Jason Onyediri’s phone rings after a long day of interviews.
When he answers the call of the editorial board of the Texas Law Review, Onyediri takes a personal step and makes history as the publication’s first black editor in its 100-year history.
“(That) is a long time coming,” Onyediri said. “I’m happy to break through that glass barrier and pave the way for people down the line. Like all the other editors, I look forward to taking on this role and ensuring that we continue to publish phenomenal legal research.
Onyediri joined the Texas Law Review the summer before his sophomore year. The following January, Onyediri was granted the title of editor of Volume 101 of the publication, which will produce seven issues throughout the 2022-23 academic year beginning in November. Despite the work and responsibilities that come with the role of editor, Onyediri said running the publication overcomes the challenge with a rewarding experience.
“It was fun, challenging and a bit like drinking from a fire hose,” Onyediri said. “I’m living the dream. It was incredibly rewarding and I really enjoyed every minute of it.
While Onyediri said he felt honored to have the opportunity to represent the black community as editor, he said he could not run the Texas Law Review alone, especially without the women on the editorial board. According to the American Bar Association, 55% of law students are women. Onyediri said highlighting women both on the leadership team and in articles published by the law journal helps increase representation beyond law school and into the professional legal industry.
“One of the things I wanted to achieve when I joined my editorial board was gender parity,” Onyediri said. “Just as being in a law journal can do a lot for your career, being published in a law journal can also do a lot.”
Working as editor, Sarah Eaton said she hopes the increased representation of women in the Texas Law Review and in law schools generally will translate into the professional field. Eaton said Onyediri not only works well with women on the law review, but actively helps promote women in the law.
“(Jason) does a really good job of uplifting others and making sure there’s space for them to be heard,” Eaton said. “(He is) a defender (that) everyone has something to contribute, giving them the space and the opportunity to do so.”
One of the responsibilities of incoming editors is to edit the seventh issue of the previous volume. Teri Gaus, the Texas Law Review’s editorial assistant for 14 years, said Onyediri and her team slipped through to the final issue of Volume 100 in June with ease.
“Jason was able to slip into the first issue that he and his team worked on very easily,” Gaus said. “Some years have been a little bumpy, but it was just seamless, (and) I don’t expect that.”
Once Onyediri graduates from law school in the spring, he will travel to Washington, DC, to work there for two years in federal and circuit courts, then plans to go into private practice. Onyediri said he hoped to leave the law review better than he found it.
“I want to continue to build on the legacy of the law review,” Onyediri said. “There’s a question of what the next 100 years will look like, and if I have my say, it’s going to be amazing.”