Please Join WLA for Feminism and Womanism Week

The Women’s Law Association is hosting our inaugural fall conference, Feminism and Womanism Week, this Wednesday, October 18, 2017 – Friday, October 20, 2017. We kicked off our week with the Feminist Formal last Friday, October 13, 2017, which was completely sold out and a huge success. We have partnered with a number of affinity groups on campus, including Lambda, BLSA, APALSA, MELSA, SALSA, and La Alianza, all of whom are serving as co-sponsors for the conference.

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What to See at HLS in the World

Our alumni readership keeps asking how we’re covering the bicentennial. That is to say, you should all attend HLS in the World on October 27th, because despite the fact that Harvard Law is basically a corporate professional school at this point, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have a modicum of intellectual curiosity, and neither would you. Plus, these talks are great!

But, of course, a lot of the talks are full now. You thought you were going to get into the talk on Marbury v. Madison with Susan Davies, Merrick Garland ’77, Kathleen Sullivan ’81, and Larry Tribe ’66 if you’re just now reading this article? LOL.

Here are my recommendations, so don’t say we didn’t tell you this was happening! Register here after you check out our previews.

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A Call to Defend DACA

As law students, we have spent long hours studying the breadth of power granted to our government by the Constitution. As progressives, we believe that power ought to be harnessed to advance the dignity of all people. As Americans, we were outraged when the Trump Administration instead announced that it would use this power to destroy the lives of our classmates, our neighbors, and our friends.  It is yet another step in this government’s swift descent into cruelty, divisiveness, and nativism.

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A Prison Journalist’s Q&A with a Justice Advocate

I am a prison journalist, and I have been incarcerated for almost sixteen years, walking down a twenty-eight-years-to-life sentence for possession of a firearm, drug distribution, and a murder I committed on a Brooklyn street in 2001. I’ve spent most of my time in Attica Correctional Facility and recently transferred to Sing Sing Correctional Facility, another maximum-security prison, but this one closer to New York City. The prison is bustling with civilians involved with several privately funded programs: music, theater, higher education. There is also a group called Voices From Within (VFW), sponsored by NBC Dateline producer Dan Slepian, that hosts events with the youth, hipping them to the warning signs of trouble and offering them better life choices.

Years ago, VFW raised $8,000 from the prison population for a gun buyback. The money was supposed to be matched by several community partners but that never happened. Enter Bianca Tylek. Formerly with the Brennan Center for Justice, she is now the director of a new initiative at the Urban Justice Center called the Corrections Accountability Project.

In December 2016, Bianca met with VFW and learned that the gun buyback money was sitting idle. She vowed to help match it and published an article about the project at Huff Post on May 21, 2017. She kept her word. In September, Bianca met with VFW and reported to them that she managed to raise $10,000. Having begun my prison journalism career with articles on gun control, I supported her efforts 100 percent. While the logistics of the project still need to be sorted out, I thought it was time to shine a light on what she was doing. An editor put me in touch with her and she was game to talk to me. Continue reading “A Prison Journalist’s Q&A with a Justice Advocate”

The Threat of Big Data Surveillance

You are being tracked by the digital clues you leave behind. On campus, every computer-log in, tweet, or electronic ID card potentially identifies your location. Outside school, depending on where you live, your car is tagged by automatic license plate readers, your face by surveillance cameras, and your social media posts captured by those wishing to monitor your activities. If you carry a smartphone, computer, or tablet, your digital life is being revealed to third party companies and the government entities that lawfully request that private information. These digital trails will only increase as the Internet of Things begins turning ordinary objects into data-rich sources of surveillance. In short, citizens (especially young, digitally savvy citizens) are creating a web of self-surveillance that offers convenience and social control in equal measure.

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NALSA Indigenous Peoples’ Day Statement

The Native American Law Students Association at Harvard Law School calls upon Harvard University to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day as the official school holiday on the second Monday in October. In continuing to celebrate Columbus Day, Harvard University disregards the student body’s strong support of this measure by not taking any action to catalyze this change.

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NFL Previews, Week 5

October’s rolled around, and across the league, contenders are separating themselves from the pack. There’s an exciting slate of games to watch over the holiday weekend:

Jacksonville at Pittsburgh: Sunday, October 8th 1:00 PM on CBS

Leonard Fournette and a revamped Jacksonsville defense have the Jaguars looking competitive in the AFC South. This week will give them an opportunity to win a statement game against the Superbowl favorite Pittsburgh Steelers. The Jacksonville secondary versus Pittsburgh’s strong passing attack should be a fun matchup.

