Friday, March 19, 2021
Karen Sloan (Law.com), Record Number of Black Students Take the Reins at Top Law Journals:
It’s turning out to be a banner year for Black law students trailblazing to the top of the masthead at flagship law reviews.
At least eight such law journals have elected their first-ever Black editors-in-chief this cycle, in what could be a sign that legal education’s renewed diversity efforts are yielding results and that law students are taking steps to combat their own internal biases. It looks to be the single-largest cohort of groundbreaking Black law review leaders on record, according to research compiled by Wake Forest University law professor Gregory Parks. Notably, seven of the eight incoming Black editors are women.
“One thing that has hindered Black people in the past from becoming [editor-in-chief] is other members of the journal who can’t check their biases at the door or who are not aware of them,” said Parks, who has been working to develop a list of Black editors-in-chief at the flagship journals of the top-ranked 100 law schools.
This cycle represents the acceleration of a trend that began in 2013, when the fairly dismal record of flagship law journals promoting Black students to the top editor post began to improve slightly. Of the 60 Black editors-in-chief Parks identified at top 100 law schools, more than half were appointed in 2013 or later. [Pepperdine Caruso Law is proud to have had two Black editors-in-chief of our law review prior to 2013: Jason Marsili and Jack White].
Parks isn’t the only academic to take note of the strides Black students are making on the law journal front. University of Houston Law Dean Leonard Baynes is currently crowdsourcing a more comprehensive version of Parks’ database that covers Black law review editors across all law schools.