Law Reviews

Earlier this month, roughly around the time that newly minted law review editors were hearing the good news, we raised the issue of how many minorities and women are being selected for law review.

It’s not a new debate; whether underrepresented minorities (URMs) and women are adequately represented on the nation’s leading law journals has long been a subject of controversy. But in light of the tough legal job market, in which credentials like law review membership are more valuable than ever, it’s certainly a subject worth revisiting.

We kicked off the discussion with this tip:

You may want to investigate proportions of URMs [underrepresented minorities] and women at some top 5 law reviews. I hear that [one school] took 29 1Ls, but only 7 women and no African-Americans. [Another school] took 45 first-year editors, about even male/female, but only 2 URMs in the bunch.

Which law journals are being referred to here? And how are URMs and women doing at other law reviews — perhaps yours is mentioned — around the country?

UPDATE: Please note that a few updates and corrections have been added since this post was originally published. Check them out after the jump.

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It’s early August. Law students are getting ready to go back to school. And some students — lucky or unlucky, you be the judge — are going back earlier than others, to work on their schools’ law reviews.

Over the summer, rising 2Ls around the country received the rather important news: whether they made it on to their school’s law review. Serving on the school’s official law review can involve a lot of work. But it’s generally regarded as worth it, in terms of the prestige / résumé boost, intrinsic value of the experience, and networking opportunities with current and former editors. If you’ve been selected, congratulations!

New editors of the Harvard Law Review — former home of President Obama and still the nation’s most prestigious law journal, despite various incidents of ridiculousness over the past few years (scroll through our past coverage) — were notified last month, around the week of July 19. The good news was delivered primarily by phone.

The Yale Law Journal also welcomed its new editors last month, after selecting them through a Bluebook and editing competition. At a mixer I attended here in New York, for YLJ alumni and newly accepted editors, one joyous new recruit told me that he celebrated his acceptance by going out to Hugo Boss and buying shiny silver pants dress shoes. (“I went to Prada at first, but they did not treat me the way I should be treated!”)

Silver pants New shoes from Hugo Boss? Making law review is clearly a big deal.

But is the prize of law journal membership being distributed fairly? This year, at certain law journals, controversy appears to be brewing about the new editors….

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(And a question about minorities on law review.)

A younger Elena Kagan

It’s Elena Kagan’s “wise Latina” comment. Just as Court watchers dug up a controversial, eight-year-old statement by Sonia Sotomayor last year, they have unearthed a law review article that Kagan authored in 1995 when she was a young law professor at the University of Chicago. In it, she criticized the Supreme Court confirmation hearings as they existed then (and now) as a “vapid and hollow charade,” in desperate need of reform to get at a nominee’s true judicial philosophy and views.

Now the statement is being thrown back at Elena Kagan as she prepares for her own confirmation hearings. Such is the nature of the modern confirmation process, when everything one has said or written can be found in the immense digital file cabinet that is the Internet (which is not always a bad thing, as Lat and Kash argue in a Washington Post piece today on myths about the confirmation process). A search of “Kagan and charade” in Google returned over 5,000 results this morning.

This seems like an opportune time to take a more thorough look at the 25-page book review from which the sound bite comes, and to highlight other passages that shed light on a 35-year-old Kagan’s opinion of the confirmation process. Not all of it casts a dark shadow when brought to light today. Regarding a nominee’s qualifications for the highest court, she presciently asked:

Must, for example …, a nominee have served on another appellate court — or may (as I believe) she demonstrate the requisite intelligence and legal ability through academic scholarship, the practice of law, or governmental service of some other kind?

Perhaps by serving as Harvard Law School dean, and then as Solicitor General?

What other gems can be found in the 15-year-old document?

