Understanding Needs and Challenges of African American Students Enrolled in the Moritz College of Law

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The Ohio State University

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There is currently a vast amount of underrepresentation of Students of Color who attend law school. However, the even greater amount of inconclusive documentation accounting for the experiences of Black law school students is concerning. Documenting the issues that Black students face in educational pursuits of obtaining their Juris Doctorate is what will eventually evoke change and help them excel in their greatest potential. Thus, the aim of this study was to support the exigency of enhanced supportive measures for African American Students enrolled in the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State. In an effort to evaluate the conditions in which African American Students have endured in their journey to arrive at the Moritz College of Law, an exploratory study was utilized through cross-sectional interviews to gather qualitative descriptive data. Each interview consisted of a series of questions related to constructs and lived realities of childhood and adolescent experiences, impact of COVID on the lack of legal opportunities for students, challenges faced during 1L through 3L, and methods of responding to adversity. Based on 12 in-depth interviews with adults who identify themselves as underrepresented minorities within the African American community, the results of this study present different barriers that are divided into two groups: institutional barriers and internalized barriers. This study demonstrates that if adequate steps are not taken to improve diversity and inclusion, the minoritized population at Moritz College of Law will continue to face more challenges as they navigate gaps in equities within the legal profession. It is pivotal to acknowledge and study the social determinants that persist in African American communities that directly affect students of color in law schools.



Moritz College of Law, Legal Profession, qualitative research, cross-sectional interviews, barriers, challenges, needs, Black Law Student(s)