Following up on my previous post, Women Hold Editor-In-Chief Positions At The Top 16 Law Reviews: Press Release, Duke Law Hosts D.C. Event Honoring Women’s Advancement in Legal Profession and at Helm of Journals:
Opening a remarkable conference she described as a “love letter” to future women lawyers, Duke Law School Dean Kerry Abrams praised the editors-in-chief of 16 top law journals who had initiated the event and charged them with carrying on work to advance women’s rights that was begun 100 years ago.
“It is you, the students, who are our future,” Abrams said in her opening remarks at the “Honoring Women’s Advancement in Law” conference held Feb. 3 at the Duke in DC offices. “In the next 50 years, it is you who will decide the jurisprudence of gender equality. So this event is our love letter to you. It reflects both our pride in your achievements and our hope for what you will do.”
The daylong event marked a singular achievement: On the centennial of the ratification of 19th Amendment, women occupy the editor-in-chief slot, a prestigious peer-selected leadership position, of the flagship law journals at the 16 top-ranked law schools in America. All but one of the women attended the conference, which was packed with distinguished speakers including feminist icon and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an early architect of litigation challenging gender discrimination.
“It’s not just an honor but a great responsibility to be the EIC of a law review,” Abrams said. “For all 16 of these schools to have chosen women is a really unusual and special occasion. But it’s not an accident. The 19th Amendment put into motion the right for women to vote, to serve on juries, to run for office and it created the progress that has led to the circumstances that we now have today.”
To commemorate the historical moment, the 16 EICs also collaborated on a special joint publication called Women & Law, a collection of 14 essays by prominent women in the legal community, including Abrams, the James B. Duke and Benjamin N. Duke Dean of the School of Law and professor of law, who contributed an essay titled “Family, Gender, and Leadership in the Legal Profession.” The idea for the joint journal was conceived by Duke Law Journal editor-in-chief Farrah Bara ’20, and championed by Professor Marin K. Levy, after watching women sweep the top 16 schools’ law review elections last January – a watershed moment that will not be repeated at the end of their terms this semester.