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UConn Law Logo.JPGWho hasn’t “killed off a grandparent” in order to obtain an extension on a paper? I had a friend who went through six grandmothers in four years of college.
But one University of Connecticut law student is not joking around. As we understand it, an editor of the Connecticut Law Review received an email this morning from a rising 2L who is trying to write on to law review. The submission is due tomorrow, but the 2L is seeking an extension because of troubles back on the home front. The 2L pointed the law review editor to this article in the Hartford Courant, which allegedly concerns the 2L’s parents (one of them a local lawyer):

Police continue to negotiate with an armed man who they believe is holding his estranged wife hostage and who claimed that his house is wired with explosives.

We hope the 2L received that extension — and that everything turns out okay.
For students who do not have crazy situations like parental terrorism taking place at home, I imagine your requests for extensions are weak.
Update (9:15 PM): According to the Hartford Courant, the hostage has been safely released.
Update (11 PM): Not surprisingly, the 2L received the requested extension. All’s well that ends well.
Hostage Drama Unfolding In South Windsor [Hartford Courant]
Hostage Situation May Involve Hartford Lawyer [Connecticut Law Tribune]

Cardozo school of law logo.JPGWe’ve been bringing you a number of stories about law students melting down as the recession, finals, swine flu, and a spate of year-end elections takes its toll on America’s next generation of lawyers.

The latest missive comes from a female Cardozo student who accuses the Cardozo law review board of gender bias. It turns out that this student lost an election to be Editor-in-Chief of the Cardozo law review.

But it also turns out that the executive board of the Cardozo law review has no female members.

The situation is so surprising that school officials have organized a meeting of all the law review 2Ls to discuss this matter. Unfortunately, the student who lost the Editor-in-Chief election will not be able to attend. Fortunately (for Above the Law readers), she decided to commit her thoughts to email:

I believe the journal does have a problem with gender bias in elections that we should address. It was striking that, for the second year in a row, the executive board does not have a single female member. It also stands out that, of all the editorial board positions with input into the article selection process for both the Law Review and de novo, not a single position is held by a woman.

The all-male composition of the most influential positions on the editorial board is at odds with the composition of the journal. It is also at odds with the objective performance of the female members of the staff. Of the thirty-seven Vol. 30 staffers, sixteen (43%) are women and twenty-one (57%) are men. The results of the blind Note-selection process mirror these statistics: of the sixteen Notes selected for publication in Vol. 31, seven (44%) were authored by female staffers and nine (56%) were authored by male staffers. Statistics are not available by which I could objectively assess the quality of staffers’ C&Sing work. However, the Note publication rates suggest that, when blind judging is applied, female staffers perform as well as male staffers. This objective fact regarding the quality of female staffers’ Notes is not reflected by the results of the past election. I believe there were well-qualified female candidates for the executive board and other editorial board positions who were overlooked.

Are law reviews still just an elaborate old boy network? You’d think not, you’d hope not, but this student provides other compelling stats after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Gender Bias on the Cardozo Law Review?”

Linda Greenhouse 6 New York Times Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg* Linda Greenhouse to $300K! [New York Observer via ABA Journal]
* Duties of a law school dean: attend parties, appear at conferences, talk to alums. And don’t forget the herding of cats — aka law professors. [TJ's Double Play]
* Even law review editors screw up sometimes. “Constructive acceptance”? [Concurring Opinions]
* Who’d have thunk it? Sometimes blogging can help people. And stuff. [Legal Blog Watch]
* Ethan Leib dresses up as a giant chicken to teach Contracts, thereby guaranteeing ABA accreditation. [PrawfsBlawg]
* Orin Kerr points out online interviews “with eight of the nine current Supreme Court Justices (all but Souter) about legal writing, advocacy, and the process of deciding cases and writing opinions.” [Volokh Conspiracy]
* Ann Althouse on John McCain and being a “natural-born citizen.” [Althouse]
* Hillary to Russert: You can’t handle the truth! About my tax returns. [TaxProf Blog]

