March 2, 2017
Law school journals are prestigious publications, and becoming the managing editor of one is a big deal. And for Michael Thorburn, Osgoode Hall Law Journal’s current managing editor, it’s an even bigger deal. Thorburn is the first black managing editor in the journal’s almost 60 years.
On Monday, Thorburn was formally recognized during Osgoode Hall Law School’s Black History Month ceremony. Thorburn, who is a third year law student, was given a plaque to commemorate his historical position.
What makes this even more interesting is the fact that it took the Law Journal’s executive editor, Joe McDonald, some time to realize that Thorburn was the first black managing editor. McDonald assumed that, because it’s 2017, it was unlikely that this was a first for the Law Journal. Particularly considering its been almost 30 years since Barack Obama was named the first black managing editor at the Harvard International Law Journal.
And to add yet another layer, there have been other persons of colour in leadership roles at Osgoode Hall Law Journal. However, Thorburn is the first to be officially recognized. He told Canadian Lawyer Magazine that he thinks this is because black students face more challenges at Osgoode. He also said he’s looking forward to the normalization of black students in roles like his.
Thorburn is happy to be a part of this step in the right direction in regards to diversity. However, he acknowledged that the work isn’t finished yet. Particularly considering the fact that the Law Journal doesn’t have a policy in terms of maintaining diversity when roles are filled. That said, the Law Journal does maintain that they seek out diverse candidates who can approach subjects from different vantage points.
Supporting diversity in law school is important, because lawyers who have different perspectives can better serve a more diverse set of clients. And the law community as a whole improves as law students become more diverse and they are able to find more success.
Featured image source: canadianlawyermag.com