Deo, Meera E.


The pandemic has brought to light myriad inequities, in legal education as elsewhere in society. Many of these barriers have existed for decades; while they have been exacerbated due to COVID, they will likely linger even as the pandemic subsides. This Article draws from both quantitative and qualitative data collected from students and faculty to reveal how the pandemic has heightened existing challenges in legal education, in particular ways and with distinctive effects on different populations. While inequities are a hallmark of legal education, the fissures and fault lines of these hierarchies have expanded during COVID. People of color, women, caregivers, those who are the first in their families to earn a college degree (“first- gen”), and others from backgrounds traditionally excluded from legal education are in particularly precarious positions due to the pandemic—though the inequities they face as law school students or professors have existed for decades. This Article reviews pre-existing challenges, introduces datasets used to test heightened disparities, and shares findings of increased burdens on students and faculty due to the pandemic. Given our amplified awareness of these problems and greater sensitivity to issues of diversity and inclusion, the Article concludes by proposing an equity-focused overhaul of legal education.

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