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William S. Richardson School of Law graduates.

In a new survey of the best law schools for students of color, the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa tops the list as the best choice for Asian and Native Hawaiian law students.

The preLaw Magazine’s winter issue named the UH law school as the leading school in which Asian and Native Hawaiian students thrive. The criteria used included student enrollment, faculty diversity and student services.

The magazine reported that UH law school has a combined 50.1 percent majority of Asian and Native Hawaiian students; 41.7 percent minority faculty members; and highly rated student services. The magazine noted that UH law students also achieved a high cumulative GPA, and is the school with the highest number of Native Hawaiian students.

Great respect for differences is a true strength of our law school.

School of Law Dean Avi Soifer noted the remarkably diverse mix of students at Richardson, the law school’s celebration of Hawaiʻi’s varied communities, and the importance of cultural fluency as a key element of an excellent legal education.

“There is a close-knit sense of mutual support at Richardson, as well as a real partnership in understanding law and seeking justice through it,” said Soifer. “Our students create exceptionally strong bonds throughout their three years; great respect for differences is a true strength of our law school.”

University of California-Irvine was second among the top 25 law schools for Asian and Native Hawaiian students, followed by University of California Davis School of Law; University of California Hastings; and Santa Clara University.

The magazine based its decisions on a weighted formula that gave 50 percent of the score to the enrollment, and 25 percent each to the number of diverse faculty members, and the services offered to the diverse student groups.

In rating the services offered to students of color, preLaw assessed a range of indices, including: bar exam support; an office that assists minorities; a mentoring program for first-generation law students; student groups that promote the needs of each ethnicity; endowed scholarships for minorities; employment workshops designed to help minority students; and the availability of a summer prep program for admitted students.

—By Beverly Creamer

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