The Minnesota Law Review recently elected Brandie Burris as editor-in-chief, making her the first Black law student to lead the publication in its 106-year history.
“I hope that my tenure as the first African-American editor-in-chief at the Minnesota Law Review is followed by many more leaders from diverse backgrounds,” said Burris.
Law reviews (also known on some campuses as journals) are the legal profession’s academic journals and are a coveted credential for job prospects. Admission into the law review is often seen as a gateway to many of the country’s top-tier legal jobs. Many judges and law firms expressly or implicitly require its admission. But it comes as no surprise that students of color, and specifically Black students, are underrepresented on the editorial boards of law reviews around the country.
To improve the diversity of the legal profession, we need to think critically about the opportunities—or lack thereof—students of color have on campus. Because of the early admissions process, many students of color, who are first-generation law students, miss out on the opportunity to apply for law review. So, legal employers and law schools should consider the barriers Black law students may face in obtaining admission to law reviews and law journals, and the inequities created and sustained by them. If we are serious about making our profession more diverse and equitable, it is imperative that we don’t continue to create conditions where it takes 104-years for a Black or law student to become editor-in-chief.