Another Caribbean native named Michael Thomas has become the new editor of the Harvard Law Review, Vol. 132. Michael takes over from ImeIme Umana, who last year became the first African-American woman to hold the highly coveted position.
The Harvard Law Review elected their 132nd president of the journal this past week. Michael Thomas, a second-year law student, graduated with a sociology degree from Princeton University in 2012. He succeeds the journal’s first black woman president, ImeIme A. Umana. Mr. Thomas is one of only four editors of black ethnicity to hold the prestigious position. Former President Barack H. Obama, became the first black Harvard Law Review President in 1990.
Thomas, 27, was born in St. Vincent and the Grenadines before moving to Brooklyn, N.Y., where he grew up. Thomas was born to Francelia Bute-Thomas and Michael Thomas Sr, (proud grandparents Eardley and Yvonne Bute of Lowmans Hill, SVG). Michael Jr migrated to the United States as a child and is the eldest of three children. After college, and before law school, Thomas worked in the office of Counsel to the Mayor in New York City and as a summer associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. He is involved with the Black Law Students Association and the Harvard Law Documentary Studio on campus.
Although Mr. Thomas is the third black man to take helm the at the Harvard Law Review, he is not the first Caribbean. Dr. David Panton was the first Caribbean to hold the post. Panton hails from Jamaica and currently resides in Atlanta GA and owns a private equity firm, Panton Equity Partners.
In an interview with “The Root” Thomas explained that the Law Review is an entirely student-run journal that publishes legal scholarship from the foremost scholars in the profession, noting that it’s not uncommon for judges—even at the Supreme Court—to cite articles that appear in its pages. Given its outsize impact, diversity is vital.
“[The] conversations that go on within and outside our pages have an effect on the law,” Thomas told The Root . “It’s important that those conversations reflect the full range of experience of the people who interact with the law and, that is to say, all of us.”
Mr. Thomas has already authored his first article. The piece dives into the issues surrounding legalization of marijuana and its economic fallout on low income communities. I would venture to say that this discussion would also be very interesting vis-a-vis the Caribbean Diaspora.