Story at a glance

  • Muslim American Hassaan Shahawy was elected president of the Harvard Law Review at Harvard Law School.
  • Former presidents of the Harvard Law Review include former President Obama.

Harvard University’s affiliate Law Review publication has just named an Egyptian American as president for the first time in its 134-year history, breaking barriers in one of the most coveted roles for a law student.

Reuters reports that Hassaan Shahawy is now the president of the Harvard Law Review. Hailing from Los Angeles, he joins the ranks of previous Harvard Law Review presidents, including former President Obama. Late U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia served as editors of the Review, along with three current Supreme Court justices. 

Shahawy reportedly said that he hopes his election will further represent “legal academia’s growing recognition of the importance of diversity, and perhaps its growing respect for other legal traditions.”

 

 

From this position in law school, Shahawy is a strong contender for prestigious judicial clerkships and legal careers.

“Coming from a community routinely demonized in American public discourse, I hope this represents some progress, even if small and symbolic,” he told reporters via email.

The late 20th century and early 21st century have seen multiple breakthroughs in inclusivity at the Harvard Law Review. The first female president, Susan Estrich, was elected in 1977, and the first Black president was Obama himself. 

The first Black woman was elected president in 2017, while members of the Latinx and LGBTQ+ community have also been represented in the storied leadership role.

Published on Feb 05, 2021