Poll Results: Do Harvard Law 3Ls Want Jeff Flake to Speak?

Editor’s note: We used a Google Form to conduct this poll, and as such, it was impossible to prevent 1Ls and 2Ls from voting without identifying all voters. The voters in this data set should not be treated as a sample size representative of the Class of 2018. It is possible that this poll was circulated in some social circles and not others, and we did not share it anywhere except on our website and on our Facebook page.

Continue reading “Poll Results: Do Harvard Law 3Ls Want Jeff Flake to Speak?”

Voting #UnionYes Because #TimesUp

In February, we were dismayed but unsurprised to learn that Harvard allowed a professor in its government department to sexually harass over a dozen of his female graduate students and colleagues, for over thirty years. The university’s own investigation found that Dominguez had committed “serious misconduct” as early as 1983 — but they kept him on staff, leaving students at risk, until intense media pressure forced him to resign.

The Dominguez reports prove that students can’t just rely on Harvard to follow Title IX and fight sexual harassment on campus (in case the three separate federal Title IX investigations faced by the University aren’t proof enough). Instead, graduate workers need the power of a union that can push Harvard to adopt best practices and end pervasive gender discrimination in academia.

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Jeff Flake’s shameful record on civil legal aid for the poor

Civil legal aid is in crisis. Stanford Law School professor Deborah L. Rhode estimates that about four-fifths of the civil legal needs of the poor, and about half of the civil legal needs of the middle class, remain unmet. The Legal Services Corporation’s estimate is even more dire: by their count this year, “86 percent of the civil legal problems faced by low-income Americans in a given year receive inadequate or no legal help.” Less than $1 out of every $100 spent on lawyers is spent helping advance the personal legal interests of poor Americans. Since only 1 percent of American lawyers are in legal aid practice, the nation with one of the highest concentration of lawyers provides less than one legal aid lawyer for every 10,000 low-income Americans living in poverty.

When the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index ranked high-income nations by terms of the accessibility of their civil justice systems, the United States ranked 20th of 23. On their ranking of nations in terms of the ability of people to obtain legal counsel, the United States ranked 50th of 66. As Jim Sandman, president of the Legal Services Corporation, the federal program established to distribute civil legal aid grants, told National Public Radio for their 2012 report “Legal Help for the Poor In ‘State of Crisis’”: “We have a great legal system in the United States, but it’s built on the premise that you have a lawyer… and if you don’t have a lawyer, the system often doesn’t work for you.” Continue reading “Jeff Flake’s shameful record on civil legal aid for the poor”

The Ref Has Been Worked: Harvard Law’s Flake-Out

There is an idea in sports called “working the ref.” You accuse the ref of being biased toward your opponent, and the ref starts being biased toward you to make up for it. It’s a clever tactic for bending an easily-rattled referee to your will.

In institutional politics, the right-wing establishment has honed working the ref into an art form. It’s a two-part dance. First, they take institutions that see themselves as “neutral referees” and accuse them of having a “left-wing bias.”  Then, they repeat themselves over and over and over again — no matter what the truth of the matter is — until the institution is so rattled by being called biased that it, in an attempt to affirm its neutrality, starts doing whatever the right-wing wants.

Dozens of institutions that see themselves as referees have been worked. PBS has long been accused of being left-wing, so it finally gave in this year and launched its own conservative talk show. The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Atlantic editorial boards got accused of being left-wing so much that they just went on a hiring spree for conservative columnists. The Obama administration so internalized the accusation of being left-wing that  it started implementing conservative agenda items, like cutting entitlements and deporting thousands of American families, to prove its neutral bona fides. Continue reading “The Ref Has Been Worked: Harvard Law’s Flake-Out

For HLS Student Workers, #UNIONYES is the Right Choice

On April 18th and 19th, student workers from across Harvard will head to the polls and decide whether we should have a voice in our community, by voting for the Harvard Graduate Students Union-United Auto Workers.

Harvard has fought the graduate student union every step of the way, from illegally excluding over 500 graduate student workers from voting in our first union election, to using our tuition money to hire expensive union-busting law firms, to filling our mailboxes with deceptive anti-union emails and mailers.

