Nov 9, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

Harvard Law School is not exactly known for blindly following the example of others. In fact, the top law school has recently been recognized for its willingness to buck convention, including accepting the GRE in lieu of the LSAT and integrating gender into its admissions process.

Now comes news that the school’s prestigious Harvard Law Review welcomed for the first time this year a majority-women editorial class. Here’s a closer look at this groundbreaking development, as reported by Above the Law.

Taking the Lead

While gender diversity has been a priority for law schools and within the legal profession, gender composition at law reviews has largely been overlooked. Until now, that is. Last year, Harvard Law Review garnered attention in debuting its most diverse editorial class ever. Shortly after, it elected its first black woman president, ImeIme A Umana. The movement toward gender equity took another step forward this fall with the addition of 24 women and 22 men as new editors -- making women the editorial class majority.

Said Leila Bijan, a newly selected editor and vice president of the Women’s Law Association, “It actually caught my eye that there were a lot of women on there, and I went through and I counted that there were more women than men. I remember telling one of my friends that and I think his reaction was, ‘Oh I don’t know, that doesn’t sound like something that would happen on the Law Review.’”

Why It Matters

Many hope that progress at Harvard Law Review will spur other law reviews to take similar action.

Which begs the question: Why is it so important? Says Umana, “Bringing together editors from different backgrounds uniquely enriches our writing and editing process. Perhaps more importantly, achieving gender parity underscores an unequivocal truth: women belong on the Law Review.”

Read more about studying legal writing.




Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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