When Gene Russianoff graduated from Harvard Law School in 1978, he chose a different path from most of his classmates. “Just about everybody — and I mean everybody — went into some form of corporate law,” Russianoff recalls. “Except, of course, those who planned to take a year ‘off’ to clerk for a judge. I had planned a graduate degree in public health the following fall. Then I saw a poster about jobs working with college students on social changes projects. And…” … and the rest is a bit of New York City history. Housed in the New York Public Library Archives and Manuscripts Division is a collection of 59 boxes of records from the New York Public Interest Group (NYPIRG) Straphangers Campaign, including 35-1/2 boxes labelled “Series V. Gene Russianoff Files.” In the description of the collection, the library states, “The New York Public Interest Research Group Straphangers Campaign was founded in 1979 to lobby for the repair and improvement of New York City’s subway and bus services. It has played a vital role in the rehabilitation of public transportation in New York City.”
On January 1 of this year, student workers at Harvard Law School got our first raise in over a decade, from $11.50 to $12.00 an hour. Our meager fifty cent raise wasn’t the result of Harvard’s sudden generosity—rather, it’s because the Massachusetts Legislature increased the state’s minimum wage.
It had been so long—at least eleven years!—since Harvard Law raised pay for research assistants and teaching fellows that the state minimum wage has now surpassed what we were making. In real terms, that means our wages have declined due to inflation. In the same amount of time, tuition has skyrocketed 57%, from $40,751 in 2008 to $63,800 in 2019. Yet none of that money is being returned to the students whose work keeps the school running, and our pay is far from a living wage.
When does a bad movie become “so bad, it’s good?” A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding does not give a definitive answer to that question, and frankly, it does not even attempt to give an answer. Royal Wedding is a plainly bad movie.
Royal Wedding, of course, is the sequel to A Christmas Prince, one of Netflix’s forays into the
made-for- television streaming Christmas movie genre that this newspaper reviewed last year.
Yet despite hitting a lot of the same tropes as its predecessor, both substantive (e.g., disabled child, sartorial subplot, stilted dialogue) and superficial (stupid establishing shots, excessive backlighting, cheap sound effects, distracting scene transitions), Royal Wedding manages to be, in fact, a much worse movie.
We, the undersigned organizations, are a coalition of affinity groups at Harvard Law School representing hundreds of students, millions of dollars, and countless hours of physical, intellectual, and emotional labor. While our specific organizations vary in membership, programming, and mission, we share a unified purpose: to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity. This purpose mandates we take action to change the status quo.
We call on Dean Manning to establish a Harvard Law School Committee on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity (“Committee”) charged with designing an Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity (“Office”); tracking implementation and progress on the Office; and monitoring the wellbeing of students until one year after the operation of the Office.
Editor’s note: these fables and illustrations were originally published in Green Bag between 2013 and 2014.
The Fox’s Foundation
Fox was representing Hedgehog in a dispute over whether contractor Mole had properly supervised the workers repairing Hedgehog’s den. Fox called Hare as a witness and asked Hare whether Mole had supervised the workers properly. Opposing counsel Snake objected, claiming “Lack of foundation.” Judge Owl said to Fox, “You need to lay a foundation before I will permit that question.” Fox then proceeded as follows:
Despite pitching “vigorous, lively discussion” at Harvard Law as his top priority, Dean Manning has repeatedly refused to engage with the ongoing debate over Harvard Law’s contribution to what some alumni are calling “the crisis of legal inequality.”
Last year, the Harvard Law Record’s Pete Davis published a book-length report entitled Our Bicentennial Crisis: A Call to Action for Harvard Law’s Public Interest Mission, which documented Harvard’s failure to address the mass exclusion from legal power for the average American in the criminal justice, civil justice and political systems. The report included several reform proposals through which HLS could potentially remedy its role in this legal crisis.
In the aftermath of Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation, I saw a lot of hopelessness, both abstract and functional. I’ve struggled in the past weeks to articulate what that means for The Record. If you haven’t noticed, our website looks terrible at the moment. That is partially not my fault, since we had a malware issue recently that required me to update everything and thus lose the web design, and partially entirely my fault, because I don’t know how to fix it and if I’m being honest, I’m not going to learn. I’m staring at my belly button a bit here, but it feels analogous to this moment in history: Everything is terrible, and it’s not really our fault, and we don’t know how to fix it.
One year ago, I published Our Bicentennial Crisis: A Call to Action for Harvard Law School’s Public Interest Mission. At the time, Harvard Law was inviting Supreme Court justices, senators and other famous alumni back to campus to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the legal giant’s 1817 founding. But while the administration was celebrating, public interest law students were sounding the alarm: of their school overtaken by corporate interests and losing relevance to the average American; of a watchdog of the law largely asleep as the institutions of the rule of law and equal justice under law were under siege; and of a law school community that had lost track of its declared mission to “educate leaders who contribute to the advancement of justice and the well-being of society.”
