From the Print Edition / Opinion  /  April 18, 2014  / 

End the Prison-Industrial Complex

There are plenty of legitimate reasons to send someone to prison— deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation and so on—but profit is not among them. Unfortunately, it is an obscenely large reason that American prisons today house more inmates than any other country on this planet. If that fact doesn’t trouble you, it should. A nation that prides itself on freedom is, paradoxically, the world’s largest jailer. By some measures, the American incarceration rate is a whopping 743 per 100,000, well above the second biggest jailer’s (Russia, at 577). Twenty-five percent of the world’s inmates are American. There are perhaps more prisoners in America than in all of Europe—a continent with twice our population. While there are numerous culprits behind our burgeoning prison population, especially draconian sentences for nonviolent drug offenses, the most troubling by far is an increasingly privatized prison system that makes money off rampant criminalization and the hiking up of … Continue reading

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From the Print Edition / News  /  April 18, 2014  / 

Public Interest Auction Raises Money for SPIF

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On only one night per year is it possible for a student to buy a movie night with Dean Minow, a champagne reception with Professor Mann, or a cocktail tasting with Climenko Fellow Epps. At the 2014 Harvard Law School Public Interest Auction, which took place on April 2, fierce auction bidders won these and many other prizes donated by alumni, professors, firms, and businesses. Since 1994, the annual Harvard Law School Public Interest Auction has raised money for Summer Public Interest Funding (SPIF). The mission of SPIF is to make it possible for students to accept unpaid or underpaid summer employment in non-profit, government, NGO, IGO, or approved private public interest firm settings. During the summer of 2013, 467 Harvard Law students received SPIF funding totaling approximately $2 million. This year’s auction, titled “All Bids On Deck,” had a nautical theme. Volunteers wearing sailor hats lined the hallways of … Continue reading

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From the Print Edition / News  /  April 18, 2014  / 

TEDx Comes to Harvard Law

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On Saturday, April 12, nine students and practitioners presented about the role of law in social change. Their topics covered a range of issues, each brought together by a common thread—improving the understanding of how Harvard students can be agents of social change. The event was hosted by the HLS Law and Social Change Program, which seeks to foster a strong community of public interest students while challenging the ways students use their law degrees to implement social change in the real world. “We wanted to showcase the wealth of perspectives and experiences of Harvard students and Boston practitioners with using law to shape social change,” said Scott Hochberg, Law and Social Change student fellow. “Each speaker went through a lengthy application and audition process, and we were able to include talks that covered a wide range of topics and perspectives. We hope the conference will spark discussions that challenge … Continue reading

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From the Print Edition / Opinion  /  April 18, 2014  / 

An Open Letter to Jim Yong Kim Re: Divestment from Fossil Fuels

Jim Yong Kim President, World Bank Dear Dr. Kim: We write to thank you on behalf of Divest Harvard, a group of students calling for Harvard University to divest its endowment holdings in fossil fuel companies. In your remarks at the Davos World Economic Forum in January, you gave hope, encouragement, and inspiration to the thousands of students across America working to address climate change through divestment. Your speech – which adds to the growing chorus of pro-divestment calls made by prominent figures, such as President Barack Obama and Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – showed great insight and leadership by making clear that climate change is an urgent global crisis requiring immediate and decisive action. Specifically, you said: “This is the year to take action on climate change. There are no more excuses. If we fail, our children and grandchildren will … Continue reading

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From the Print Edition / News  /  April 18, 2014  / 

Diversity Includes Disability

Students at Harvard Law and elsewhere possess disabilities, visible and invisible, yet these disabilities are more often than not a source of strength and lawyers should be more cognizant of just how varied, valuable, and diverse persons with disabilities (PwDs) are. That was just one message of many discussed at a “Diversity and Disability” panel last Friday. The event featured four speakers united by a desire to de-stigmatize disabilities. It was co-sponsored by HL Central, the Student Mental Health Association (SMHA), and the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), and organized by 1L Elisa Dun, who put the panel together through funds she received after winning this year’s TJ Duane Grant competition. Some attendees were surprised to learn from Lime Connect President and CEO Susan Lang that at least one in ten college-aged students have disabilities. According to panelist Tiffany Yu, one reason for this is the effect of stigma: While … Continue reading

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From the Print Edition / Opinion  /  April 18, 2014  / 

Why Do We Blame the Poor?

