If someone were to ask me, “What is the New England Law Review’s most valuable asset?,” without hesitation I would respond: the student staff-members who comprise its ranks. Perhaps that is why the recent and unexpected passing of one of our senior editors, Nathaniel S. Downing, is such an immeasurable loss—it struck at the human capital that forms the very foundation of our journal.
Nate was a remarkable person on so many levels. However, his greatest contribution to our Law Review was the way that he went about his work. To be sure, he endured the same bittersweet, love-hate relationship that defines the Law Review experience generally. Yet, he understood that on Law Review, as in life, there are responsibilities that one must pursue, not out of personal enjoyment or reward, but rather out of personal sacrifice and duty to a larger cause. Despite his distaste for “tech checks” and “office hours,” Nate recognized that, above all else, Law Review membership is a great privilege. Moreover, under his cool façade, Nate knew that this privilege does not come without sacrifice: It is earned through many hours of writing, checking citations, editing articles, reviewing others’ work . . . and invariably doing it all over again until the job is done right. And Nate always got the job done right.
Thus, while Nate’s passing initially caused many of us to question the importance of our work, in the end his death has galvanized our Law Review. After many tears and much mourning, it has become clear that Law Review is more than a scholarly journal: It is a microcosm of life. There are ups and downs. There are successes and failures. That is why Volume 46 has been nothing short of amazing. It was forged out of a steadfast commitment to excellence and tempered by adversity. And while we will miss our friend and colleague, we know that our time together was spent pursuing something greater than ourselves. Carpe Diem.