Harvard Law Review elects first Latina president

An "H" marks a gate into Harvard Yard at Harvard University in Cambridge
An "H" marks a gate into Harvard Yard at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts January 20, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
  • Coronado is first Latina elected as Harvard Law Review president
  • Review's alumni include Barack Obama, Supreme Court justices

(Reuters) - The Harvard Law Review has named a California-born daughter of Mexican immigrants as its newest president, elevating a Latina to the top of one of the most prestigious U.S. law journals for the first time in its 135-year history.

Harvard Law School student Priscila Coronado, 24, said in an email Sunday that her experiences growing up as a Mexican American have informed her perspectives and that she wanted to "work hard to show how being a Latina is an important part of who I am."

Law reviews are staffed by the top students at U.S. law schools, who are often recruited for judicial clerkships and other prestigious jobs in the profession.

Harvard Law School student Priscila Coronado, the newly-elected president of the Harvard Law Review, appears in an undated handout photo. Priscila Coronado/Handout via REUTERS

Legal and political luminaries who have worked at the Harvard Law Review include President Barack Obama, who was named the journal’s first Black president in 1990. Three serving members of the U.S. Supreme Court have served as editors.

Coronado was born and raised in Downey, California. She is the first in her family to attend college and earned her undergraduate degree from the University of California Los Angeles.

Her legal interests include education law and disability rights. When the academic year is done, she plans to work as a summer associate at the law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson.

Coronado's election on Saturday came a year after the review selected Hassaan Shahawy to become the first Muslim to serve as president. In a statement, he called Coronado a "rigorous scholar and a passionate advocate."

Andrew Crespo, a Harvard law professor who as a student was elected the review's first Hispanic president in 2007, on Twitter congratulated Coronado in Spanish, writing: "¡Felicidades, Priscila!"

The review's first female president, Susan Estrich, was elected in 1977. It elected its first openly gay president in 2011 and named the first Black woman to the role in 2017.

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Nate Raymond reports on the federal judiciary and litigation. He can be reached at nate.raymond@thomsonreuters.com.