Personality: Tiffany S. Mickel
Spotlight on first African-American editor-in-chief of the Virginia Law Review
2/25/2021, 6 p.m.
Tiffany S. Mickel is blazing new paths as the first African-American editor-in-chief of the Virginia Law Review, and she hopes to ensure an accessible, equitable and informative resource for others.
Founded on April 23, 1913, by students at the University of Virginia’s School of Law, VLR’s mission to publish professional periodicals on law-related issues for judges, legislators, teachers and others has grown slowly over the last century. The group elected its first female editors in 1942 and its first black editor in 1987. Ms. Mickel, a second-year law student at U.Va., is fully aware of the significance of her selection for this prestigious role.
She was named editor-in-chief Jan. 23.
“Holding the top editorial post at one of the highest-rated law reviews in the country is a highly coveted feat,” Ms. Mickel says. “Being the first Black law student to serve as editor-in-chief, I am not only honored to contribute to a legal publication with such a rich history of advancing groundbreaking legal theories, but also extremely grateful to stand on the shoulders of the women and people of color who came before me.”
During her one-year term, Ms. Mickel will lead editorial efforts for VLR’s print publication and online edition. She wants to ensure that the VLR team shares not only their legal knowledge, but also their experiential knowledge.
Her plan as editor-in-chief: To synthesize VLR’s many priorities into a single, shared vision and isolate the best, workable steps to achieve it. This approach taps into Ms. Mickel’s passion for efficient processes, effective leadership and teamwork and “pristine deliverables.”
“I aspire to approach the editor-in-chief position with thoughtfulness and vision,” says Ms. Mickel, who hopes she and her peers on the managing board will learn and grow from the experience. “I’m confident that we can foster a supportive team by appreciating our diverse motivations and viewpoints and encouraging teammates to contribute their unique skills.”
Ms. Mickel wants to expand access to VLR publications as well as the diversity of their authorships, scholarships and membership. The COVID-19 pandemic has “underscored” the importance of effective collaboration, communication, and coordination for VLR to succeed.
“Contributing to a legal publication at this point in history was not only my dream come true but also my civic duty to stand with my fellow U.Va. School of Law student body and let my voice be heard to make a difference for generations to come.”
Meet a landmark leader and this week’s Personality, Tiffany S. Mickel:
No. 1 volunteer position: Editor-in-chief, Virginia Law Review.
Date and place of birth: July 15 in Washington, D.C.
Where I live now: Charlottesville.
Family: My parents retired from the U.S. Army. I’m the oldest of two children and my younger brother also served in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper for four years. I grew up in a military community and family.
Education: Bachelor’s in material science and engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT.
Work experience: Management consultant with Accenture and brief tenure with Boeing in financial analytics.
Virginia Law Review is: Alegal journal edited and published by the student body of the University of Virginia School of Law.
When Virginia Law Review was founded: On April 23,1913, the Virginia Law Review was permanently organized.
Founders: U.Va. law students in 1913. But, VLR didn’t elect its first female editors until 1942 and its first Black editor until 1987.
Mission: The Virginia Law Review’s objective is “to publish a professional periodical devoted to law-related issues that can be of use to judges, practitioners, teachers, legislators, students and others interested in the law.”
Significance of my role: Holding the top editorial post at one of the highest-rated law reviews in the country is a highly coveted feat. Being the first Black law student to serve as editor-in-chief, I am not only honored to contribute to a legal publication with such a rich history of advancing groundbreaking legal theories, but also extremely grateful to stand on the shoulders of the women and people of color who came before me.
How I was notified and my reaction: I was contacted via phone by my predecessor Arjun Ogale with the good news and I was super excited about taking on the role!
Why I accepted: With the world in flux, the Virginia Law Review faces unprecedented challenges and an increased sense of responsibility to inform the legal thought leadership. Contributing to a legal publication at this point in history was not only my dream come true but also my civic duty to stand with my fellow U.Va. School of Law student body and let my voice be heard to make a difference for generations to come.
How many are on your staff: 30, including myself.
Major goal as editor-in-chief: Lead efforts in support of our dual goal of both honoring the Law Review’s time-honored tradition of being an excellent print publication and offering both authors and readers an engaging experience through our online edition.
My leadership strategy: Ensure that our team not only shares legal knowledge but also shares experiential knowledge. I aspire to approach the editor-in-chief position with thoughtfulness and vision. I dream of the opportunity to learn and grow alongside my managing board peers and to empower them to achieve their goals and grow as leaders. I’m confident that we can foster a supportive team by appreciating our diverse motivations and viewpoints and encouraging teammates to contribute their unique skills.
I plan to synthesize our varied priorities to create a shared vision and to isolate manageable, workable steps to materialize the bigger vision. I’m passionate about efficiency and streamlined processes, effective leadership and teamwork and pristine deliverables. These three elements go hand in hand. I’ve experienced firsthand how effective leadership can ensure that a team is efficient, timely, organized, that teammates are growing as leaders and creating deliverables that live up and bolster the team’s reputation and ability to retain clientele.
Challenges facing Virginia Law Review: Editorial members share in the goals of advancing diverse authorship, publishing diversified scholarship and implementing innovative ideas for the changing online publishing landscape.
Racial equity and Virginia Law Review: VLR is committed to expanding access to our pages and membership.
COVID-19 and Virginia Law Review: The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of effective collaboration, communication and coordination for VLR’s success with its publications and symposia. Operating under these new norms has truly advanced our ability to be flexible while maintaining consistency during very uncertain times.
Plans after law school: Join a law firm in a major metropolitan city working on technology and intellectual property transactions.
How I start the day: Prayer, meditation, gym and coffee – not always in that order. (Lol)
Three words that best describe me: Consistent, optimistic and humble.
Best late-night snack: Vanilla ice cream and Baileys.
How I unwind: Playing with my dog, “Mister Whiskey.”
Something I love to do that most people would never imagine: Binge watching “true crime” shows.
Quote that most inspires me: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” — Jeremiah 29:11
At the top of my “to-do” list: Show up for myself today.
Best thing my parents ever taught me: Hard work, integrity and strong faith.
Person who influenced me the most: Choosing just one person is not an easy task. It would be a combination of my mother and my brother as two of the most influential people in my life. They are dedicated public servants, passionate about the value that equal opportunity for all of our citizens provides, such as ensuring education and health services and access to affordable and nutritious food.
Book that influenced me the most: “All About Love: New Visions” by bell hooks.
What I’m reading now: “A Promised Land” by former President Barack Obama.
Next goal: Learning conversational Spanish and French so that I can immerse myself in culture during international travel.