The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University has established a growing prominence of female editors-in-chief for its law journals, part of an ongoing effort to advance equality in the field of law.
For almost the last decade, a female student has led the college’s primary publication, the Arizona State Law Journal, with Delilah Cassidy now serving as its editor-in-chief. Joining her in this tradition is Vanessa Pomeroy, who recently became the next woman to serve as editor-in-chief of Jurimetrics, the No. 1 peer-reviewed law journal for science, technology, engineering and math fields in the United States. Additionally, Julieta Carrillo is editor-in-chief for the Law Journal for Social Justice, also published by ASU Law.
Beyond gender, being an editor-in-chief means you have to stay on your toes, said Cassidy, a third-year law student and former sports journalist. She oversees a staff of 40 writers at the Arizona State Law Journal, works with an editorial board of 43 law students, and publishes four times a year.
“Being a member of a law journal exposes you to intellectual issues that go beyond the classroom,” Cassidy said. “It’s also a chance for me to write beyond simple legal briefs. I’m able to tap into that creativity I used as a journalist and focus on a specific issue.”
Added Pomeroy, who joins the growing list of women in the top Jurimetrics post for the last five years: “It is a privilege to serve as the editor-in-chief during a year where we have so many female editors with STEM backgrounds and interests in law, science and technology. One of my goals as editor-in-chief of Jurimetrics is to encourage women to pursue careers in STEM and the legal profession. If I could tell the next generation of women in these professions one thing, it would be this: ‘Your involvement matters, so come join us at the table.’”
Carrillo, a third-year law student, took over as editor-in-chief in March for the Law Journal for Social Justice. “As a Mexican American, first-generation college student, I obviously find it incredible that women are holding editor-in-chief positions at ASU Law,” Carrillo said. “I think culture shock is something you experience in law school as a minority, and being a woman definitely added to that pressure that was already so tangible and solidified. I am excited that women are taking advantage of editor-in-chief positions to the same extent as men.”
According to Law.com, women now hold editor-in-chief positions at the 16 most elite law reviews in the country. At ASU Law, the trend began many years ago with the Arizona State Law Journal naming Patricia A. Metzger as its editor-in-chief in 1974. In the last decade, eight of its leaders have been women.
The Arizona State Law Journal
The Arizona State Law Journal was established in 1969 and is considered the flagship journal at the college. It seeks to promote development of the law by publishing scholarly articles on timely legal issues. Topics include corporate law, intellectual property, sports entertainment, ballot initiatives, criminal law and even COVID-19.
It also provides a forum for legal scholars and practitioners and a resource for use in their work, and an opportunity for ASU Law students to engage in legal research and commentary.
“If you want to become a professor, what’s really important is getting published,” Cassidy said. “It’s a huge stepping-off point to expedite a career path.”
Cassidy said the law journals help gild the reputation of the college, specifically when it comes to school ranking. The college placed at No. 24 on this year's U.S. News & World Report best law school rankings, the highest placement in ASU Law’s history.
The 2021 rankings marked the continued ascension of ASU Law, which had hovered in the 50s throughout the early 2000s before making a steady climb into the top 25.
“We’ve seen the reputation of the law school improve with the conjunction of the journals,” said Cassidy, who will join Phoenix-based law firm Snell & Wilmer after graduation. “ASU Law and the Arizona State Legal Journal carries a big name and garners a good reputation.”
Jurimetrics is the leading peer-reviewed law journal that analyzes and predicts the legal issues associated with advances in science and technology. It owes its success to a team of brilliant national and international authors and exceptionally talented editorial staff, Pomeroy said.
“I joined Jurimetrics because the intersection between law, science and technology involves cutting-edge issues that are rarely addressed in core law school classes,” she said. “Through Jurimetrics I've gained lifelong friendships, and found mentors in our faculty adviser and Associate Dean Diana Bowman and Managing Editor Deborah Pogson.”
Bowman said Jurimetrics celebrated its 60th anniversary in December 2019 and historically has been run by men. But that has shifted and evolved since she became faculty adviser in 2016.
“Until my tenure as faculty adviser, the leadership positions of Jurimetrics were primarily held by men,” said Bowman, who noted that five of the last six Jurimetrics editors-in-chief have been women. “So many times when we think of the legal profession, we don’t think of women in leadership roles at the nexus of law, technology and innovation. Giving women a shot in these roles helps prepare them for leadership positions when they graduate.”
Being an editor-in-chief is also a marketable commodity and stands out on a resume because of the skills acquired.
“An editor-in-chief demonstrates leadership by example, teamwork, timelines, clear communication, allocation and motivation,” Bowman said. She added those are the traits that Pomeroy has already displayed in her short tenure at Jurimetrics.
“What’s most impressive is the fact that Vanessa has not personally met with her board or the staff at large because of COVID-19, but is able to virtually keep a sense of community and excitement through her outreach and engagement,” Bowman said. “She’s doing a lot of heavy lifting and working at 200 percent.”
The Law Journal for Social Justice
With the March timing of Carrillo’s appointment as editor-in-chief for the Law Journal for Social Justice, the pandemic forced her to work remotely as she was tasked to form a new board, grade applications and invite new members to join the journal, which publishes twice a year.
“I think the biggest surprise that arose from my position as editor-in-chief was learning how to delegate duties in the virtual world we now live in,” Carrillo said. “Our orientation had to be done over Zoom, and I tried my best to form some type of connection with everyone, but it is hard to read a room through a screen. Although the circumstances are less than ideal, our new members seem to be excited to jump on board and cite-checks are proceeding smoothly. I have learned that you can make the most of being in a demanding position by just being transparent with everyone around you and adjusting as best as you can to new environments.”
In addition to overseeing the publication of two issues in 2020, Carrillo edits the journal’s blog site and will host a spring symposium focused on climate migration. She said being the editor-in-chief has shown her how to be a leader and be more assertive, while improving her network and gaining lifelong friends.
“You have to be a hard worker to achieve positions like these, and simply being diverse is not going to land you a spot,” Carrillo said. “I ran against another minority woman and a minority man for my position, so I think any one of us would have been deserving of the position.”
Top photo: (From left) Delilah Cassidy is the editor-in-chief of the Arizona State Law Journal; Julieta Carillo is editor-in-chief of Law Journal for Social Justice and Vanessa Pomeroy is editor-in-chief of Jurimetrics: The Journal of Law, Science, and Technology.