GUEST OPINION: The Record, Review-ed

BY DANIEL KIRSCHNER

TO THE EDITORS:

IN THE PAST TWO ISSUES OF THE Record, you have published a total of five pieces concerning the gender disparity at the Law Review. I cannot tell you how hurt many Law Review editors, including myself, have been to read the words in your pages. The Record has gone to great pains to depict the Law Review as removed from the law school community and uncaring about the number of female editors in our ranks. Neither could be farther from the truth. We have spent literally thousands of hours over the past year trying to understand the reason our double-blind selection process – a process that hides identities of applicants from every single editor, including myself, until after new editors have been selected – has resulted in a lower percentage of female editors than comprise the Law School class. The data, which your pages have assailed us for not releasing, has been painstakingly compiled and examined in an effort to understand what our organization can do to improve our gender ratio. The project of collecting this data and presenting it to the Law Review body began with the administration that preceded ours, with President Bert Huang and Treasurer Allison Tirres. Since the change in administration last February, we examined possible changes to our selection process and ran them through several years of competitions to study what effect those changes would make in the gender composition of the class. We have not released these studies publicly for fear that they compromise the confidentiality of our selection process. I was asked whether I would release data only once, just hours before your print deadline for the Thursday issue that contained an article and an editorial attacking our “secrecy.” Clearly those pieces were written before I was even asked the question.

As finals approached last year, our entire body convened in a series of meetings that lasted deep into the night to discuss what we could do. While one can fault the fact that our competition yielded a disproportionate number of male editors, I do not think that one can fault a lack of effort to address this problem. This effort will continue this year, and I welcome the input of the Law School community. Our discussion will not be starting from scratch, as it will be informed by the data, analysis and conversations of the past year. There are eighty-four Law Review members currently attending HLS. I have never once asked a single one of them not to speak to The Record or not to talk freely to anyone about the Law Review. The opinions and thoughts of our editors are obviously theirs to share with whomever they choose.

While I hope and trust that The Record will publish this letter, I have no such faith that they will report fairly about our organization. They have already expressed their inability to do this – from their decision to have one of their own staff members pose as a crying woman on the steps of Gannett to their decision to publish three more pieces about the Law Review last week without asking me or, to my knowledge, any other current member of the Law Review for comment. The Law School is a small community. I encourage members of this community to bypass The Record and talk to us. We welcome an opportunity to hear what you have to say.

Sincerely,

Daniel Kirschner

Daniel Kirschner is President of Harvard Law Review, Vol. 117.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Record responds to Mr. Kirschner’s criticisms. See Editorial, “In response.”

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