Law School again tops nation as 'Best Environment for Minority Students'

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Beverly Creamer, (808) 389-5736
Media Consultant, William S. Richardson School of Law
Posted: Oct 24, 2014

Richardson Law School orientation session in August 2014.  Spencer Kimura photo.
Richardson Law School orientation session in August 2014. Spencer Kimura photo.

For the second year in a row, the William S. Richardson School of Law is at the top of a national list of 169 law schools that recognizes the “Best Environment for Minority Students,” according to The Princeton Review’s annual rankings for 2015.

Additionally, the Law School on the UH Mānoa campus was named fourth in the country for “Most Diverse Faculty,” and seventh in the nation as the law school “Most Chosen by Older Students.”  The Princeton Review reports that the average age of the Law School's entering class is 26.

Dean Avi Soifer said he is again gratified by the national recognition for Hawaiʻi’s very friendly Law School, which bucked a national trend by enrolling its largest incoming class ever this fall.

“We are proud to attract outstanding students who come to Richardson because of our ethic of accessibility, first-rate teaching, and a unique spirit of ‘ohana,” said Soifer. “Our students are already high achievers, and the legal education they get here opens greater opportunities for them as well as creating a supportive network of friends for life.”

Soifer said the Law School has an open and inclusive atmosphere that welcomes students from Hawai’i, across the nation and around the world. Its small programs for foreign-trained lawyers have attracted students from 50 countries.

The Princeton Review releases its annual rankings each fall.  It also features the Richardson Law School in the new 2015 edition of its book, “The Best 169 Law Schools,” published by Random House/Princeton Review.

As part of its annual evaluation, The Princeton Review conducts online student interviews about their schools. Richardson students spoke of the “friendly, supportive environment,” and noted that the small student population often meant there was more support when students were in crisis.

One student stated that life at the Law School “is not as carefree and relaxing as its gorgeous island setting might make you imagine.  The course load is demanding."

The Princeton Review noted that 74 percent of the student body at Richardson is composed of under-represented minorities, 56 percent of full-time JD students are women, and 3 percent are international. Of the student body, 77 percent are receiving some form of financial aid, with the average annual aid package at $32,326.

The rankings also pointed out that the average starting salary for graduates is $53,340.

The Richardson Law School has been deemed one of the 60 Best Value law schools in the nation, as well as one of the most reasonably priced, leaving graduates with one of the lowest levels of law school debt.  In-state tuition during the current academic year is $19,464 a year, while out-of-state tuition is $39,192 annually.

Today 3,325 students have received Juris Doctor degrees from UH, with more than 2,200 members of the Hawai‘i State Bar Association being Richardson graduates. Eighty percent of the school’s graduates stay in Hawaiʻi to work in law, business, government and the non-profit sectors.

The Law School also has an unusually strong track record in terms of its students finding employment within a few months of graduation.  Of the 2013 graduating class, for example, 87.5 percent of survey respondents reported being employed or pursuing advanced degrees within nine months of graduation.

The Law School began accepting applications on October 1, 2014, for the class entering Fall 2015. Priority deadline for applications is February 1, 2015. Additional information is available on the Law School website at

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