For the second year in a row, the New York Law School Law Review has published its law review diversity 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, general interest law review or journal at ABA-approved law schools ranked in the Top 50 by U.S. News & World Report (the “Top 50 Sample”); at schools ranked outside of the Top 50 (the “NYLS Sample”); and in a “Combined Sample” of all responding law reviews.
- Read the full 2011-2012 report here.
- For Ms. JD’s companion report focusing on results from the Top 50 Sample, click here.
- For the authors’ perspectives, click here.
The following highlights some of the results and accompanying charts:
Faculty Diversity Has a Positive Correlation to Diversity of Law Review Membership
- In the Combined Sample, a higher percentage of female full-time faculty at a law school had a positive correlation to a higher percentage of female membership on law review.
Does the Low Percentage of Women EICs Foreshadow Low Percentages of Women in Achievement in the Legal Profession?
- When viewed in the context of female achievement in the legal profession (Fig. 2 below), the results raise the question of whether the low percentage of female EICs (31%) 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.
Women and Minority Students Lag Behind Men in Achieving the EIC Position
- In the Combined Sample, including both Top 50 and non-Top 50 law reviews, women held 43% of leadership positions on average, and just 31% of the EIC positions. The average percentages in the Top 50 Sample were 42% and 29%, respectively; the average percentages in the NYLS Sample were 44% and 32%, respectively.
- In the Combined Sample, 8% of EICs identified as a person of color. That number was 4% in the NYLS Sample and 15% in the Top 50 Sample.
Few Law Reviews Collect Information about Their Members and Editors
- When asked whether their law review collects diversity data, editors overwhelmingly responded “No” (72%), while “Yes” and “I don’t know” response rates were equal (14%) (Fig. 5 below).
Figure 1. Summary of Key Results.
Figure 2. Comparison of Female Representation on Law Reviews in the Combined Sample and in the Legal Profession.
The data in Figure 2 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.
Figure 3. Comparison of the NYLS Sample and the Top 50 Sample for Female J.D. Enrollment and Female Law Review Membership.
Figure 4. Comparing Male and Female Representation on Law Reviews in the Combined Sample.
Figure 5. Law Review Collection of Diversity Data: “Does your law review collect data on the gender or minority status of its students?”
About the Survey, Data, and Methods
The survey 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 law schools ranked in the Top 50 and NYLS conducted the same 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 NYLS Sample and then combined them (the “Combined Sample”) to look at overall patterns and correlations. For a detailed discussion of the survey methodology, read the full report here.
Our Research Partner
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 has issued a separate, companion report, which is available here.