Paul L. Caron

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Why It Matters That More Law Reviews Are Electing Black Editors

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Karen Sloan (, 'A More Diverse Conversation': Why It Matters That More Law Journals Are Electing Black Editors:

[There are] at least nine first-ever Black editors-in-chief to be elected to lead flagship law journals during the 2021-22 academic year. Data compiled by several law professors show that’s the single-largest cohort of inaugural Black editors on record, and that a trend of Black students ascending to the role that began around 2013 has accelerated. Experts attribute that rise to multiple factors, including a greater awareness among law students of systemic racism and internal bias, and the greater visibility of non-white students assuming leadership roles on campus.

Regardless of the reason behind the shift, professors and students alike agree that the rise of Black editors-in-chief and, more broadly, top editors from diverse backgrounds, is an important development for legal education and the profession. First, having that position on their resume opens career opportunities for diverse students, giving them a leg up in snagging competitive and desirable positions such as federal clerkships. (Recall that Barack Obama was the first Black editor-in-chief of the Harvard Law Review.) But the ascension of diverse law review editors also has implications beyond individual students. Seeing a diverse top editor will likely prompt other students from underrepresented groups to pursue law journal and leadership positions on campus, students and professors say. ...

“When you look at the purpose of law journals, part of it is teaching. The other part of it is trying to ensure different legal ideas are challenged and built upon,” said Paul Willison, a third-year student at Case Western Reserve University School of Law who recently published a piece in the school’s flagship journal on changes law reviews can make to yield more diverse membership. 

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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