Paul Mahoney Dean Paul G Mahoney UVA Above the Law blog.jpgWe bring you some news from the University of Virginia School of Law, which last year was voted America’s Coolest Law School by the readers of Above the Law. UVA has a new dean: Professor Paul Mahoney. Congratulations, Dean-To-Be Mahoney!
Professor Mahoney, who will replace John C. Jeffries Jr. as dean when Jeffries steps down in July, has a glittering resume: MIT, Yale Law, clerkships for Judge Winter (2d Cir.) and Justice Marshall, and four years at S&C. He joined the UVA law faculty in 1990. Word on the street is that Paul Mahoney was “the internal favorite” and that “students [are] pleased” by his selection, which didn’t come as a surprise:

[H]e was widely expected to be the guy. I’m sitting in his wife’s class right now (she’s a prof here too), and not even she [Professor Julia D. Mahoney] has said anything about it. Just prattling on about bailments…

Meanwhile, while we’re training the spotlight on Charlottesville:

Journal tryouts are ongoing at UVA and presumably other law schools. This is the official Feb Club blog’s take on journal tryouts

It’s an entertaining post, characterizing journal tryouts as “a Pyramid Scheme of misery”; check it out here. Elsewhere on the Feb Club blog, a group blog devoted to the monthlong cycle of parties at UVA Law, you can find delicious photos of shirtless studs and busty babes. Check out the main page by clicking here.
Update: In other UVA-related news, Professor Michael Klarman, who is beloved by students and faculty alike, is moving to Harvard Law School.
Paul G. Mahoney—Scholar, Teacher, and Corporate Law Expert—Named University of Virginia Law School Dean [University of Virginia School of Law]
Paul G. Mahoney bio [University of Virginia School of Law]
Journal Tryouts are the Biggest Scam in the Law School [Feb Club Is Why Daddy Left]
Michael Klarman to join HLS faculty [Harvard Law School]
Earliest: Congratulations to America’s Coolest Law School: UVA!

Tyra Banks America's Next Top Model 100 Top Law Reviews Above the Law blog.jpgMark your calendars for February 20, the season premiere of America’s Next Top Model: Cycle 10. Exciting!
Meanwhile, National Jurist has issued a list of America’s top law reviews. To review the 100 law reviews in rank order, click here, then scroll down.
We’re pleased to see the Yale Law Journal, in whose offices we once toiled (Book Reviews Editor, Volume 108), tied for first place with the Harvard Law Review. And if the HLR keeps on publishing stuff like this, maybe the YLJ won’t have to share the top spot next year.
The Top 100 Law Reviews [TaxProf Blog]

Tyra Banks America's Next Top Model 100 Top Law Reviews Above the Law blog.jpgMark your calendars for February 20, the season premiere of America’s Next Top Model: Cycle 10. Exciting!
Meanwhile, National Jurist has issued a list of America’s top law reviews. To review the 100 law reviews in rank order, click here, then scroll down.
We’re pleased to see the Yale Law Journal, in whose offices we once toiled (Book Reviews Editor, Volume 108), tied for first place with the Harvard Law Review. And if the HLR keeps on publishing stuff like this, maybe the YLJ won’t have to share the top spot next year.
The Top 100 Law Reviews [TaxProf Blog]

Harvard Law Review small Andrew Crespo Above the Law blog.jpgLast year, we ran a popular series of posts on the Harvard Law Review (click here and scroll down, to the posts marked with a mushroom cloud over Gannett House). The gist of the coverage, as described by one of our sources, was that the Review’s new, left-leaning leadership “is running the journal into the ground with a cabal of radical ideologues, making the outgoing editors nervous about the future reputation of the journal.”
We got some flak for our HLR coverage. But in view of what the Review is publishing these days, as discussed extensively in the blogosphere last week — see, e.g., the Volokh Conspiracy and PrawfsBlawg — we can’t help gloating. Just a little.
Harvard Law Review on Punitive Damages and the 14th Amendment [Volokh Conspiracy]
Cruel and Unusual? On the Harvard Law Review’s Case Comment on Philip Morris [PrawfsBlawg]
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of the Harvard Law Review

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