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College Football Previews, Week 6

Miami at Florida State, Sunday 3:30 p.m., ESPN

Regardless of the result on Saturday, the matchup between rivals FSU and Miami will likely serve as a historic point of inflection in the series. For the Hurricanes, a victory would not only snap their 7-game skid against the Seminoles, but would also serve as a breakthrough in the program’s revitalization efforts under Mark Richt, whereas a win for FSU would both extend their winning streak to 8 in the rivalry – longer than any steak either team has ever achieved over the other – and tie the overall series record for the first time ever at 31-31 overall. While coming into this season, the matchup may have seemed like a no-brainer for the Seminoles, the Hurricanes have thus far looked like the superior squad, having thrashed their (admittedly ineffectual) opponents to achieve a 3-0 record and #13 ranking, while the Seminoles – bogged down by both injuries and incompetence – disgracefully descended from their top-3 preseason ranking to their worst start in almost 30 years before escaping from last week’s aesthetically displeasing display against Wake Forest with their first victory of the season. Nonetheless, odds-makers seem to remain slightly skeptical of Miami’s chances to win, perhaps due to a combination of the uncertain status of star running back Mark Walton (who was averaging close to 10 yards a carry on the season before suffering a mild ankle injury last week against Duke), the disadvantage of playing on the road in Tallahassee, and the recent inadequacies of both the Canes and Mark Richt in struggling to win similarly important games against Conference rivals.

College Football Previews, Week 5

Nebraska at Illinois, Friday 8 p.m., FS1

Kneeling for the pledge has been in the national spotlight long before Trump publicly criticized it a year ago. In fact, last year, 3 Nebraska football players chose to kneel before their game. One player who did so, Michael Rose-Ivey, received messages saying that “since we didn’t want to stand before the anthem, we should be hung before the anthem.” When a university regent criticized the players, implying that they should be removed from the team and have their scholarships revoked, Nebraska head coach Mike Riley responded in kind: “I have complete confidence in what I believe in and how I handled it within this team. It was the right thing to do – because it’s their right.”

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Reflection on the National Anthem Protests

As someone who loves the game of football, I’ve spent the last few days thinking about the events of this past weekend – the national anthem protests which spread across the league. I’ve struggled to decide what, if anything, to say about the controversy that’s erupted.

In truth, I was tempted to say nothing. After all, I’m a middle class white male. And, frankly, I believe that there have been more than enough middle class white males offering their thoughts on the ongoing demonstrations. But, I also realize that to confront these events with silence – to present the next week’s slate of games with no reflection – would be a statement in itself. It would suggest that X’s and O’s are more important than the issues weighing on our country’s conscience.

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Do Good and Do Good Well

Dear 1Ls, 

By now, you have presumably had your first encounter with the Socratic method. Regardless of your thoughts on it as a pedagogical tool, however, I encourage you not to consign the spirit of rigorous self-examination to the classroom, and to instead apply it to your beliefs on how to benefit your fellow creatures.

Socrates was, of course, famous for quipping that the only thing he knew was that he knew nothing. He would seek out those who claimed to know, and show them that they, in fact, did not. When I was in your place, I thought I knew how to do the most good with my law degree. I subscribed to the public interest orthodoxy that doing the most good after law school meant working for a public interest organization, or perhaps government, to advance Americans’ civil rights. Inspired by the legal heroes whose portraits adorn this campus, I dreamt of one day fighting the many injustices that still plague the United States, thereby bending the arc of the moral universe ever more slightly towards justice.

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Using Magic Stones To Build A Better Harvard Law

Law students are often anxious, if not downright terrified, of being exposed as possessing the most shameful of all human traits—not knowing something. Well, we certainly act and feel at times like it’s that shameful. Days, even weeks, can be ruined by a misstatement during a cold call. Lecture can feel like a dunk tank, with the professor ready at any moment to throw a question at your target and drop you into a bone-chilling pool of humiliation. Early in my 1L Civil Procedure course, (the stellar) Professor Rubenstein asked me a question about establishing personal jurisdiction, and I blanked. I felt distraught for days.

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Corporate Accountability Through Compliance

Following a decade of deregulation, defense industry procurement scandals, and savings and loan crisis, corporate malfeasance captured the attention of the American public in the early 1990s. In response to these scandals and increasing prosecution of corporations, the US Sentencing Commission enacted federal sentencing guidelines for organizations in November 1991. The guidelines articulated that an “Effective Compliance and Ethics Program” would “promote an organizational culture that encourages ethical conduct and a commitment to compliance with the law.”

A decade later, the dire need for such organizational culture continued to be highlighted in a string of corporate scandals that included Enron, Arthur Andersen, WorldCom, and Tyco. As a response to these scandals, companies developed their compliance functions to prevent and detect misconduct before the misconduct grew into scandals that would devastate investors and employees.

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