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After 11 grueling hours of debate, Daniel B. Kirschner ’99 was elected president of the Harvard Law Review this month.
Kirschner, a second-year student at Harvard Law School (HLS), was chosen by the Law Review’s editors from a field of eight candidates on Feb. 1.
Outgoing Law Review President Bert I. Huang ’96, said Kirschner is “widely respected” around the Law Review, not just for his editorial skill, but for his “unimpeachable integrity” and conciliatory manner.
“The Law Review is composed of 80 incredibly intelligent people, trained in argument, and they can be contentious. Daniel holds the group together very well,” said Huang.
Born and raised in San Francisco, Kirschner concentrated in English and American Literature as an undergraduate. His creative-writing thesis, Phantoms: a Novel, won the Hoopes Prize—an annual prize given out for the best senior theses.
“I think my legal interests are related to my literature interests,” Kirschner said. “I’m still working with texts, although what I like about legal texts is that they directly affect how society is structured.”
After graduating from Harvard, Kirschner worked for The Exeter Group, a Cambridge-based IT consulting firm. He went on to found his own technology consulting start-up. Kirschner said he had not seriously considered law school until then.
“I had started this company with a friend, and right around the first market collapse decided that it wasn’t worth pursuing...[and] signed up for the LSAT three weeks before the test, just as an option,” he said.
Kirschner’s peers said he is quiet and insightful.
“The law review is a place that’s not wanting for people brimming with intellectual ability, but Daniel stands out even among that crowd,” said Justin A. Driver, an editor at the Law Review.
Law Review editor Stephen E. Frank ’95 met Kirschner in their first-year law section, which was at the center of a Law School controversy over racist actions and hate speech last spring.
Frank said that while those “tensions were tearing the class apart,” Kirschner kept a level head.
“Daniel’s quiet, thoughtful manner soothed over a lot of things. He’s empathetic, as well as being brilliant,” Frank said.
Kirschner said his vision for the Harvard Law Review was central to his election. Describing himself as “un-ideological,” he said he sees the Law Review’s willingness to publish the highest-quality articles from any field of legal scholarship is its strength, and one that he hopes to continue.
“We are less invested in the status-quo of scholarship and that is one of our strengths,” said Kirschner.
After graduation, Kirschner said he intends to clerk for a federal judge.
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