Michigan Law student becomes first Black Editor-in-Chief of 116-year-old Law Review

Sunday, January 28, 2018 - 5:01pm

Second-year Law student Megan Brown has spent the past seven years at the University, first for her undergraduate education and now for Law School.

Second-year Law student Megan Brown has spent the past seven years at the University, first for her undergraduate education and now for Law School. Buy this photo
Joshua Han/Daily

 

Second-year Law student Megan Brown has spent the past seven years at the University, first for her undergraduate education and now for Law School.

Now, she has been selected as the editor in chief of the Michigan Law Review – a University of Michigan publication written by legal scholars, practitioners and students. She also discovered she would be the first Black person to hold this position at the Law Review, which issued its first publication in 1902.

She initially held the position of an associate editor of the Law Review, which she achieved after a rigorous process involving writing a paper, various publication-related exercises and interviews.

Brown said she felt honored to be chosen as editor in chief and attributed her success to those around her.

“Any success that I’ve achieved in Law School is really a credit to my classmates and my professors,” Brown said. “And then once some of these people gave me a little more confidence, it just felt good to work hard and make them happy and proud and make myself proud.”

Regarding her role as the first Black editor in chief, Brown said she had no knowledge of it when she applied. The Law Review board told her after she had been selected. Brown said her selection reflects the progress the Law School community has made.

“I will admit that it did take a while,” Brown said. “It should have happened sooner. But I like to think of this as mostly good news. There’s a lot of crazy stuff happening on campus and in the world racism-wise, and it feels good to know that at least my community has faith (in me).”

Brown said her classmate Johannah Walker, a third-year Law student, is someone who has encouraged her to be her best. Brown met Walker through the Black Law Students Association, of which they are both members. Walker said seeing Brown go through the early stages of the process and then achieving her goals was amazing.

“Megan is what everyone says she is,” Walker said. “She’s intelligent, she’s driven, she’s kind and thoughtful and generous, but even more than that she just works so incredibly hard. I think that’s just been reflected through everything I’ve always seen her do.”

Walker said having Brown specifically be the first Black editor in chief is significant.

“If there’s anyone within the Black Law Students Association who embodies everything that it means to be a Black Law student and to be constantly aspiring to make your voice heard and to be successful and advance the cause of Black people that aren’t generally represented by Black people — she is that,” Walker said.

Brown said the Law Review is unique because instead of only professors or practitioners reporting on important breakthroughs in the field, students play a role.

“It feels cool to be a part of deciding what ideas are going to be put into the world in the next year as it relates to the law,” Brown said.

Brown said after she was chosen, former Editor in Chief John He emailed many previous editors in chief to introduce her to them. All of the former editors in chief, many of whom have gone on to be very successful in their field, congratulated her.

“Some of them were professors and practitioners and doing really cool stuff,” Brown said. “It’s really humbling. I have big shoes to fill.”

He said Brown has won the admiration of her peers on the Law Review and will do well in her new position.

“We ask a lot out of our second-year associate editors,” He wrote in an email interview. “They're tasked with verifying the substantive accuracy of the pieces that we publish, and this adds quite a bit of work on top of an already-difficult course load. And yet, Megan's work was among the best we saw all year. We’re confident that she'll be a wonderful leader for the Michigan Law Review.”

Brown said in the past seven years, the University has been there for her.

“I’ve found some success, and the University has in a lot of ways helped me get there so it’s just cool to be here back at this school and have this be where this happened for me,” Brown said.