The way we frame issues can make all the difference. A woman is being evicted from her property. She is a single mother and has 5 young children. She lives in subsidized housing. She is facing imminent eviction because her son, who no longer lives with her, was caught engaging in drug-related activity near the property. By the letter of the law, she breached the terms of her lease, and the eviction is legal. The landlord’s attorneys argue that the government should not be providing housing to criminals, to those in the population who do not want to follow the rules. The court rules against the woman. The judgment against her means that she has lost all future ability to live in subsidized housing, and her family may soon be homeless. How do we justify stories like this? How do we accept the legitimacy of the law when it can … Continue reading

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From the Print Edition / Opinion  /  April 18, 2014  / 

Dear 2Ls: One Day’s Work

Dear Harvard Law School Community, We are thrilled to launch the One Day’s Work campaign for the Class of 2015 Fellowship. For those of you who are unfamiliar with One Day’s Work, the concept is simple. Members of the class of 2015 entering the private sector after their second year of law school donate one day’s worth of their summer salary. The money collected will then go to a member of the class of 2015 entering the public sector upon graduation. We have energetically revamped the program over the past few years, because we are confident that it is a meaningful addition to the Harvard Law School community. As you may know, Yale, Berkeley, and other top law schools have similar programs that have been very successful. We want to take this opportunity to tell you why we believe Harvard should have such a program and and why you should … Continue reading

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From the Print Edition / Opinion  /  April 18, 2014  / 

Take the Money: 10 Cool Things About LIPP

1. You don’t have to be “low income” to qualify for LIPP. “LIPP is extremely generous and it’s absolutely livable.” This is a common refrain heard from HLS graduates who use LIPP to repay their student loans. Andrea Saenz (’08), a Clinical Teaching Fellow at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, said, “I think there’s not enough accurate information out there about how much public interest lawyers make and how we’re not all living on ramen with six roommates.” Because LIPP has no income cap, graduates who earn six figures may still be eligible depending on the amount they borrowed. For example, someone with $126,000 of law school debt (the average for a 2013 HLS graduate) who makes $70,000 in her first year and $91,000 in her tenth year will have more than half of her loan expenses paid by LIPP. 2. LIPP allows for career flexibility. You can enter … Continue reading

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From the Print Edition / Interview  /  March 27, 2014  / 

On the Record: Professor Susan Crawford

Communications is different from other regulated industries because of its susceptibility to monopolistic forces. In a world that increasingly relies on communications channels, the importance of global access is obvious. Professor Crawford has been on the front of this debate, and I thank her for taking the time to speak with the Record about big deals, bigger problems, and the future of high speed Internet access. LC: What is going on between Comcast and Time Warner? SC: Comcast is the largest media company in the world, and also the largest broadband and cable provider in the United States. It has recently announced that it wants to merge with Time Warner Cable, the second largest pure cable distributor in the United States. Comcast has about 20 million subscribers and Time Warner Cable has about 11 million. So, together would they have about 31 million customers, especially clustered up and down the … Continue reading

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From the Print Edition / Opinion  /  March 27, 2014  / 

Confronting Unjust Immigration and Border Policies in the Arizona Desert

“There is nowhere on Earth like the place where we work. It is beautiful beyond telling: harsh, vast, mountainous, remote, rugged, unforgiving, every cliché you can think of and more. I have been humbled countless times by the incredible selflessness and courage of the people that I have met there, and I have been driven nearly out of my head with rage at the utterly heartless economic and political system that drives people to such lengths in order to provide for their families.” – No More Deaths Volunteer This Spring Break, eight Harvard Law students and clinicians travelled to the U.S.-Mexico border to do humanitarian work with No More Deaths. When we signed up, we knew the operation was contentious. We glossed over the details with our parents and felt the need to justify the work we would be doing to our law school friends. For, border policy has been … Continue reading

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