Vincentian elected Harvard Law Review prez

Michael L. Thomas, Jr
Lorin Granger / HLS Staff Photographer

The Harvard Law Review has elected Vincentian Michael L. Thomas, Jr as its 132nd president, succeeding ImeIme Umana, who became the first black woman to lead the prestigious publication.

“Michael is a gifted editor who is adored by his peers,” said Umana of Thomas, a second-year law student at the illustrious institution. “Since meeting him last year, Michael has consistently struck me as unusually brilliant and deeply kind.

“His commitment to the Law Review and thoughtful approach to legal scholarship will enrich our organization,” she added. “I am eager to see the Law Review flourish under Michael’s leadership this year.”

Thomas is the third Black man to hold the title, according to It said the second was Dr. David Panton and the first was former US President Barack Obama in 1990.

The Harvard Law Review is a student-edited journal, and, often times, is cited by Supreme Court Justices during cases, said.

Thomas was born in St. Vincent and the Grenadines was raised in Brooklyn, Harvard Law Review said.

He graduated from Princeton University in 2012 with a B.A. in Sociology. Before his time at Harvard Law School, Thomas worked in the Mayor’s Office of New York City in the office of the Counsel to the Mayor, Harvard Law Review said.

Last summer, he was a summer associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and will be a summer associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz this upcoming summer, said Harvard Law Review, adding that Thomas is an alumnus of the New York City based Prep for Prep program.

“ImeIme and her volume have set the bar high,” Thomas told the Review. “ImeIme’s tenure as president has been exemplary, and that is simply a testament to her deep intellect and compassion.

“The Law Review is a stronger institution today because of her leadership, and nothing could have prepared me better for the role than following her lead,” he added. “I’m incredibly honored to be following in her footsteps and am looking forward to the work ahead.”

Reflection on her time as president, Umana said that she is pleased with everything the Law Review accomplished in 2017, according to the Harvard Crimson, the student newspaper.

“Thanks to our fantastic team of committed editors, the Law Review has had an exciting year,” she said. “We welcomed the first-ever majority-female volume, selected our inaugural Public Interest Fellow, and launched a blog, all in addition to publishing a wide range of premier legal scholarship.”

The Crimson said Thomas is the second black president of the Law Review in two years, stating that his election comes after the publication undertook a series of initiatives in recent years meant to diversify its ranks.

The journal, which expanded its affirmative action policy in 2013, elected the most diverse class of editors in its history in 2016 and its first majority female class last year, the Crimson said.

The Law Review, founded in 1887 by future Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, LL.B. 1887, is an entirely student-edited journal with the largest circulation of any law journal in the world, the publication said. It is published monthly from November through June.

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