Women remain underrepresented in top law review leadership positions, according to data from New York Law School and Ms. JD, a nonprofit organization that supports the advancement of women in the legal profession.
Women comprised just 31 percent of editors-in-chief at the flagship journals of American Bar Association-accredited law schools last year, and only 29 percent of top editors at the flagship journals of law schools that landed among the top 50 in U.S. News & World Report‘s annual ranking, the Law Review Diversity Report concluded. That figure declined by 5 percent since the previous year.
“This year’s data shows that we have a long way to go to achieve gender equity in law review leadership,” said Ms. JD President Katie Larkin-Wong.
Law review editor positions are highly competitive and often are a prerequisite for the most desirable law jobs. The disproportionately low percentage of women editors-in-chief may well factor into employment trends, researchers said.
“When viewed in the context of female achievement in the legal profession, questions arise about whether the low percentage of female [editors-in-chief] is a precursor to the low numbers of women on the state and federal benches, in law firm partnerships, and as general counsel of Fortune 500 companies,” the researchers wrote.
The picture improved when researchers looked at women in all law review editor positions, not just editors-in-chief. Close to half of all editors — 43 percent — were women, and women made up an average 45 percent of all law review members. That tracked with the overall enrollment numbers at U.S. law schools, where 45 percent of last year’s students were women.
The researchers from New York Law School once again found that law schools withhigher numbers of women and minorities among their full-time faculty correlated to higher numbers of female students on the law review, although that relationship did not carry over to the numbers of women in law review leadership positions.
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