[In your 2/7/08 edition] your Editorial Board showed maturity and leadership when it took a courageous stand in favor of maintaining the 3L writing requirement, despite the decision of the Harvard Law School administration to essentially destroy it, with minimal advanced consultation with the students of Harvard Law School. Never in my life, would I expect to see the HLS administration LOWERING academic standards, while the students, as represented by your Editorial Board, are trying to make academic standards HIGHER and tougher. My goodness, you students make the alumni proud of you, while we continue to be disappointed by the lack of good leadership at the HLS administration level.
Further, the Editorial Board wrote “if the problem was that HLS professors didn’t wish to supervise students writing such papers, we wonder how that fits in with the school’s recent emphasis on its professors teaching skills.” Yes, you have correctly pointed out the distinction between the HLS administration’s words, and the HLS administration’s actions. That gap is as wide as the Grand Canyon! Also, the Editorial Board wrote “it will presumably reduce the burden on faculty to supervise such papers.” No doubt about it, perhaps they will have more time for activities that don’t involve the students at all.That the students are demanding that an extra hard requirement be maintained is truly amazing! That the HLS leadership is lowering the standards is again shocking! The courage of the Editorial Board, stands in stark contrast to those who advocate the watering down of standards, and the destruction of time honored traditions. The founders of the school must be weeping in their graves!
Yet, why weren’t the students of HLS asked to make this decision for themselves? They, the paying customers, should have been able to make the final decision; their lives are the most effected when institutions lower the bar.
In a world where so many leaders are so disappointing, how refreshing it is to see that the next generation, the students, demand better! That gives us hope that the future will be brighter, than the dismal present.
As the Editorial Board appears to know, and what the HLS administration appears to not understand, is that great lawyers need to have outstanding legal writing skills. They also must have the courage of their convictions and the confidence to stand alone when they are right, and the vision to express themselves on behalf of their clients with passion and belief. The planned destruction of the 3L writing requirement may ease the burden on the faculty in the short run, but it will triple the burden on the students when the next generation enters the real world.
HLS Class of 1990
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