Excerpted From: Courtney Garrett, The Muffled Voice of Minority Law Students: How Law Journals Have Succumbed to Unsolicited Biases and Limited the Progression of Diversity in Law Schools, 24 Rutgers Race & the Law Review 185 (2023) (105 Footnotes) (Full Document)


CourtneyGarrettWhat does it take to be a published law student in America's current system? The answer: a selection from a journal cabinet which normally consists of current students at the journal's respective law school. The overall process is supervised by a faculty member to ensure that the operation is following the school's standards. However, why would some students of color remain skeptical for success in receiving the honor of publishing? Maybe the student may have had a few words with one of the cabinet members or maybe another submission is a good friend with the cabinet. Maybe the topic is too radical for the conservative board member. The few possibilities are enough to lead an average student to question the process, but could these possibilities actually be a reality instead? Even professors have questioned the process for Law Reviews. Therefore, a deeper evaluation is required to determine whether the issue is a coincidence or systemic.

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Although the journals have created a process that has stood the test of time, the statistics reveal that journals lack minorities. Many of the effects of not being published or selected for certain journals can become a roadblock for various careers in the legal field that severely lack diversity. Qualified teachers could reduce the disparity by becoming more engaged in the processes that students normally delegate with minimal supervision. Even more, minority students could have additional avenues provided by their respective schools which allow for exclusive submissions to be weighed against fellow minority peers to earn a respectable publication offer rather than a handout. Other various methods of testing for editor selection could improve the outcome of students selected while preserving the integrity of the selection process. Therefore, a minority student should be a voice heard rather than a visual stain rarely viewed in scholarly law articles.

J.D, University of Alabama School of Law.