Section Six Thanks Professor Hanson

Earlier this year, three members of Section Six—Jessica Ranucci, Sara Murphy, and Sean Cuddihy—wrote an article in support of Professor Jon Hanson’s approach to legal education. “We believe that in the current 1L curriculum there is insufficient focus on the implications and motivations of the arguments we make and evaluate,” they wrote. “Professor Hanson is one of the few 1L instructors to focus squarely and consistently on filling this educational gap.” Here, other members of Section Six would like to add their support. Forty members of Section Six agreed to share their tributes to Professor Hanson with The Harvard Law Record. Excerpts from selected tributes are reprinted below.

To Professor Hanson:

“Your class and the discussions we had outside of it gave me the belief that I could do something truly valuable with my time in law school and afterwards. Without your influence, I could have easily seen my time here and my career future as hopelessly uninspiring. What you are doing with your approach to the 1L experience is not only brave, but I believe reflects a genuine consideration for how to best use your position to influence the world in a positive way, and it gives me hope that people in positions such as yours can fully embrace that attitude.”

“Being in your Torts class was like seeing in Technicolor when, elsewhere in law school, we saw in black and white. You turned trade school into, well, something more theoretically ambitious, as Duncan Kennedy might say. And, perhaps more importantly, you made us care about what we were learning by reminding us why we came to law school–and why so much is at stake.”

“Thank you for making law school feel more welcoming, comfortable and pleasant. Thank you for your guidance, for taking the time to listen and for taking the time to care. Thank you for being brave, for sticking to your beliefs in the face of criticisms and ridicule, for going all the way with your truth and for inspiring us to do the same…Thank you for your humbleness, for introducing us to your family, for being familiar and normal and not removed, aloof and condescending. Thank you for embodying so much of what HLS should be.”

“1L would not have been nearly as meaningful, cheerful and wonderful, had we not enjoyed your leadership. You built a family out of eighty strangers.”

“Thank you so much for a wonderful and eye-opening semester. I could not have conceived of a warmer, more receptive welcome to the Harvard Law School community than the one you gifted to all of us.”

“One of the most remarkable things about Professor Hanson is that he embodies his teachings. He uses the power of his Harvard Law School professorship to honor otherwise unknown small-town plaintiff attorneys, to highlight the achievements of the underdog, and to create a new set of role models for Harvard Law Students. I can only hope that Harvard Law School follows Professor Hanson’s lead, [because] our institution is a better place because of his influence.”

“Thank you for doing a great job of taking the “light the fire, don’t just fill the pail” approach to teaching. You did not directly cite all of the doctrine; that’s true. But we learned everything we needed to learn from torts, and more.”

— Students in Section Six

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