The Harvard Law Review last month elected the first Black member ever to join its editorial board and the second Asian-American president in its 102-year history.
Peter M. Yu was chosen from a pool of 14 candidates from the second-year class in an electoral process that placed him in charge of a publication widely considered to be the nation's best student-edited legal journal.
Yu said yesterday that he did not want to make any "broad, sweeping statements" about his accession to the highly visible post.
The highest-ranking posts in the publication are the president, treasurer, and four other editorial positions. Three members of the incoming board are women, and two are minorities, one of whom is a Black woman, Crystal Nix. The Review's newly-elected treasurer, Caroline M. Brown '84, is the second woman ever to hold the post.
The Review has for the past seven years run an affirmative action program for minority students to join its staff. "It's very informal. There are no quotas," said outgoing President Dan M. Kahan. "It's there so minorities can identify themselves as such when they are taking the writing competition. It's comparable to the School's program." But Kahan added that the policy does not apply to entry in to the Review's masthead.
Kahan said the Review's representation of women increased significantly this year, following an "intensive drive to attract women."
"This is probably the first [year] where their representation is near their student body representation," Kahan said.
The Review's staff comprises 40 second-year and 40 third-year students, among which there is a high number of Harvard College graduates. There are "about 22 or so" College alumni, said Nix.
Law students who enter the Review's writing competition are judged in the summer following their first year. Half of the new staff is accepted solely on the basis of performance in the contest, said Nix. The others are judged "70 percent on their grades, and 30 percent for their writing," she said.
Yu was elected in a day-long process in which Review editors formed committees to review the records of each candidate, said executive editor Robert I. Townsend '87. The candidate pool, in which a third of the second-year class participated, was narrowed to two candidates "after about 11 hours," said Townsend.
The Review receives about 1000 unsolicited articles annually, of which 10-15 are published, said Yu. More than half of the works are written by scholars outside the Harvard community, said Kahan, and 40 percent of theReview's articles are written by students on itsstaff.
Professor of Law Susan Estrich, who served asGov. Michael S. Dukakis's campaign manager, wasthe Review's first woman president during the1976-1977 academic year. The only other womanpresident left the post in 1986