Second-year law student Brandie Burris was recently elected editor-in-chief of Minnesota Law Review, the flagship journal of the University of Minnesota Law School. She is the first Black student to hold that position in the publication’s 104-year history.
“I am honored and pleased that my peers thought that I am the right leader for the role,” says Burris, who is also a first-generation law student.
“I recognize that … while I bring a wealth of experience and vision to the role, there have been so many outstanding Black law students who came long before me. A lot of people, a lot of my peers, were surprised to learn that my election was a historic first for Minnesota Law, but we're thrilled this landmark moment has happened,” she says.
It is considered prestigious for law students to be on a law journal, and more so to be editor-in-chief of one (by way of comparison, Barack Obama was named the 104th president of the Harvard Law Review, becoming its first Black leader).
Articles within the publication are typically by law professionals from around the country, including scholars, practitioners, and judges, including the two most recently appointed Supreme Court Justices, Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh. It is carried in law libraries throughout the country.
As she takes the helm of the Minnesota Law Review, Burris aims to focus on a number of areas, including increasing diversity at the publication by creating an inclusive petition process that encourages diverse students to apply.
“Having diverse perspectives will increase the level of scholarship and help us infuse new ideas and views into legal discourse,” she says.
Burris also hopes simply to be a good leader.
“I want to live out the position in the way that feels authentic to me, and to support and encourage the editors to do their best work,” she adds.
For other law students contemplating joining a journal, Burris’s advice is to the point.
“Do it. I think, too often, students, especially students who are first-generation law students like I am, talk ourselves out of really amazing opportunities. I almost talked myself out of [it], and I wouldn't be in the position that I am now had I done that. Don’t count yourself out. It's really easy to feel like an imposter and to question whether you belong, but you absolutely do.”
This story is excerpted from the original, which appears at Minnesota Law magazine.
- Law and Policy