A recent article at law.com celebrates the number of women who currently hold editor-in-chief positions at law review journals in the USA. “For the first time ever,” writes Karen Sloan, the article’s author, “female law students sit atop of the mastheads of the flagship law reviews at each of the top 16 law schools in the country, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.” Sloan contrasts this new record with the stats from a 2012 study by New York Law School and Ms JD, when only 29% of editors at the most highly rated law reviews were women.
Sloan points out that the position of editor-in-chief at a law-review journal is a highly coveted position that lawyers are proud to feature on their resumes – particularly since appointments are decided by one’s peers. Sloan indicates that recent changes across the country are likely due in part to the 2012 study highlighting the lack of women in editor-in-chief roles at law reviews, but she believes they also reflect a general increase in women’s participation in all aspects of the legal profession.
She quotes Mellisa Murray, a professor at New York University School of Law, as saying, “It speaks well to the progress that many law schools have made toward cultivating a more hospitable environment for women, people of color, and first-generation law students,” adding, “but credit should not go to law schools alone. The law reviews deserve credit as well.”
I have mixed feelings about this. Historically there have been too few females in key positions in the legal profession and the resulting gender imbalance has not been okay. The question I am struggling with is whether a new imbalance has been created. If so, what can or should be done about it? It will be interesting to see what happens to this situation in the years ahead. The article reports that at least one male is in line to take the reins of a law review next year: Alexander Nabavi-Noori will be editor in chief at the Yale Law Journal in 2020-21.
I would be interested to know your thoughts on this or any other matter relating law firms and their management, either in the comments section below or directly via email.