Blazing new trails is old hat for Djenab Conde ’19. She lived in China, France, and different West African nations before moving to America at age 7. She led the Moroccan chapter of a nonprofit right after college. And in January, she became the first African-American woman elected editor-in-chief of the California Law Review (CLR).
A momentous achievement, but no surprise to those who know her.
“Djenab personifies so much of what’s great about this law school and its flagship journal,” says CLR Development Editor Anna Williams ’19. “She has a sharp mind, a keen eye, and a heart for both reason and justice.” Professor Amanda Tyler says her research assistant “combines the wonderful qualities of maturity, humility, and kindness with superb intellectual firepower.”
The sixth person of color to lead CLR in the past 15 years, Conde says diversity enriches any enterprise and that “what we publish should be as inclusive and intersectional as possible. You only know the experience you’ve lived, and the more different experiences and voices we have in the room the better.”
After graduating from Yale in 2015, Conde accepted a fellowship in Casablanca with GlobalGirl Media, which empowers high-school-age girls from underserved communities through media, leadership, and journalistic training. Just two months in, a staff departure resulted in her coordinating GlobalGirl’s fledgling Morocco program.
“Definitely a difficult experience trying to get this off the ground in a country where the government was wary of a nonprofit focused on young women and journalism,” she says. “But I learned and grew a lot.”
That growth continues at Berkeley Law, where Conde is co-president of the Law Students of African Descent and part of its International Human Rights Law Clinic, Women of Color Collective, and Asian Pacific American Law Student Association. Last year, she worked on two journals as well as student-led projects in juvenile education and human rights.
Remarkably, she has already secured federal clerkships with Judge Victor Bolden (U.S. District Court, Connecticut, 2019-20) and Judge Paul Watford (U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 2020-21).
Last fall, Conde edited a CLR article about unreasonable searches and seizures that showed how judges’ expectations of privacy do not match society’s. Noting how this could influence rulings in close cases, she suggested that the authors—among them the University of Arizona’s law school associate dean for research and innovation—bolster that section. They assented.
“My comments were largely based on my personal experience as a black woman,” she says. “Voices like mine have been underrepresented throughout the legal profession, and it’s gratifying when people value them.”