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Studies Finds That Faculty Diversity Impacts Law Review Memberships
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A new study suggests that law schools with a diverse faculty are more likely to have law reviews members and leaders who are minorities or women. The new report, completed by The New York Law School Law Review, looks at female and minority representation among law reviews membership and leadership at ABA-accredited law schools. Membership on a school’s law review is a big indicator of the future of career success.

”Getting into law school is only half the battle — for better or worse, grades matter a lot and law review membership is one of the most prominent indicators of academic achievement,” said Dana Brodsky, who is one of four 3L editors who conducted the research. ”Our survey shows a possible connection between the overall environment a school provides and the achievement of its women and minority students.”

  
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The study looked at three different pools — ABA-accredited law schools with some of the highest reported percentage of female faculty; law schools with some of the highest reported percentage of minority faculty; and then the top 50 law schools ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

The study found that, on average, the schools with a large female faculty had greater gender diversity among their student membership and leadership than law reviews at law school ranked in the Top 50 — 52.2 percent compared to 44.3 percent.

Also, these schools had a higher rate of female law review Editor In Chiefs — 60 percent compared to just 33 percent at law reviews in the Top 50 sample. However, only 13.3 percent had an EIC who identified as a person of color.

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Law reviews at schools with large minority faculty also had quite a significantly higher percentage of female membership — which is 58.6 percent compared to 44.3 percent. In addition, at least 46.2 percent of those law reviews had a female EIC, compared to only 33 percent in the Top 50 sample. And a 41.7 percent had an EIC who was a person of color.

The editors at The New York Law School Law Review said that their hope is that their study will spark a discussion for what factors drive or inhibit diversity on law reviews.



This study is an extension of an August 2010 report from Ms. JD, which is a nonprofit that helps women lawyers. That study had examined the female membership and leadership on the law reviews at law schools ranked somewhere in the Top 50 by U.S. News & World Report.

Ms. JD found that, even though the percentage of female students on those law reviews (44.3 percent) and in leadership positions (46.2 percent) was in line with the same percentage of women awarded law degrees during the same time period (45.7 percent in 2008), the representation of women in the EIC position was very ”disproportionately low” as just a measly 33 percent.



 

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