Ghanaian student Hilda Frimpong becomes first Black editor-in-chief of Syracuse Law Review

Hilda Frimpong, a second-year law student at the Syracuse University College of Law, New York, has been named as the new editor-in-chief of the Syracuse Law Review. Born in Ghana and raised in Dallas, Texas, 30-year-old Frimpong becomes the first Black person to hold the position.

The Syracuse Law Review, founded in 1949, is one of the prestigious student-run publications at the Syracuse University College of Law. “Its longstanding goal has been to provide distinguished scholarly works that address timely and intriguing issues within the legal community,” its website says.

Frimpong, who is a former Miss Ghana USA winner, will lead the Law Review for the 2021-22 academic year with a majority-female board. In an interview with Face2Face Africa, Frimpong answered some questions about herself, what her goals for the Law Review are, and what being elected as the first Black editor-in-chief of the journal means to her.

1.Kindly tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a second-year law student at Syracuse University College of Law. I was born in Ghana and raised in Dallas, Texas. Hilda received her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Texas A&M University. Before attending law school, she worked as a business developer for a Fortune 500 company. At Syracuse, I am also a volunteer for the Cold Case Justice Initiative, a criminal law tutor, a research assistant, and an ambassador for the Office of Admissions. I am passionate about law and technology and creating a space for women of color in this area of the law.

2.How did you start getting involved in the Syracuse Law Review?

There are two avenues to get on law review at Syracuse. Students who are in the top 10% of their class after the first year are invited on. There is also a write-on competition for those who meet the GPA requirement. However, since grades are not released until after the write-on competition, most students end up participating in the write-on. I competed in the write-on competition. It was very difficult because the competition is right after finals and you are mentally exhausted. I really pushed myself to complete the competition despite the psychological challenge.

3.Can you walk us through the process of becoming editor-in-chief of the Syracuse Law Review?

I was anonymously nominated as a candidate. I knew the significance of the role so I hesitated to accept the nomination. I consulted with my family, peers and mentors before accepting the nomination. We held an election and gave my speech with my plans and objectives and the members voted.

4. Kindly tell us a little bit about the mission of the Syracuse Law Review and how that mission fits into the law school community at the University?

Syracuse Law Review is now in its 72nd year. It was founded in 1949 and it is a scholarly journal led and run by students. We publish legal articles, notes, commentaries, and case summaries for the legal community. Our mission is to provide distinguished scholarly works that address timely and intriguing issues within the legal community. To date, even the United States Supreme Court has referred to our publication, citing the Review in 11 different court opinions. We are very proud of the work we do.

5.What specific plans/goals do you have as editor-in-chief?

I have a specific goal for Law Review internally, but as an organization, our goal is to increase diversity by actively engaging with the student body and partnering with the various groups on our campus. The process to get on law review is a mystifying process for many students and we want to change this.

6.How does it feel to be the first Black student to be elected into the law review’s top position?

I feel happy to pave the way for other students of color to lead in spaces where they may not see themselves represented. Black attorneys and law students before me laid the groundwork for me and I don’t take that fact for granted.

7.What would be your advice for first-year law students?

One of my favourite professors often tells us that “knowledge is something we grow into.” I am really hard on myself and I think in law school, we should give ourselves some grace. I want first-year students to know that it’s okay to struggle with the course material. Law school forces you to read and analyze in a new way. It’s okay to ask questions.


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