By Gwyneth K. Shaw
Four Berkeley Law journals have been recognized as top-tier publications in new rankings from the Washington & Lee School of Law—including two that are rated No. 1 in their respective categories: The Berkeley Technology Law Journal in technology and the Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law in employment.
The latest rankings, which cover 2014 to 2018, are based on the number of citations for articles in each journal. They reflect the influence journals wield in legal academia and the judicial system.
Noor-ul-ain Hasan ’20, editor-in-chief of the California Law Review (CLR), says the honor is gratifying for the dozens of student editors who devote countless hours to publish six issues each year. The law review is a nonprofit corporation that’s independent of the law school.
“To me, this recognition is a reflection of our journal’s unwavering traditions,” Hasan says. “For the last 108 years, CLR has been dedicated to publishing legal scholarship that embodies the importance of civic engagement and a commitment to public service. CLR is a journal that does not shy away from taking risks. Our commitment to publishing bold and critical legal scholarship also aligns with the mission of our law school.”
Within the legal academy, she adds, the journal has been at the front lines of major movements in scholarly topics, including the study of law and society, critical race theory, and behavioral realism.
Hasan says the ranking “illuminates the hard work of our outstanding student editors, the engagement from our alumni community, partnership with Berkeley Law staff and faculty, and the contributions of inspiring authors.”
Berkeley Law Professor Amanda Tyler, a CLR faculty advisor, agrees.
“This is a reflection on the incredible students who work so hard to keep the longstanding tradition of CLR’s excellence going such that it is indeed one of the top law reviews in the country and one in which preeminent scholars love to publish,” Tyler says.
First in their field
Chelsea Andre ’20, editor-in-chief of the Berkeley Technology Law Journal (BTLJ), says she is especially thankful for the dedication of the journal’s two most recent editorial boards, who “set the stage for us to continue to succeed in the future.”
“It feels wonderful to be part of such an organized and cohesive group of people who are consistently able to produce such excellent work,” Andre adds. “I’m incredibly proud of our team and their ability come together year after year to publish such cutting-edge scholarship, all while training and mentoring the next generation. We’re very excited to keep up the momentum this year and in years to come.”
The journal’s next issues, she says, will feature “an exceptionally talented group of authors” and publish groundbreaking scholarship in areas across technology law.
“Most of all, we’re looking forward to carrying prior years’ legacy forward and continuing to help advance the world’s most innovative and impactful technology law scholarship,” Andre says.
Drea Núñez ’20, co-editor-in-chief of the Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law (BJELL), is thrilled to see the journal also take the top ranking in its category.
“It is always incredibly gratifying for BJELL to get positive recognition,” she says. “We put so much work into our publication and into fostering this community, and I’m so proud that our journal is so widely read and cited.”
Núñez says the journal has become a hub for the workers’ rights community at Berkeley Law, and that this year’s editors are hard at work on articles that tackle a wide variety of topics, including the #MeToo movement and artificial intelligence.
A reward for student commitment
“Although it’s hard to properly assign a numerical value to the quality of a journal, we’re of course always excited to see the work of our editors being recognized,” says Oscar Aguirre ’20, co-editor-in-chief of the Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law (BCJL).
He notes that the journal has some “fantastic” articles in the pipeline, and is planning some restructuring to facilitate more student-led scholarship. “We hope that carving out a space for more voices in scholarship will allow us to build on the successes we’ve already seen,” he says.
The journals’ student editors are busy planning beyond their upcoming issues, too. BJELL’s biennial spring symposium will focus on the intersection of sports, labor, and employment. CLR will host two symposia during the academic year: the annual Jorde Symposium, (featuring NYU Law Dean Trevor Morrison, on Nov. 21) and a symposium on democracy reform on April 17, 2020. BTLJ’s annual symposium, held with the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology in February, will center on technology’s role in policy and law.
Hasan says she’s always amazed at the passion Berkeley Law’s journal editors have for their mission, and the intellectually challenging work it demands.
“We take our responsibility as a leading voice in legal scholarship very seriously,” Hasan says. “When we receive this kind of recognition, it serves as an important reminder of how powerful our platform is. It prompts us to recognize the importance of leveraging our power and autonomy in a way that promotes excellent ideas from new voices.”