In 2012, William & Mary Law School celebrated the 75th anniversary of the graduation of its first female student, Virginia Mister ‘37. This month, the Class of 2014 will boast of another milestone for women at the Law School: all five outgoing editors-in-chief of the school’s law journals were female.
Cassandra Roeder served as Editor-in-Chief of the William & Mary Law Review; Beth Petty, of the William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal; Eileen Setien, of the William & Mary Business Law Review; Yvonne Baker, of the William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review, and Lindsay Paladino, of the Journal of Women and the Law. In addition, four of the five managing editors of the school’s law reviews were also women.
The editors’ descriptions of their experiences show that serving as editor-in-chief of a journal is no small feat, involving long hours and the management of large staffs and deadlines for the publication of multiple volumes each year.
Setien notes that her role “is about keeping everyone in his/her own lane and going in the same direction. We are working as a team to publish a final product that will contribute to legal scholarship in the business world.”
Baker shares that as editor-in-chief, “I have my hand in every aspect of the journal and I serve as the face of our publication… My main duties are to manage the staff, make sure that each member is productive and efficient, and ensure that we publish three issues for Volume 38.”
For Roeder, “the most challenging—but at the same time rewarding—component of the job has been juggling the many moving parts of the journal at once: for example, selecting articles and notes for publication and helping organize the Joint Journal Competition while ensuring that all six issues are carefully edited and on schedule.”
The editors shared that managing the various journals has brought a mix of challenges and rewards.
Petty recalls that the most challenging aspect of work on the editorial staff is the time commitment. “Our publication schedule is very tight, and to publish four issues within the year often requires other priorities be put on hold,” she says.
However, she notes that although “the editing process is long and arduous, having a pleased author at the end of it makes it all worth it.”
Paladino attests to the hard work involved in the editorial process. “For me, the most challenging part of being editor-in-chief has been staying focused during the late-night hours that this job often requires. When our deadlines are approaching, all five editors-in-chief work the graveyard shift in the journal offices. I have witnessed all of these women work tirelessly to get their journals published.”
“The best part of working on a journal is seeing the process from the beginning with article and note selection to publication,” Setien says.
“All of the staff's hard work physically manifests itself when the issues arrive. It is something to be proud of,” she adds.
Baker says that her work on the journal had a rewarding personal dimension as well.
“During my time on the journal, I have mostly enjoyed the relationships I have built with fellow editors and staff members that I may have never met if not for the journal bringing us together,” she says. “I know that some of my new friendships will last long beyond law school.”
Roeder shares this sentiment, noting that “the most rewarding part has been working closely with so many talented, hard-working people; I’ve learned an amazing amount from the authors whose work we publish, the 2L and 3L staff, the 3L editorial board, and the William & Mary faculty and staff.”
The editors shared their reflections on this unique moment in the history of women at William & Mary Law.
“I am honored to continue the legacy that Virginia Mister began 75 years ago and to leave my mark here with my fellow female editors-in-chief,” says Baker.
Paladino comments that “It is very inspiring that in the 20th year of the Journal of Women and the Law, all five of William & Mary’s journals are headed by female students. I think it speaks to the progress that women have made in the legal field over the past 20 years, as well as to William & Mary’s commitment to empowering female students.”
Setien says that “William & Mary Law School has empowered female law students to strive for the top positions in student organizations and journals… It showcases how far we have come.”
Thomas Jefferson founded William & Mary Law School in 1779 to train leaders for the new nation. Now in its third century, America's oldest law school continues its historic mission of educating citizen lawyers who are prepared both to lead and to serve.