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Apsara A. Iyer, a second-year law student at Harvard Law School, was elected the 137th president of the Harvard Law Review, becoming the first Indian American woman to hold the position.
The Law Review, founded in 1887, is among the oldest student-run legal scholarship publications. Previous editors of the organization include Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer, Ketanji Brown Jackson ’92, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as well as former President Barack Obama, who served as the review’s 104th leader.
In the Law School’s Jan. 30 press release, Priscila E. Coronado, Iyer’s predecessor, said the publication is “extremely lucky” to have Iyer at the helm.
“Apsara has changed the lives of many editors for the better, and I know she will continue to do so,” Coronado wrote. “From the start, she has impressed her fellow editors with her remarkable intelligence, thoughtfulness, warmth, and fierce advocacy.”
“I cannot wait to see what Volume 137 will achieve under her leadership,” she added.
Iyer grew up in Indiana and attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. She graduated from Yale in 2016, receiving a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Math as well as Spanish.
In an interview with The Crimson, Iyer discussed her interest in “the relationship between communities living around archaeological sites and the management of cultural heritage,” which began in high school and continued throughout college.
Her interest in understanding the “value of cultural heritage” led her to work in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Antiquities Trafficking Unit, which tracks stolen works of art and other artifacts. She began working in the office in 2018 before attending the Law School, and she took a leave of absence after her first year studying law to return to the role.
Iyer joined the Harvard Law Review following a competitive process called “write-on,” where HLS students rigorously fact-check a document and provide commentary on a recent State or Supreme Court Case.
Iyer spoke highly of her experience and peers at the Law Review.
“What’s been so meaningful to me is that the Law Review has been an amazing community of incredibly talented, passionate people,” Iyer said. “And I feel like I’ve been able to be welcomed into this organization that’s filled with individuals who are so intelligent and so interested in different parts of the law.”
Iyer said that as Law Review president, she aims to include more editors in the process of reviewing and selecting articles and upholding the publication’s reputation for “high-quality” work.
“I think that right now I’m just focused on making sure we keep the lights on and everything going,” Iyer said.
Outside of the Law Review, Iyer has previously been involved in the Law School’s Harvard Human Rights Journal and the National Security Journal. She is also a member of the South Asian Law Students Association. In addition, she serves on the advisory committee for the Peabody Institute of Archaeology in Andover, Massachusetts.
Iyer is working on an independent paper with Law School professor Jacob E. Gersen on the destruction of cultural heritage as a type of tort — a class of civil wrongs involving injury or harm.
Iyer said she is a “nontraditional student” and is unsure of her plans after graduating from HLS.
“I hope to use the rest of my 2L and 3L years to figure out what parts of the law interest me more and do really good work there,” she said.
—Staff writer Jo B. Lemann can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Jo_Lemann.
—Staff writer Neil H. Shah can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @neilhshah15.
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