Law firm partners. Judges. Law professors.
You can add another category to the list of legal jobs in which women are underrepresented: Top law review editors.
A survey of law reviews found that women account for 44% of staffers but only 33% of editors-in-chief. Ms. JD, a non-profit organization that seeks to advance women in the legal profession, surveyed general interest law review staffs at the top 50 law schools, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. The organization looked at the 2008 and 2009 academic years.
The survey focused on law reviews to gauge women’s leadership and achievement in law schools, said Ms. JD executive director Jessie Kornberg.
“Rightly or wrongly, law review membership — law review leadership in particular — is seen as an important indicator in the most competitive job markets, including clerkships and academia,” Kornberg said.
Some of the survey results were encouraging, Kornberg said. For instance, women accounted for 46% of those with leadership positions at law reviews, roughly equivalent to the percentage of women law graduates during the survey period. This should help position women for the most competitive jobs, Kornberg said.
But the dearth of women editors-in-chief signals a problem, she said.
“There is obviously some lingering glass ceiling when it comes to the highly coveted editor-in-chief position,” Kornberg said. “There is an adequate pipeline of women on law review staff to achieve better parity here. Some other force is at work.”
The gender breakdowns of law review staffs did not vary significantly by law school ranking, the survey found.
This is the first Ms. JD survey of law review staffs, and the group plans to expand the survey during the new academic year to look at the representation of minority women and examine how staff and leadership positions are selected.
“We hope this gender diversity data will contribute to a broader dialogue about women’s experiences in law school and the extent to which the intersection of gender and the law school experience may contribute to the disparities evident in later stages of women’s legal careers,” the report reads.
Karen Sloan can be contacted at email@example.com.