January 9, 2012
Diversity Officers--for Corporations, Law Firms, and Law Reviews
The Wall Street Journal reports that law firms and many Fortune 500 companies have an executive who is responsible for promoting diversity within the firm: "About 60% of Fortune 500 companies currently have a CDO or executive role designated for diversity, according to a recent study by Heidrick & Struggles, an executive search firm." One law firm which has recently created such a position did so because it found that "Without any rigid structures in place, the firm's majority—white male attorneys—were unconsciously choosing to partner with other white male colleagues on assignments," according to the firm's chairman.
Could law review editors be subject to similar unconscious biases--reflected in the selection of new editors, the selection of articles, and the selection of symposium contributors?
The California Law Review (one of my favorite law reviews) has been proactive on this front--appointing a Diversity Editor to consider these issues. Perhaps law reviews could assess their past practices--along the three axes of editor selection, article selection, and symposium contributor selection--and see whether the results require a review of their practices, and perhaps the installation of a diversity officer.
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