and 2000-01). In 1997-98, the only year in which nonminority candidates had a higher rate than minority candidates (see Table 7B), White candidates and Asian candidates both had success rates of 14.8 percent (the highest rate for that year).
White candidates had the lowest success rate in seven of the eleven years (1990-91, 1993-94, 1994-95, 1995-96, 1996-97, 1999-00, and 2000-01); Asian candidates had the lowest success rate in two of the earlier years (1991-92 and 1992-93); Black candidates had the lowest success rate in 1997-98 (the year with nonminority candidates more successful than minority candidates); and Hispanic candidates had the lowest success rate in 1998-99.
For the comparisons within specific years, statistically significant differences (Chi-square test, P≤.05) include: 1990-91 (21.2% Black to 12.8% White and 36.4% Hispanic to 12.8% White), 1991-92 (25.3% Black to 12.4% White and 26.9% Hispanic to 12.4% White), 1992-93 (26.7% Hispanic to 11.6% White), 1993-94 (none), 1994-95 (21.2% Asian to 10.5% White, 34.1% Black to 10.5% White, and 23.3% Hispanic to 10.5% White), 1995-96 (none), 1996-97 (18.8% Asian to 8.0% White), 1997-98 (none), 1998-99 (29.2% Asian to 13.6% White and 29.2% Asian to 11.9% Black), 1999-00 (none), and 2000-01 (none).
Aggregating the candidates for all eleven years, Hispanic candidates had the highest success rate (19.7%), followed closely by American Indian/Alaskan Native (18.8%), Black (18.3%), and Asian/Pacific Islander (17.5%) candidates. White candidates had a much lower success rate (11.6%); the rate differences between White candidates and each of the four minority candidate groups are statistically significant (Chi-square test, P≤.05).
Over the most recent six years (1995-96 through 2000-01), Asian/Pacific Islander candidates had the highest success rate (20.4%), followed by American Indian/Alaskan Native candidates (18.8%), with Black and Hispanic candidates having the same rate (13.8%). Again over this period, White candidates had the lowest rate (11.8%). The success rate differences between the Asian candidate group and each of the Black, Hispanic, and White groups are statistically significant (Chi-square test, P≤.05).
Success rates of Register candidates are shown by minority/nonminority-gender group in Table 7E. In the five years prior to 1995-96, the comparisons of success rates among the four minority/nonminority-gender groups are similar. Minority women have the highest success rate in four of the five years; only in 1991-92 did minority men have a slightly higher rate than minority women, 22.5 percent for minority men and 22.4 percent for minority women. The difference in the success rates of minority men and minority women were not statistically significant in any of these five years. Most notable in this period is that nonminority men had the lowest success rates in all five years. Except in 1993-94 when none of the four success rates were significantly different, the difference between the low success rates of minority men and those of both minority men and minority women were statistically significant (Chi-square test, P≤.05). In 1991-92 and 1992-93, the minority men rates also were significantly lower than the rates for nonminority women (Chi-square test, P≤.05). In 1994-95, both the minority men and minority women rates were significantly higher than the nonminority men and nonminority women rates (Chi-square test, P≤.01).
In 1995-96, minority men had the highest success rate (15.5%), followed by minority women (14.7%), nonminority men (10.7%), and nonminority women (8.4%). None of the rate differences are statistically significant, but this is the first year in which nonminority men did not have the lowest success rate. Note that in this year there was a significant drop in the overall candidate success rate (to 10.8% of all those with ethnic/gender information).
The overall success rate dropped still further in 1996-97 (to a low for the eleven-year period of 8.6% for all candidates with ethnic/gender information). Minority men have the highest rate (12.5%), nonminority women have the next highest (9.4%), with minority women (7.7%) and nonminority men (7.4%) having nearly the same rates. These rate differences are not statistically significant.
An even more dramatic shift from the pre-1995 pattern is seen in 1997-98. Nonminority women have the highest success rate (18.6%), followed by minority men (13.9%) and nonminority men (13.1%), with minority women having a surprisingly low rate of 6.3 percent. The difference between the high nonminority women rate and the low minority women rate is statistically significant (Chi-square test, P≤.01).
The success rate differences in 1998-99 are small. The groups in descending success rate order are minority men (16.5%), nonminority women (15.7%), minority women (14.5%), and nonminority men (12.5%).
In the most recent two years (1999-2000 and 2000-01), success rate differences remain relatively small. The most notable observations are that nonminority men again have had the lowest success rates for three consecutive years and that minority men and minority women have had the highest and next highest rates for two consecutive years. In 1999-2000, the rates were minority women (17.8%), minority men (12.4%), nonminority women (11.6%), and nonminority men (11.4%). In 2000-01, the rates were minority men (20.0%), minority women (19.2%), nonminority women (16.6%), and nonminority men (13.4%).
Aggregating the data over all eleven years shows minority men and minority women both with overall success rates of 17.2 percent. Nonminority women have an overall success rate of 13.9 percent, and nonminority men have the lowest rate (10.6%). The success rate of nonminority men is significantly lower than the rates for all of the other three groups (Chi-square test, P≤.01). And the success rate of nonminority women is significantly lower than the rates of both minority men and minority women (Chi-square test, P≤.05). The aggregated data for the last six years (1995-96 through 2000-01), shows minority men with the highest rate (15.1%), followed by minority women and nonminority women (both with rates of 13.0%), and nonminority men with the lowest rate (11.3%). The difference between the high rate of minority men and the low rate of nonminority men is statistically significant.
Although success rate differences among the four minority-nonminority/gender groups have not been as large in more recent years, there are still indications that Register candidates belonging to minority ethnic/racial groups and nonminority women candidates tend to have higher rates of success than candidates who are nonminority men.