Washington and Lee Law Review Elects First Black Editor in Chief

Lexington, VA Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Brandon Hasbrouck '11L
Brandon Hasbrouck, a member of the Washington and Lee School of Law class of 2011, has been named editor in chief of the Washington and Lee Law Review for 2010-11. Hasbrouck is the first black editor in chief in the history of the Law Review.

W&L Law Dean Rodney A. Smolla said, "I've had the good fortune to come to know Brandon well: he was a student in my constitutional law class, he worked for me as a research assistant in the summer following his first year, and we have shared many conversations on complex issues that face society, the legal profession, and the Law School. His peers have made a superb choice in electing him as the Law Review's editor in chief."

Hasbrouck confessed that he didn't set out to make history two years ago when he came to W&L Law.

"My family instilled in me certain values, that if I was going to do something I was going to do it right and try to be the best," he said. "But I never imagined I would be the first African American editor in chief of the Law Review. I was more worried about getting through Pennoyer v. Neff during Civil Procedure."

Founded in 1938, the Washington and Lee Law Review is a quarterly publication that receives over 2000 annual scholarly submissions from judges, professors, and practitioners. Hasbrouck was selected as a Law Review staff writer after his first year at W&L.

Each year, rising second-year law students compete for these coveted spots during the "write-on" competition, during which they write a paper outlining their solution to a complex problem supplied by the Law Review's editorial board. The submissions, which are anonymous, are graded by the editorial board.


Conversations with Student Leaders: Prof. Brian Murchison talks with new Law Review editor in chief Brandon Hasbrouck.

W&L's selection process is unique among the nation's top law schools in that no positions are awarded to students based solely on grades. The authors of the top six submissions receive automatic invitations to join the Law Review. The remaining 20 staff writers are chosen by combining their writing scores with their first-year grades.

Following a year as staff writers, students then apply for editorial and other leadership positions on Law Review. In his application to be editor in chief, Hasbrouck stressed that, if chosen, he would lead with humility and that he understood that the Law Review runs on teamwork.

"I have a limited role as first among equals," said Hasbrouck of his new position. "The Law Review experience is about working on a team, paying attention to details, being reliable, and developing a work ethic that your peers can rely on. We have for next year an extraordinary editorial board with brilliant minds and unique talents."

Hasbrouck's plans for the Law Review include continuing the outgoing board's efforts to transition the publication to an online format. In addition, Hasbrouck intends to create a Law Review council, composed of former editors, which would provide financial support and guidance on the creation of an external symposium to bring together practitioners, judges, and academics to discuss practical legal problems.

Hasbrouck will spend this summer in a highly competitive summer clerkship with the New York law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton. He plans on working with the white collar criminal defense litigation group and the international dispute resolution group, and will also do some corporate transactional work.

The first member of his family to graduate from college, Hasbrouck graduated from Pine Bush High School in Pine Bush, N.Y. and received his undergraduate degree in history from Dominican College in Orangeburg, N.Y., where he served as a resident advisor and founded the debate team. He is the son of Brad Hasbrouck of Montgomery, N.Y. and Dawn Hasbrouck of Middletown, N.Y.

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