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Priscila Coronado, the Harvard Law Review's first Latina president. Photo Credit: Lorin Granger/HLS Staff Photographer
Priscila Coronado, the Harvard Law Review's first Latina president. Photo Credit: Lorin Granger/HLS Staff Photographer

Harvard Law Review elects Priscila Coronado as its first Latina president

The Mexican-American Harvard Law student makes history as the first Latina to be elected president of the 135-year-old journal.

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The Harvard Law Review, one of the most prestigious law journals in the United States, has its first-ever Latina president in Priscila Coronado. 

Coronado is a second-year law student and makes history in becoming the first Latina to be elected into the role in the journal’s 135-year history.

“It is an honor that my peers have entrusted me with this institution. I don’t take this role lightly,” she said in an interview with Harvard Law Today

Coronado quantified her status as the first Latina president of the prestigious journal on two fronts.

“On the one hand, I don’t want to downplay the achievement… On the other hand, I really don’t want my status as the first Latina president to morph into some kind of ‘model minority’ narrative,” said Coronado. 

“I believe with every ounce of my soul that there are countless other Latinas who are equally incisive in their logic and reasoning but will never get an opportunity like this because of something as out-of-their-control as where they were born,” she added. 

Born and raised in Downey, a suburb in southeast Los Angeles, California, Coronado is the daughter of two Mexican immigrants. Growing up in a working-class household shaped her entire perspective, as well as instilled a work ethic that has followed her throughout her life. 

In 2015, she became the first in her family to enroll in and attend college. Three years later, she graduated magna cum laude from UCLA, earning a bachelor’s degree in English and Literature in the process.

After college, Coronado worked at the Disability Rights Legal Center in LA, confirming what the natural next step for her would be. 

“I knew law school was the right fit for me,” she said. “I would be able to combine my interests of reading, writing, and research while hopefully making meaningful change and interacting with people from different backgrounds.”

Those similar interests — along with the opportunity to meet others interested in legal scholarship — are what inspired her to get involved with the Harvard Law Review.

In addition to her involvement with the Law Review, she also serves as a board member of two organizations at Harvard: First Class, an organization for first-generation, low income and working class law students; and La Alianza, a group geared towards Latinx students and students interested in issues affecting the Latinx community. 

Coronado’s election as president of the Harvard Law Review is part of the Ivy League university’s effort to increase diversity among its student base and in high level positions.  

Last month, the Harvard Crimson — the oldest student-run college newspaper in the nation — named its first Latina president, Raquel Coronell Uribe. 

For the Law Review, Coronado succeeds Hassaan Shahawy, who became the first Muslim president of the journal last year.

In her new role, Coronado’s goal is to keep the journal running as smoothly as it has been, but also add onto the excellence of her predecessors. 

“I’m hopeful that we will take further steps in my year as president. I believe in the importance of diversity at the Review not only because of my own background, but because I’m convinced that diversity is essential to our mission of publishing rigorous scholarship,” said Coronado. 

“The whole point of peer review is to run legal scholarship by a different set of eyes to publish the most cutting-edge research. Having a diverse set of editors follows that principle: The more backgrounds we have represented in our body of editors, the greater variety of interests, backgrounds, and experiences we can draw on to make our scholarship better,” she added.  

According to NBC News, when the academic year is over, she plans to work as a summer associate at the law firm, Munger, Tolles & Olson. 

Coronado follows in the footsteps of President Barack Obama, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and many others as president of the Harvard Law Review. 

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