Duncan KennedyHousing Law and Policy
An intellectual powerhouse. Preten-tious and condescending. Such is Duncster, a man renowned as much for his bourgeois sensibilities as for his intolerance of serial gunning. Kennedy’s breadth of knowledge – from the intricacies of legal doctrine to the abstractions of cultural studies – together with a dazzling articulateness, clearly set the man apart. Take Dunc, it’s good karma.
Arthur Miller ’58Seminar: Complex Litigation
This charismatic legend is entertaining, to say the least. Although most of the humor stems from his self-important air, Miller makes a very complicated subject matter somewhat comprehensible. Miller may be the ultimate experience for 1Ls – if you missed him then, get a taste of him before you leave.
Elizabeth WarrenBusiness Reorganization
Perhaps the only current professor at HLS who has managed to elevate the Socratic method to a form of art, Warren ensures that her students attend, prepare, and learn. Warren’s boundless energy often compels her to run rather than walk around campus – a trait that leads others to compare her to the Tasmanian Devil. Though overly sensitive students may take umbrage, Warren breaks down students with humor and gentle ribbing, then builds them up to elicit improbable answers to impossible questions. Besides, there’s no crying in law school – Warren’s living proof of that. Swallow your pride and sloth. Take Warren.
Frank Michelman ’60Comparative Constitutionalism: South Africa and the U.S. – Equality and Rights
If he had been born during the Mesozoic Era, Michelman would be “thesaurus.” Leads a great class discussion, without coddling, to bring a wealth of knowledge, theoretical and doctrinal, to his students. An unrepentant idealist who once shared a Law Review desk with Justice Antonin Scalia ’60, Michelman inspires students to consider the big picture even as he imparts minutiae like the Rule Against Perpetuities. His interesting courses for next year are an added bonus.
Virginia WiseLegal Research: Advanced;Legal Research: International, Foreign and Comparative;Legal Research: Intro to International Law Research (LL.M.s only)
Undaunted by the mistreatment of practical lawyering classes at HLS, Wise treats legal research seriously. While those looking for an easy A will be disappointed, Wise makes sure that her 2L and 3L students do something rare: learn. Yes, you will be treated to ribbing about studying for quizzes and doing homework, but when you put Wise’s techniques for legal research into action, it will all make sense.
Scott BrewerJurisprudence of Excellence
Much maligned for his logic-strewn take on the law, Brewer’s appearance on this list may shock those who’ve had him for Contracts. But Brewer’s bread and butter is jurisprudence, and that’s where his use of “lush green” formalism will challenge students to challenge the bedrock of judges’ assumptions. If you are interested in acquiring unique knowledge, you’ll appreciate Brewer’s analysis. Don’t worry if he’s mean; it’s just his self-proclaimed “pedagogical excellence.”
Richard Parker ’70Constitutional Law;Seminar: Constitutional Law Advanced: Majority Rule;Reading Group: “Political Jurisprudence;”Seminar: Law & Literature, Spiritual Hygiene for Lawyers
An iconoclast who brings an honest sense of cynicism to the classroom, students appreciate Parker because of his frank irreverence. He holds unconventional views, at least for HLS, and is unflinching in sharing them with students. Parker doesn’t get bogged down in legal mumbo jumbo; rather, he challenges students to fashion logical reasons for their emotional opposition to divisive issues like abortion, flag burning, campaign finance and school prayer. Those who are students in Parker’s less substantive courses can expect wine on the table, along with a completely different take on the law.
David RosenbergFederal Litigation;Complex Litigation and Mass Torts;Workshop in Applied Theory
Drafted to HLS by Prof. Charles Nesson, who considered him among the greatest litigators, Rosenberg offers not merely a different take on the law, but a different language for talking about it. Although rightly criticized for his confounding lack of organization, Rosenberg’s world view, an intriguing blend of functionalism, Chicago-style economics and anti-communism, manages to surface by the end of a semester. Masked in a crusty coat of cynicism, Rosenberg’s shameless enthusiasm for his subject matter makes him almost endearing to boot.
Alan DershowitzThinking about Thinking;Legal Profession: Tactics and Ethics in Criminal Litigation; Seminar: Concepts of Justice
Do you really want to spend a lifetime of cocktail parties answering in the negative to “Did you have Alan Dershowitz?” The most media-prolific HLS prof is more than just a walking soundbite. Dersh is the master of the hypo … answer one correctly, and he’s got one in his arsenal that’s guaranteed to tie your tongue in knots. Plus, don’t you want to know if OJ really did it? Take a seat in Dersh’s class, then. You really must.
Larry Tribe ’66Constitutional Law; Constitutional Law – Advanced: The Supreme Court and the Constitution at the Turn of the Millennium
One needs look no further than Grendel’s Den in Harvard Square to realize that this man has made a permanent impression on the U.S. Constitution. Quite possibly the nicest man at Harvard Law (at least to his students – who else provides apples at break time?). Unfortunately, his astounding brilliance too often transcends his students’ ability to comprehend. Still, it’s worth the effort.