Let the Record Pick Your Classes


With the deadline for Winter and Spring term registration bids only a few hours away, students may still be wondering what classes to take. Never fear, HLS, the Record staff is here to offer its advice on what classes to take this year.

If you can’t find one of these courses on MyPlan, then use the super secret “write-in” option for aspirational choices.

Advanced Administrative Law:

Take Advanced Administrative Law so that you can better understand and manipulate the levers of Federal authority and use your knowledge to create a small bureaucratic fiefdom that you can slowly grow over the years until you control the world. Muhhhaa!

“I didn’t know it got more advanced than Chevron Step II,” quipped one 3L. Neither did we, but that’s why we should be taking this seminar, apparently.

The course description says this class is “for true fans of administrative law and agency process.” Sure, why not. As a bonus it’s taught by Prof. Jody Freeman, who we don’t know, but who looks pretty awesome in the picture that always runs of her lecturing on the main HLS webpage.


You don’t want to be the only Harvard Law graduate to not have taken this course. Some may tell you its meaningless, but you will never understand your fiduciary duty in your heart of hearts until you take it. Professor Clark will even give you stuffed animals if you perform well in class.

The Law of Underwater Basket Weaving:

We don’t have this course yet, but don’t you want to round out my law school education with this critical 3L course?

Not only would you learn invaluable artisanal skill, but you will also feel competent resolving any disputes between underwater basket weavers.

Cyberlaw: Internet Points of Control:

Every year we go to the Public Interest Auction, enjoy some free alcohol, bid on some utterly useless outings, and then we make it to the live auction and we think “Wait a minute, who’s that guy in the suit standing up there next to Dean Kagan? He’s appealingly snarky.” It turns out that is Prof. Zittrain, and also that he teaches Cyberlaw in the Winter term.

As for Cyberlaw itself, we’re not sure what that is, but we trust that, at the very least, nobody will be banning laptops.

Introduction to Islamic Law:

In previous semesters, we’ve been frustrated by how relevant our classes are to our day to day lives. That’s why we suggest taking Introduction to Islamic Law which, according to the course description, will “focus on the debate among Muslim jurists, from the 11th to the 15th century, on the legal or theological character” of Islamic jurisprudence. Neat, and it will make us sound smart at socially conscious cocktail parties whenever the subject of the Middle East comes up.

Those wishing to please at parties on the Upper West Side might consider taking The Legal Thought of Maimonides instead.

Capital Punishment in America:

You came to Harvard expecting to become the next Atticus Finch, but have instead become Defense Counsel Fourth Chair. Here is your chance to take a course with a professor who convinced the Supreme Court to overturn a Texas death sentence.

Learn why Prof. Steiker thinks that executions will increase after this next Supreme Court term.

Freedom Seminar:

We know you’ve been looking for an excuse to spend more time on the Internet. For this course, Prof. Nesson wants you to. Post your ideas on the wiki and watch them grow into a collaboratively designed seminar that will address the “ultimately unanswerable questions about the nature of freedom and how we handle it.”

Winter Writing Program:

For those of us who didn’t con the school into paying several thousand dollars for us to do “human rights research” in some gorgeous, sunny locale, it doesn’t get better than taking two independent writing credits, which involves no class, no final, and, if you pick your professor carefully, a generous interpretation of “I will produce a detailed outline” that allows you to sleep until 11 most days.

3Ls beware: I hear we do actually have to finish the paper before they let us graduate, but it may just be a vicious rumor.

Expert Witnesses and Litigation:

First, any class that involves contact with non-law school students is a plus, whether it’s to mock their fashion sense or to remember that not everyone at this university obsesses about their interview record. This one involves teaming with Ph.D students in quantitative fields – it’s like a sitcom waiting to happen! Also, it sounds like you could learn some actual practical skills in taking depositions and writing briefs, which are things I hear lawyers do.

Motivation Seminar:

Don’t you think you would feel a little more guilty slacking off in a semester where you’re actually taking a class called “Motivation”?

Even if not, at least you could get some psychological insight into why you are actually so freaking lazy. On the serious side, the class has outside speakers, which always spices things up, and sounds like a pretty interesting interdisciplinary look into why people do what they do. Not bad.

Law, Psychology, and Morality: An Exploration Through Film:

This is one of the real courses, and you have to review the movie Lone Star before the first day of class.

As we recall, Lone Star was an awesome movie, so that along with a viewing list including Secrets and Lies, Do the Right Thing, Pulp Fiction, and a German film we’ve never heard of called The Nasty Girl, make this class sound like winner.

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