Our Bicentennial Crisis aimed to compile and surface these concerns. It documented: first, the crisis of mass exclusion from legal power for the average American (in the criminal justice, civil justice and political systems); second, Harvard Law’s failure to address this crisis, and the inaccurate excuses our community tends to give for not addressing it; third, what accounts for this civic deficit; and fourth, twelve reform proposals that aim to help us better live up to our mission. An electronic version of the full report is here, but below is a summary of Our Bicentennial Crisis’ findings. Continue reading “12 Ways Dean Manning Can Respond to The Crisis of Legal Inequality”
Harvard Law School has a problem, and that problem is Brett M. Kavanaugh. In 2008, Harvard Law School hired Judge Kavanaugh to teach key rule of law concepts, including separation of powers and the role of the Senate in appointing Supreme Court Justices. The rule of law is an abstract concept, and yet it is one of the most precious fibers holding democratic society together. Crucially, one of the roles of judges and legal academics is to make this abstract concept concrete. In contrast to this esteemed academic role, Kavanaugh’s recent testimony and behavior during his Senate Confirmation hearings makes a mockery of the U.S. Constitution, confirms his disrespect for women, and threatens America’s rule of law.
The credible allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee and Harvard Law School lecturer Brett Kavanaugh have left us with more questions than answers. Given that Kavanaugh’s class, “The Supreme Court since 2005,” is still on the schedule for winter term of this academic year, we have a few questions for the Harvard Law School administration.
Two of the alleged signatories of a statement released expressing support for Judge Brett Kavanaugh by current and former members of the Harvard Black Law Students Association (BLSA) state that they have not endorsed the use of their names on or agreed to sign the letter.
On June 16, 1944, the State of South Carolina executed George Stinney, a fourteen-year-old black boy who was convicted of murder by an all-white jury, following a sham trial. Seventy years later, the State of Ohio executed Tamir Rice, a twelve-year-old black boy after no trial. Twenty-four days after a white police officer executed Tamir, George was finally exonerated. And so George and Tamir, although executed by different states, in different times, and in different ways, are bound together by their striking commonalities: they were both young, black boys who were executed by the State after doing no wrong. George was executed via the post-trial mechanism, and Tamir was executed via the no-trial mechanism.
According to the Death Penalty Information Center, only 31 US states and the federal government have the death penalty on the books, with 19 states having done away with the practice. In actuality, all 50 states administer the death penalty, and all but three states have executed at least one person thus far this year.
Welcome to Harvard Law School! It couldn’t be a more exciting time for you to start your legal career.
Your life from here on out will be different, and you will make a difference, whether you choose to do so through private practice, government, public interest advocacy, or anything else. This place will open doors for you, and once you get inside, you’ll have the opportunity to make an impact.
This issue of The Record is especially for you. It contains a variety of viewpoints from a variety of people on how to take advantage of your time here. Of course, some of the advice contradicts itself. Use the judgment that led you here.
The staff of The Record hopes that you will gain something from what we’ve put together: hope, inspiration, or even a sense of calm. We encourage you to honor your voice and your moral compass during your time here, because what you say and what you do matters to the legal world.
Again, welcome to HLS. We are so excited to have each of you join our readership and the legal community.
Kate Thoreson, editor-in-chief
An Open Letter to the Class of 2021: On Mental Health by Viviana Hanley ’20, Student Mental Health Association Advocacy Committee member
Take Advantage of Opportunities to Learn at HLS by Larry Tribe ’66, professor
An Interview with I. Glenn Cohen ’03 by Kate Thoreson ’19, Record editor-in-chief
Being Queer at HLS Means Standing Up by Laura Older ’20 & Heather Pickerell ’20, Lamba co-presidents
Seek Affinity and Challenge Community by Ariel Ashtamker ’19, Josh Mathew ’19, Laya Maheshwari ’20, Radhe Patel ’20, Rajiv Narayan ’20, and Sabrina Singh ’20, SALSA members
Now That I’ve Got Your Attention, Here’s a Listicle! by Kate Thoreson ’19, Record editor-in-chief
Grab the Opportunity to Build a Better HLS by Leilani Doktor ’19, HLS Student Government co-president
The Quest for Worldliness by Daniel B. Rodriguez ’87, visiting professor
You Belong at HLS by Lauren Williams ’19, BLSA president
Remember Who You Are… and Where You Are by Zach Sosa ’19, HLAB communications director
Find Your Passions at HLS by Chloe Hawker ’19, BSA member
Make the Most of Your Time by Jessica Zhang ’19, Harvard Law Review member
Support Each Other at HLS and Beyond by Isabel Finley ’19 and Regina Powers ’19, WLA president and committee chair
Be Kind to Yourself and Others by Pantea Faed ’20 and Taha Wiheba ’20, MELSA co-presidents
Remember How to Be a Good Friend by Laurel Fresquez ’19 and Chloe Hawker ’19, Parody producer and writer
Challenge Yourself in Healthy Ways at HLS by Douglas Colby ’20, FedSoc vice president
Enjoy Yourself at HLS by Radhe Patel ’20, ACS vice president
Welcome to HLS! My name is Radhe Patel and I am Vice President of the Harvard Law School chapter of the American Constitution Society, or ACS. We are a community of progressive lawyers founded on the principle that the law should be a force to promote equality, access to justice, and improve the lives of all people.
I remember finding it hard to sift through all of the advice that was getting thrown at me at orientation without really having a full idea about what the heck was really about to happen in the coming year. To a large extent a lot it is just doing the thing—there are so many different ways to be successful and happy here, and so many resources that will be available to help you do it. Here are 3 things to think about during the ride.
Welcome to Harvard Law School! My name is Douglas Colby, and I am the VP of Membership for the Harvard Federalist Society. We are a group of conservatives, moderates, and libertarians who seek to provide respectful, open, and challenging debate at HLS. Additionally, we offer mentorship, academic and career support, and a strong community.