The Yale Law Journal

Release of the Yale Law Journal Full Participation Project

Michael Clemente & Lynsey Gaudioso
09 Nov 2015

Almost two years ago, the Yale Law Journal commissioned a study of the Journal in an effort to address our diversity challenges and identify ways we can better foster an inclusive community.

The project arose out of conversations between YLJ Volume 123 and Yale Law School’s Alliance for Diversity, Yale Law Women, and other student groups about the law school’s challenges concerning gender, race, and class. Against the backdrop of these broader structures and patterns, YLJ recognized that it needed to proactively confront its own diversity challenges.

Given the complexity of these issues, the Journal realized that it would benefit from outside expertise and an independent review. As a result, the Journal partnered with Professor Susan Sturm and Professor Ian Ayres to identify our diversity challenges and learn ways to better foster an inclusive community. Professor Sturm is the George M. Jaffin Professor of Law and Social Responsibility and the founding director of the Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia Law School; Professor Ian Ayres is the William K. Townsend Professor of Law at Yale Law School.

Today we release their reports: Full Participation in the Yale Law Journal by Professor Susan Sturm and Kinga Makovi, and Patterns in Yale Law Journal Admissions and Student Scholarship by Professor Ian Ayres and Anthony Cozart. These two reports work in tandem; we urge you to read them together. Professor Sturm’s qualitative picture provides important context for Professor Ayres’s quantitative findings, and vice versa.

We publish these findings for inspection and engagement by Yale Law School and the larger legal community. Because many of the challenges facing the Yale Law Journal face the larger legal profession, we invite our peers at other law reviews and law schools to engage with these reports as well. By openly and directly confronting our diversity challenges, we hope to spark the difficult reflection and dialogue necessary for meaningful and lasting change.

In an effort to foster full participation, the Journal has already begun to implement changes over the past few years. We have:

  • Added a Diversity Statement component to our admissions process;
  • Created a new Diversity & Membership Editor position;
  • Moved second-year editor slating earlier to give Journal officers more time to think critically about the admissions process and other policy decisions;
  • Increased engagement with the larger Yale Law School community, in particular affinity groups; and
  • Convened a Full Participation Committee to identify and implement solutions going forward.

The Journal is committed to implementing long-term change. Our collaboration with Professor Sturm and Professor Ayres is an important step, but does not mark the end of our work. We look forward to further engaging with these issues and building full participation on the Yale Law Journal.