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First All-Women Class Of Top Law Journal Editors Leaves Behind A Byline And Legacy

Presenting the first all-women class of top law journal editors:

2/12/2020 7:00:00 PM

Presenting the first all-women class of top law journal editors :

The last three years of reported data all show women leading men in representation in law schools in the US. This past academic year ushered in a new first: women leading the masthead of each top law journal.

Share to linkedinThe class of editors-in-chief of the flagship law reviews at the country's top sixteen law schools... [+]at an event in Washington DC. Not pictured: Mary Marshall and Erin Delman.Duke LawThe last three years of reported data all show women leading men in representation in law schools in the US. This past academic year, however, ushered in a new first: women leading the masthead of each top law journal. 

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When Farrah Bara was elected to the editor in chief position at the Duke Law Journal in January of 2019, she noticed that the handful of other top EiCs already announced were also women. Soon after, more results poured in: more women. Another wave: more women. And when the final results came in, she couldn't believe it; every journal at the flagship law review of the top 16 law schools was to be lead by a woman. 

It's no secret that law schools tend to carry a competitive atmosphere. That can be intensified at the law journals where suddenly there's competition not only at your own school but among several schools. EiC posts are one of the most coveted credentials to list on a resume. At the top law schools, these positions have been held by former members of Congress, Supreme Court Justices and Presidents. It's a high honor but one that comes with a lot of pressure. Every EiC comes in knowing there are big shoes to fill and is very much aware of who else is the same position across other top posts.

While it isn’t unusual for these EiCs to congratulate each other following elections, Bara did do something a little out of the ordinary when she reached out last May with a proposal for the group. Knowing this statistical anomaly wasn't likely to repeat itself for a while, and conscious of the fact that this wave of women had come on the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, she suggested they do something special to commemorate this moment and their new class of editors. She asked if these women—busy with their own new publications to lead, working hard to finish out their academic career and already looking towards post-grad opportunities—would add something else to their plate and sign on to produce a joint publication. One by one, each of the women signed on. 

So now this outgoing class is leaving behind not only a milestone moment—one that's already been confirmed not to repeat itself in the new year—but something tangible. The publication, entitled"Women & Law," contains 14 essays authored by prominent women in the legal community broaching topics such as motherhood, the 19th Amendment and working as a woman of color in the field. The final result is 180 pages of astute historical and legal analysis and raw personal reflection on what it means to be a woman in law today. 

It's exactly what Noor Hasan would have wanted to read while preparing to lead one of the most diverse staffs the California Law Review had ever seen. What Laura Toulme might have wanted to reference while assuming her post as EiC at the 

Virginia Law Review 100 years after the first woman matriculated from the school. What Gabriella Ravida, who served as only the second black woman at the helm of the country's oldest law journal, The University of Pennsylvania Law Review

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, would have wanted to have on her desk. Beyond the publication, the past year marked an increased focus on diversity for each individual law journal as well. Lauren Kloss, EiC of the Cornell Law Review, when looking back at the group's accomplishments, said she was most proud of everyone's concerted efforts to elevate the voices of those who are often left unheard. When asked what this experience and this moment meant to them, Nicole Collins of the 

Stanford Law Review, Christina Wu of the Texas Law Review, Maia Cole of the New York University Law Review and Mary Marshall of the Columbia Law Review, all immediately echoed the responsibility they felt they owed not just to women but to all minorities in their field. 

It was a milestone year for these publications, each of which was created by a man, most of which at a time when laws were only being made by and for men—chiefly, white men. Already, most of the women who led these journals over the past academic year have passed on the torch to a new leader, but they've left a pretty big mark and, by many accounts, have grown the big shoes they were set to fill a year ago. That said, they recognize there's still more work to be done. 

In the foreward for the group’s joint publication, Bara wrote:"I treasure what we have accomplished, recognize that our work is incomplete, and hope that in a hundred years, the women and men of the legal community look back at this with bewilderment—for what we recognize today as exceptional has become, to them, utterly ordinary."

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First All-Women Class Of Top Law Journal Editors Leaves Behind A Byline And LegacyThe last three years of reported data all show women leading men in representation in law schools in the US. This past academic year ushered in a new first: women leading the masthead of each top law journal.

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For The First Time, The Journals At The Top U.S. Law Schools Are All Led By Women“It’s such a contrast to the ancient days when I was in law school,” U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said at a celebration. “There really is no better time for women to enter the legal profession.”

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