TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Critiquing the 'Gladiator Ethos' of Student-Edited Law Reviews

GladiatorEvelyn A. Grosenick (Public Defender, Nevada), In Defense of the Law Review, 45 McGeorge L. Rev. 305 (2013) (a response to Megan S. Knize (Editor-in-Chief, UC Davis Law Review, 2007-08), The Pen Is Mightier: Rethinking the "Gladiator" Ethos of Student-Edited Law Reviews, 44 McGeorge L. Rev. 309 (2013)):

I recognize that experiences vary greatly among law reviews and individuals. Despite individual differences among law review cultures, the need to publish issues influences the definition of success on all law reviews, which creates a common experience in some respects. Furthermore, this need to publish differentiates the definition of success in the law review context from the definition of success in the legal field and legal education. The main weakness of the gladiator model as an analytical tool for criticizing the law review is that it fails to take into account the full definition of success on the law review. Whereas the definition of success as winning drives the gladiator culture at law schools under Professor Sturm’s gladiator theory, the definition of success on the law review also includes producing a publication, which requires the members to work as a team. Publication cannot be accomplished without many of the aspects of the law review that Knize criticizes. In addition, the publication requirement encourages teamwork and creates an environment that celebrates prioritizing the needs of the team over the desires of the individual.

I am not arguing that the law review as an institution is perfect, nor do I believe that it is insulated from gender inequality. Rather, I am suggesting in response to Knize’s article that the necessity for teamwork on the law review counteracts the potential effect of the gladiator ethos and makes the law review more female-friendly than the typical law school classroom. Further, the hierarchical structure, rules, and deadlines serve essential gender-neutral purposes on law review and beyond.

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