Diversity on the Law Review

BY JIA ’05

In 2002-03, women faculty composed 34.2% of all law school faculty. [Association of American Law Schools]

In 2002-03, minority faculty composed 14.8% of all law school faculty. [Association of American Law Schools]

Of the 80 professors (tenured and non-tenured) currently at Harvard Law School, 11 are white tenured women, 4 are black tenured men, 1 is an Asian-American tenured man, and 1 is a black tenured woman.

In 1990, a student group called the Harvard Law School Coalition for Civil Rights sued the law school, alleging that “the hiring practices of the law school had operated to exclude a disproportionate percentage of qualified women and minority candidates for tenured and tenure-track positions, in violation of state antidiscrimination law.” [Matthew S. Bromberg, 1 The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education 75, 76-77 (1993).]

In 2001, the University of Pittsburgh School of Law’s law review accepted its first black student editor in 13 years. [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

From 1999-2003, the University of California’s California Law Review has had only six black or Hispanic student editors among the 180 it has chosen. [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

In 2004, the University of Texas’s Texas Law Review’s class of 53 new members contained one Hispanic student, one Asian student, and one student of Middle Eastern descent. [De novo]

In 2004-05, the Harvard Law Review’s board of editors is: 75% White25% Minority10% East Asian editors7% South Asian editors7% black editors< 4% Hispanic editorand 73% Male; 27% Female.

According to the Law School’s own admissions data, this year’s first-year class is 45% women and 32% students of color. [Harvard Law School]

According to US News & World Report’s America’s Best Graduate Schools 2006, Harvard Law School is currently:56% Male; 44% Female54.3% White10% African-American12% Asian-American2.1% Mexican-American0.5% Puerto Rican2.7% Other Hispanic-American0.6% American Indianand 14.5% Unknown[US News and World Report]

In Volume 118, Harvard Law Review’s published authors consisted of:22 white men4 white women1 Asian-American man In Volume 117, Harvard Law Review’s published authors consisted of:25 white men2 black men1 Hispanic man5 white women1 black woman

(With the exception of solicited pieces, for which the Law Review actively sought out specific authors, all of the outside articles accepted by the Law Review as part of Volume 117 were written by white male authors.)

In Volume 116, Harvard Law Review’s published authors consisted of:25 white men5 white women1 black woman1 international author

(With the exception of solicited pieces, all but two of the outside articles accepted by the Law Review for Volume 116 were written by white men, and one of those two articles was co-authored by a white man.)

Research released in November of 2004 revealed that attorneys of color account for 4.32% of the partners in the nation’s major law firms and that women account for 17.06% of the partners in these firms. These numbers suggest that, relative to the attorney population as a whole, and relative to the demographic composition of law school enrollment, women attorneys and attorneys of color continue to be under-represented among partnership ranks at these firms. [NALP]

This Term, 19 of 35 law clerks on the Supreme Court are white men, 11 are white women, one is a Hispanic man, and four are Asian-American women. There are no black clerks. [Tony Mauro, Clerk Tally, Legal Times, Nov. 15, 2004, at 1.]

There is no shortage of qualified women or minority students and scholars. Yet, as the data we present above shows, in legal academia, women and minorities are staggeringly underrepresented in the faculty and on legal student journals. We publish this information in an effort to: (1) expose the law school’s student body to what we believe are important trends at HLS and within the greater legal community; and (2) as a call to women and minority students to participate in this year’s Law Review Writing Competition. For good or for ill, the Law Review occupies a position of prominence in the legal community.

Membership on the Review not only opens doors for students to clerkships, firms, public interest organizations, and academic opportunities, but also allows students to take part in deciding what constitutes first-rate scholarship. Being an editor on the Review is one way for women and minorities to become agents for change in an institution that both produces and reflects the composition of the legal profession.

Although we cannot fully explain any of the above facts or figures, we do think we as students can change future trends – both by lobbying the law school’s administration to hire more women and minority faculty and by increasing the representation of women and minorities not only on the Law Review, but on all of Harvard’s law journals and on the boards of HLS’s premier student organizations. As 3Ls, we hope that 1Ls who care about ensuring diversity of viewpoints in scholarship and fostering equal opportunity in the channels of legal academia will take up these efforts.

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