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All-female law review board at Cornell makes history

By: dcarter//February 26, 2019

All-female law review board at Cornell makes history

By: dcarter//February 26, 2019//

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The Cornell Law Review Board

If getting used to the demanding, unpaid job of law-review editor wasn’t enough, as well as attending a law-review conference on the other side of the country, Lauren Kloss has to take media calls, too, because, well, history.

Earlier this month, the Cornell Law Review elected its first all-female board in its 104-year history. It’s also a first among the 14 top law schools in the country.

Lauren Kloss, a second-year student from Clarence Center, an Erie County hamlet, is the new editor-in-chief. Because of the all-day nature of the elections, where all the candidates offer statements and take questions before voting commences on a single position at a time, Kloss said the all-female makeup of the board didn’t hit her at first.

It was when the new board members stepped up to talk to their counterparts from the previous board that she noticed for the first time that each 2018-2020 board member was female. While Kloss took over from another woman, five of her seven colleagues took over from men.

But the results weren’t so much of a surprise, either.

“Our (class) year is about 53 percent women, so I knew we had a stronger female presence,” Kloss said by phone from the Ithaca airport while waiting  to fly to Oakland for a law review conference.   “Within law review, I knew going in we had a very strong female class.”

Typically, law reviews, legal education positions and leadership in law firms are still male-dominated, but enrollment in law schools is getting closer to parity.

“It’s nice to see this progress and be a part of it,” Kloss said. But she’s quick to point out more progress and more diversity is needed. “It’s one step among many,” she said.

“There are always ways to learn more from students of different backgrounds,” Kloss said. “There are so many ways that legal academia could be more open. … The next step for us is to make sure the conversation continues.”

While the eight young women on the board have been quick to point out that they were elected based on their skills and ideas rather than their gender, Kloss said the group is mindful of trying to reflect as much diversity as possible in its selection of articles.   As to whether the “Me Too” movement that is electing more women to political office had anything to do with this election, Kloss said, “Not that I heard. If it was something that people were thinking about, it was not something they were voicing.”

The historic election comes 100 years after the first female editor of any law review was selected, Mary Donlan. Donlan edited volume 5 of the Cornell Law Review. Kloss is editing volume 105.

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