Kenesha Starling is the first Black student to serve as editor-in-chief of the law review in the school’s history.
The school, which was founded in 1923, touted Starling as a hardworking second-year law student eager to break down longstanding barriers.
“This is an opportunity for us to leave our footprint, our chance to do things a bit differently, a bit better… to shake things up a bit. Our school has a rich and impressive history; our alumni are Texas Supreme Court justices, judges, U.S. and district attorneys, and presidents of state and local bar associations, to name a few,” she told the school in an interview.
“Our Law Review should reflect that same culture; it should be a leading resource for the legal community. It is not enough to be on Law Review — we have to increase our presence, open doors for all the law students who follow our stead as the esteemed South Texas Law Review.”
Starling has an impressive resume. She spent almost two decades working for a federal agency while raising her young son and spending hours studying for her law degree. She already has her MBA on top of all her current work.
“Having a professional background, I tend to see things a bit differently from my peers. Generally, when people think of diversity, they only consider color or ethnicity, but I think diversity is also background, age, and the wealth of experiences that go along with that,” she said.
STCL Houston Professor Shelby Moore said she was proud of Starling for her hard work and said her new position would positively affect hundreds of other people who will look up to her.
“Kenesha has achieved a truly significant milestone as the first black editor-in-chief of South Texas Law Review — not only for herself, but for all minority students at the law school,” Professor Moore said.
“STCL Houston always has celebrated diversity and this important accomplishment furthers the school’s inclusive environment and reputation as a school of accessibility to all.”
She’s taking almost as many classes as her full-time peers, all while raising her 15-year-old son Darius. Starling was partially inspired to seek the position after seeing an inspirational poster honoring Black History Month. She’s in her final year of law school but is hoping her years of experience will be a benefit to the position.
“There is a lot of pressure that comes with being the first in anything because people see you as a role model. They wonder if you’ll fall into a certain stereotype or be better or worse than your predecessors. Most of all, you must do your best, more for those coming behind you than for yourself,” she said during the interview with the school.
“Because the reality is — if you don’t knock it out of the park — that ‘failure’ becomes a stigma and follows everyone who looks like you. That’s a weighty but exciting opportunity.”