The prestigious Harvard Law Review has elected 24-year-old ImeIme Umana as the first black woman to serve as president of the journal in the 130 years of its existence, reports The New York Times.
The first female president of the Harvard Law Review, Susan Estrich, was elected 41 years ago, and the first black man to be elected as president of the respected journal 27 years ago was none other than former President Barack Obama.
Ms. Umana was one of 12 candidates vying for the position. Eight of them were women, and eight of the twelve were also minority students. The process of the election went over the course of two days, including a “rigorous evaluation” of each student’s work portfolio, a review of their responses to a written questionnaire, taking into consideration also their responses at a candidate forum, and the results of a writing exercise. The review’s previous president, third-year law school student Michael L. Zuckerman said Ms. Umana is “brilliant. . . an unbelievably dedicated worker, and an exceptionally caring leader.”
The Harvard Law Review is the most often-cited review of this kind, has the biggest circulation in the world of any similar publication. Being elected president of such a prestigious journal is a highly coveted position. It’s considered the highest-ranking position a student at the law school can hold and the equivalent to a golden ticket in the world of law, opening whichever door the student in that position might want. Half of the current members of the Supreme Court were members of the Harvard Law Review, but none of them were the president.
Many are interested to see where Ms. Umana’s guidance of the publication will take it, with her unique perspective in a position which has, for the majority of its existence, belonged mostly to white men.