We’re concerned about the lengths to which Harvard has gone to actively mislead its students about the potential impact of unionization. As HLS students and graduate workers ourselves, we’re here to correct the record and demonstrate why #UnionYes is the right choice for HLS.

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At The Harvard Law Forum: Rep. Keith Ellison

Congressman Keith Ellison represents Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives and is the Deputy Chair of the Democratic National Committee. He was the first Muslim elected to the House of Representatives.

On April 2, 2018, he came to Harvard Law School to share his thoughts and experience on what the path forward for the Democratic Party is in the Trump era.

The video is below:

At The Harvard Law Forum: Chuck Marohn on What Lawyers Can Do to Build Strong Towns

Charles “Chuck” Marohn is the Founder and President of Strong Towns, a leading non-profit advocating for models of city planning and development that allow for financially strong and resilient cities, towns and neighborhoods. Marohn is a Professional Engineer licensed in Minnesota, a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and the lead author of Thoughts on Building Strong Towns (Volumes 1, 2, and 3) and A World Class Transportation System. In 2017, he was named one of the 10 Most Influential Urbanists of all time by Planetizen.

On March 29, 2018, he came to Harvard Law School to share what lawyers and law students can do to help advance sustainable and resilient models of urban development.

The video is below:

Review: Reputation by Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift released Reputation in November of 2017. Having listened to the album in its entirety over 250 times since then, I feel qualified to share my detailed thoughts with the general public. I also recently found out we’ve got the same Enneagram type, which is probably irrelevant but still kind of cool.

“But Megan, Taylor is problematic/a snake/playing the victim/failing to use her platform as a role model for young women to promote social and political issues that matter to herself and her fans!” I know. She knows. Nearly all the promotional materials for this album – not to mention the “Look What You Made Me Do” music video – explicitly address the fact that she has heard all of these criticisms. And she doesn’t really care. Or maybe she does, but wants you to think she doesn’t? Unclear.

The bulk of this review – like the best parts of Reputation – isn’t about the (valid) criticisms of Swift as a person. Instead, it is an in-depth, track-by-track analysis of the album, focusing on the music and, to the extent possible, looking past the baggage that inherently comes with Taylor Swift.

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At The Harvard Law Forum: Isabel Sawhill on A Post-Trump Agenda for a Divided America

Isabel V. Sawhill is a senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution. She has served as co-director of the Center on Children and Families, a senior fellow at The Urban Institute, an Associate Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and co-founder of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Her research has spanned a wide array of economic and social issues, including fiscal policy, economic growth, poverty and inequality. Over the past decade, her major focus has been on how to improve opportunities for disadvantaged children in the U.S.

On April 5, 2018, she came to Harvard Law to share her thoughts and experience on what inclusive growth policies could unite a post-Trump America.

The video is below:

At The Harvard Law Forum: Pastor Donna Hubbard and Carl Route on Building a Better Prison Re-entry System

Carl Route and Pastor Donna Lynne Hubbard are civic and religious leaders in Atlanta, Georgia. Formerly incarcerated citizens themselves, they are inspiring advocates for a better prison reentry system.

Route is the co-founder of both the National Association of Previous Prisoners, a community agency providing support for returning citizens, and the Young Fathers of Metro Atlanta, a community agency that provides fatherhood services to young Atlantans.

Pastor Hubbard is the founder of the Woman at the Well Transition Center, a non-profit ministry providing services to formerly incarcerated persons, and the author of the Parenting from Prison Project, an active program in many county jails around Atlanta.

On March 28, 2018, they came to Harvard Law School to share with students their experiences, insights, and wisdom from decades of prison reentry work.

The video is below:

At the Harvard Law Forum: Joshua Matz on Legal Resistance to the Trump Administration

Joshua Matz is a constitutional and appellate lawyer involved in many cases against the Trump Administration. He is also the Publisher of Take Care, an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown Law, and the co-author (with Larry Tribe) of “To End A Presidency: The Power of Impeachment.” He is of counsel at Kaplan & Company LLP and Gupta Wessler PLLC.

On April 3, 2018, he came to Harvard Law School to share his experience and expertise on the legal backlash against the Trump administration: the source of its intensity, the judicial response to it, and how lawyers can use litigation to restrain the Trump administration in the coming months.

The video is below