The students who have built The Regulatory Review inspire hope and offer reason to celebrate even amid challenging times.
As The Regulatory Review commemorates its 10th anniversary, the question in the back of some readers’ minds will likely be: Why celebrate now?
After all, it seems that relatively few people are in the mood for celebration this year, what with the horrific global pandemic and ensuing economic downturn, renewed challenges for racial justice, and continued harms from climate change. In such circumstances, why celebrate?
The answer is simple. Precisely because the world faces serious problems, we must do all that we can to inspire solutions, promote public understanding, and prepare the next generation of leaders. That is what The Regulatory Review has aspired to achieve for the last 10 years.
The role played by The Review in the vital quest for a better world justifies celebration, even in challenging times. When The Review officially launched a decade ago, no one ever imagined it would become such a successful vehicle, both for increasing public understanding of regulatory issues and for helping a new generation of regulatory professionals and leaders learn and grow.
The Review started humbly as a simple “add-on” feature built into a new content management software that supported what was then a bare-bones website for the Penn Program on Regulation. Every so often, I would upload a bit of regulatory news. Robert Jackel, a former University of Pennsylvania Law School student, worked for me as a research assistant and wrote many of the earliest pieces.
Then along came another student, Jonathan Mincer, who pitched to me a bold plan to turn a simple add-on feature into a highly visible publication. Becoming the publication’s first Editor-in-Chief, Mincer inspired other students to join him in his ambitious pursuit. Working under Mincer’s remarkable leadership, they saw the publication move to its own separate platform and start to publish new content every weekday.
Ever since, the growth of the publication has been fueled by the truly extraordinary students at Penn Law with whom I have had the privilege to interact. Each year’s editorial board and staff members have sought to maintain the tradition of excellence established by their predecessors, while also making their own improvements and lasting imprint.
No such imprint to date has been as comprehensively transformative as the one established under the exceptional leadership of former Editor-in-Chief Kim Kirschenbaum. She turned a thriving start-up operating under the name of RegBlog into a well-established institution that today publishes under the name of The Regulatory Review—a moniker that befits both the publication’s rigorous editorial process and the breadth and depth of what it publishes.
The popularity of The Review has grown dramatically over the last decade. It has achieved its goal of bringing light to a vital policy realm—regulation—that for too long had remained in the shadows. The Review’s readership today spans the globe. It counts among its regular readers everyone from key leaders in regulatory agencies to inquisitive high school students.
In addition, the publication’s contributor base keeps steadily expanding. Virtually every leading regulatory scholar and many sitting and former agency heads, legislators, lawyers, and judges can count themselves as among The Review’s many authors.
Over the years, each member of the publication’s staff has played a key role in achieving The Review’s success by taking pains to check facts diligently, maintain style consistency, and ensure that complex regulatory issues are understandable even to a non-technical reader.
A few years ago, I happened to be walking down a street in Paris with a group of analysts from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development when one of them commented to me on how much she appreciates The Review’s signature accessibility—how each essay, as she put it, “reads almost like a story.”
Wherever I lecture around the world, the people I meet invariably remark that they regularly follow and learn much from what appears in The Regulatory Review. I appreciate their compliments. But the truth is that The Review’s global success owes everything to the dedication and vision of the Penn Law students who have built and maintained this publication. My role has been one of providing guidance.
The fact that The Review’s 10 Editors-in-Chief would take the time from their busy schedules to share their reflections on the occasion of this publication’s 10th anniversary touches me greatly. I am especially gratified to see in their comments how much they report having learned in the process of writing for and leading the publication.
I am also proud of how each new editorial board and staff have manifested in their own ways the values of integrity, inclusiveness, and innovation that keep propelling the publication forward. Exemplifying all of these values, for example, is this year’s staff initiative to launch an annual series on race and regulation—an important and ongoing opportunity to learn about how law and society can improve justice and equality for Black people and other oppressed or marginalized individuals.
Ultimately, I find that the students who drive The Regulatory Review give me great hope. They have made The Review’s past so successful, just as they make its present so vital and its future so bright. With their leadership, ideals, and dedication, the world can and will see a better tomorrow. And that, it seems to me, is more than enough reason to celebrate.
This essay is part of an eight-part series, entitled Celebrating The Regulatory Review’s Tenth Anniversary.