Law Review Elects New Head

The periodical's 122nd president hopes to continue "smooth sailing"

The Harvard Law Review’s 122nd president stepped into office this week, beginning a year-long term at one of the world’s most prestigious legal periodicals.

Robert W. Allen, currently in his second year at Harvard Law School, was elected president Saturday.

“It was an amazing feeling, sort of unreal at the time. I really didn’t expect the results and was really surprised when I found out,” said Allen, who won last year’s Sears Prize for having the highest grades in his class.

After the election’s results were announced, the new president said he immediately called his parents, girlfriend, and “had a glass of champagne.”

An Atlanta native who studied economics and political science at Emory, Allen will spend his next year as both editor-in-chief and chief executive of the student-edited publication.

“Robert is very well respected by all of his colleagues,” said outgoing president Andrew M. Crespo ’05. “Everyone feels very comfortable depending on him, and he’s demonstrated a lot of dedication to the organization.”

Crespo, who was the first Hispanic student to serve as law review president, generated buzz last year after comparisons were drawn between him and Barack Obama.

Obama, the first black student to edit the Law Review, graduated from the Law School in 1991.

“It’s kind of a full time job, and I know that he’s excited to throw himself into it,” Crespo said.

Paul H. Rubin, an economics professor at Emory who advised Allen on his undergraduate thesis, said his former student was always “self-assured, confident, and seemed to know what he was doing.”

Rubin was quick to tout the motivation and independence that characterized Allen’s thesis work.

“He came up with the idea himself, and my supervision consisted of mainly suggesting different methods of analysis,” Rubin said.

Crespo cited these same characteristics as reasons for Allen’s success at the law review.

Crespo added that he hopes Allen will do more to open up the law review on campus and to “improve its online presence and technology infrastructure” in the coming year.

For his part, Allen said he plans to continue the “smooth sailing” that characterized last year’s leadership.

“When people ask if I have any plans I sort of give them a confused look,” Allen said. “Last year was a really good year, Andrew was outstanding, and our treasurer was one of the smartest people I know. I think it’s my job to continue in their direction.”

—Staff writer Charles Wells can be reached at