Native African students and Law

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)

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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 12:50 am

Native African students and Law

Postby PrelawSteve » Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:02 am


My best friend from college who I have known since 2002 is looking into applying to law school just like me. During college, we were like brothers, despite coming from different racial backgrounds. For every endeavor, we have been involved in, he was the networker and I was the researcher. This endeavor is no exception.

He has not taken the LSAT, yet but here is how he is "under-represented":

1. He is a native African from an East African Country who moved to the US as a teenager, so he is now a citizen.

2. He is one year past thirty.

3. He took a break from his education to build a business which netted six figures for a few years( yes he can network great!!), yet for complex reasons the business has died down.

My questions are the following:

1. Will he be considered a foreign student or American student if he is not a citizen but lived in East Africa untill he was a teenager?

2. How much in demand are Native African students at T14 law schools? In other words will his being Native African have a greater or lesser boost then if he were an Afrfican American?

3. How easy is it to get a Biglaw associate position as a thirty something Native African from a T14 law school. ( He is aware of the school caste system and will only go if he gets into a T14.)

Although the big unknown (LSATS) is not known, will his demographics help or hurt him towards his career goal:

Getting into a T14 Law school and getting a job as a high powered Big Law associate?

Does he have a shot at such a goal or should I work on trying to convince him to choose another path?

I would tremedously appreciate your thoughts on this matter.



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Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Native African students and Law

Postby bk1 » Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:40 am

1. I'm assuming he went to a US college so he'll be looked at like everyone else.

2. Black applicants are in demand at every school. They all lump Native African together with African American so just by the racial questionnaire they won't be able to tell the difference between him and someone born here. Even then, they will still likely view him the same as someone born here for purposes of classifying him as a URM. So in all likelihood, equal.

3. I don't think his age will hurt him. In fact his work experience and maturity will be a huge boost. I've heard conflicting viewpoints as to whether there is a substantial boost in being black for firm hiring. Whether there is or there isn't, he will be able to take advantage of minority job fairs (e.g. Cook County Bar Association Minority Job Fair) and will be able to apply to diversity 1L SA programs.

Black will help him. Age will be a nonfactor. Work experience will be a decent soft (and will definitely help at places that require work experience like NU and Harvard). If he gets a T14 he's got a good shot at biglaw.

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