The climb to the third floor of the historic Gannet House, a small white eighteenth-century colonial nestled in-between Littauer Hall and Langdell Law Library, is winding and steep--but second-year Harvard law student Anna K. Small will have to grin and bear it if she wants to get to her new office.
Small, a Yale graduate with a double major in economics and international studies, was elected last Sunday as president of the Harvard Law Review, the oldest, most prestigious student-run law journal in the country. The Review has lived in the old home for 75 years.
Small, who says she spends as much as 25 hours a week at the review as an editor, faces an even greater time commitment as president.
She'll be the point person on everything from meeting with the Board of Trustees (some of law's brightest lights) to performing a full substantive edit of nearly all pieces published in monthly volumes during the school year. With eight issues at 2000 pages each, it's a tall order.
But with 113 years of tradition behind her, Small has a high standard to uphold.
"I know that I now have very esteemed company," said Small. "[Harvard Law] Review presidents have gone on to do great things."
The review was founded in 1887 by newly-minted Law School graduate Louis D. Brandeis, who would later become a Supreme Court justice. It has since been the breeding ground for most of the country's top judges, politicians and legal theorists.
The review is celebrated worldwide as a consistently excellent journal of legal scholarship. Its circulation of 8,000 is the largest of any law journal in the world.
Traditions run deep, and Small said that her greatest task is meeting the standards that have been set before her by generations of Harvard law students.
"The Law Review has for a long time been a leader in legal scholarship--our main goal has been and will be to continue this tradition," Small said.
But the maintaining a sense of community among the 80-plus editors who work to put out volumes during the school year is also an important part of the review, according to Small.
In a relatively large law school, Small said, the Harvard Law Review provides a close working environment in which students edit, review, and write pieces for the legal journal with the largest circulation in the world.
And while Small said she will work hard to maintain the high standard of the review during her tenure as president, there are also some traditions of the review that Small is helping to break.
Small, who received the prestigious Joshua Sears Prize for academic achievement during her first year of law school, is the review's fifth woman president. "It's an honor to be one of the five women presidents," Small said.
The first woman president, Susan R. Estrich, was elected in 1976. Estrich, who was also a Crimson editor, went on to become a Harvard Law School professor and managed Michael Dukakis' presidential campaign.
Michael E. Leiter, the review's outgoing president, said the number of women who make the review has increased in the past few years.
According to Leiter, just five or seven years ago, there were fewer than 10 women on the staff of the review.
Leiter said in recent years, however, "it's [become] the norm to have both men and women lead the Law Review."
Two of the last three elected presidents--Katherine M. Christensen in 1998 and Small in 2000-- have been women.
"Anne is certainly an exclamation point at the end of our history," Leiter said.
Women represented 47 percent of entering students at the law school this year, the highest percentage to date, a law school spokesperson said.