2011-2012 Law Review Diversity Report


Media Contacts: Nancy Guida, 212.431.2325, nancy.guida@nyls.edu
Jordan, 212.431.2191, latoya.jordan@nyls.edu

New York Law School Law Review Issues Second Annual Report
Examining Diversity on Law Reviews Nationwide

Results Show a Relationship between Diversity on Law Faculties and Law Reviews;
The Low Percentage of Women Editors in Chief May Foreshadow the Low Percentages of Women Partners, Judges, and General Counsel

New York, NY (October 19, 2012)—The New York Law School Law Review (NYLS) has issued the 2011–2012 Law Review Diversity Report, its second annual report examining female and minority student representation among law review membership and leadership nationwide. The report, based on research conducted in collaboration with Ms. JD, includes 2011–2012 results for the flagship law review or journal at 85 ABA-approved law schools.

“Diversity on law reviews is important because it not only leads to a greater breadth of legal perspectives reflected in law review publications, but may have implications for the career prospects of female and minority law students,” said Emily Freeborn 3L, features editor at NYLS and a co-author of the report. “By studying the demographics of law reviews, we can see what groups are underrepresented and begin to understand why.”

The report includes information Ms. JD compiled from 35 law reviews at law schools ranked in the Top 50 by U.S. News & World Report, as well as information NYLS compiled from law reviews at 50 additional ABA-approved law schools that are ranked outside the Top 50, and a combined sample of all 85 responding law reviews. (Ms. JD has issued a companion report focusing only on results from 35 law reviews at schools ranked in the Top 50 by U.S. News.)

NYLS’s full report, including the key findings bulleted below and other results, is available at http://www.nylslawreview.com/diversity.

Key Findings: 

  • Faculty diversity has a positive relationship to diversity of law review membership. The higher the percentage of full-time female faculty at a law school, the higher the percentage of female membership on its law review.
  • Women and minority students lag behind men in achieving the editor in chief (EIC) position. Overall, women held 43 percent of leadership positions on average, but just 31 percent of the EIC positions. These findings were similar among law reviews both at Top 50 law schools (32 percent) and at schools outside of the Top 50 (29 percent). Among the Top 50 law reviews, 15 percent of EICs identified as a person of color, compared to 4 percent of EICs at law reviews outside of the Top 50.
  • The low percentage of women EICs may foreshadow low percentages of women in leadership in the legal profession. When viewed in the context of female achievement in the legal profession (chart below), the results raise the question of whether the low percentage of female EICs (31 percent) is a precursor to the low percentages of women on state and federal benches, in law firm partnerships, and as general counsel of Fortune 500 companies.

Comparison of Female Representation on Law Reviews in the Combined Sample and in the Legal Profession.

The data for state judges, federal judges, law firm equity partners, and Fortune 500 general counsels is taken from Catalyst, Women in the Law in the U.S., July 6, 2012, available at http://catalyst.org/file/706/qt_women_in_law_in_the_us.pdf.

“This report is a reminder that, while women comprise roughly half of the enrolled students in J.D. programs, they are underrepresented in law review EIC positions. This issue is magnified when exploring the long-term career paths for female attorneys, where women are underrepresented in law firm partnerships and judgeships,” said Stephanie Chichetti 3L, features editor at NYLS and a co-author of the report.

“For the second year in a row, our research indicates that the presence of women on a law school’s full-time faculty is related to greater gender diversity of law review membership, but we didn’t see a correlation with women in the EIC position. Learning more about the nature of that relationship could be important in understanding some of the factors that impact achievement among female law students,” said Marcey Grigsby, who directs NYLS’s research as faculty publisher of the Law Review. 

The research was conducted as part of an ongoing partnership between the New York Law School Law Review and Ms. JD, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to the success of women in law school and the legal profession. (Ms. JD’s report focusing only on the Top 50 law reviews is available at www.ms-jd.org.) The survey fielded by the two organizations asked EICs to self-report data about their female student membership and leadership, and about the EIC’s gender and minority status. Ms. JD conducted the survey only among law reviews at schools ranked in the U.S. News Top 50, and NYLS conducted the survey among law reviews at all law schools not ranked in the Top 50. NYLS’s analysis both compared the results between the Top 50 sample and the sample of law reviews outside the Top 50, and then combined them to look at overall patterns and correlations.


Founded in 1891, New York Law School is an independent law school located in lower Manhattan near the city’s centers of law, government, and finance. New York Law School’s renowned faculty of prolific scholars has built the school’s strength in such areas as constitutional law, civil and human rights, labor and employment law, media and information law, tax law, real estate and urban legal studies, international law, financial services and regulation, and a number of interdisciplinary fields. The School is noted for its nine academic centers: Center on Business Law & Policy, Center on Financial Services Law, Center for International Law, Center for New York City Law, Center for Professional Values and Practice, Center for Real Estate Studies, Diane Abbey Law Center for Children and Families, Institute for Information Law & Policy, and Justice Action Center. New York Law School has more than 13,000 graduates and currently enrolls some 1,092 full-time students and 411 part-time students in its J.D. program and 103 students in its five advanced degree programs in American business law, financial services law, real estate, tax, and mental disability law studies. For more information visit www.nyls.edu

The New York Law School Law Review is a journal of legal scholarship edited and published by students at New York Law School four times a year.  It is led by an editorial board assisted by staff editors, online staff editors, and members working together with a full-time faculty advisor to make all editorial and publication decisions. For more information, visit nylssites.wpengine.com/nylslawreview

Ms. JD is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to the success of women in law school and the legal profession. For more information, visit www.ms-jd.org