Category Archives: News

From the Print Edition / News  /  October 22, 2014  / 

HLS Professors Challenge Harvard’s Title IX Policy

Last week, the Boston Globe published an open letter written by 28 current and retired members of the HLS faculty, which requested that Harvard University reconsider its Title IX guidelines. The letter expressed apprehension at both the development process and content of the university-wide policy. The concerns with the creation of the current university-wide policy are threefold: first, the development process was secret and failed to involve a broad group of faculty; second, the resulting policy prioritized over-compliance with the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) above fair and effective procedures that best serve the Harvard community; and, third, the policy destroyed the individual schools’ autonomy to make disciplinary decisions for their respective students. “There was no community buy-in—the university-wide policy was developed by a secret committee,” said Professor Janet Halley, who has been writing about sexual harassment for more than 15 years. “There are clear issues with … Continue reading

From the Print Edition / News  /  October 3, 2014  / 

Title IX Could Mean Changes for HLS

Harvard has developed two sets of rules applicable to law students in response to regulations and guidance documents issued by the Federal Department of Education concerning Title IX, the federal law that guarantees gender equity in education. The first is the policy and procedures adopted by Harvard University for all members of the Harvard community, known as the HU Policy and HU Procedures, to manage sexual harassment allegations against students. The HU Procedures designate a central University office called the Office for Sexual and Gender-Based Dispute Resolution (ODR) to handle allegations of sexual harassment. Under the management of University’s Title IX Officer, Mia Karvonides, ODR’s role is to investigate formal complaints of sexual harassment made against students, including those at the law school. ODR sends its findings of fact to the HLS Ad Board, which will use that report, along with additional submissions from the complainant and respondent, to decide what … Continue reading

From the Print Edition / News  /  April 18, 2014  / 

Public Interest Auction Raises Money for SPIF

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On only one night per year is it possible for a student to buy a movie night with Dean Minow, a champagne reception with Professor Mann, or a cocktail tasting with Climenko Fellow Epps. At the 2014 Harvard Law School Public Interest Auction, which took place on April 2, fierce auction bidders won these and many other prizes donated by alumni, professors, firms, and businesses. Since 1994, the annual Harvard Law School Public Interest Auction has raised money for Summer Public Interest Funding (SPIF). The mission of SPIF is to make it possible for students to accept unpaid or underpaid summer employment in non-profit, government, NGO, IGO, or approved private public interest firm settings. During the summer of 2013, 467 Harvard Law students received SPIF funding totaling approximately $2 million. This year’s auction, titled “All Bids On Deck,” had a nautical theme. Volunteers wearing sailor hats lined the hallways of … Continue reading

From the Print Edition / News  /  April 18, 2014  / 

TEDx Comes to Harvard Law

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On Saturday, April 12, nine students and practitioners presented about the role of law in social change. Their topics covered a range of issues, each brought together by a common thread—improving the understanding of how Harvard students can be agents of social change. The event was hosted by the HLS Law and Social Change Program, which seeks to foster a strong community of public interest students while challenging the ways students use their law degrees to implement social change in the real world. “We wanted to showcase the wealth of perspectives and experiences of Harvard students and Boston practitioners with using law to shape social change,” said Scott Hochberg, Law and Social Change student fellow. “Each speaker went through a lengthy application and audition process, and we were able to include talks that covered a wide range of topics and perspectives. We hope the conference will spark discussions that challenge … Continue reading

From the Print Edition / News  /  April 18, 2014  / 

Diversity Includes Disability

Students at Harvard Law and elsewhere possess disabilities, visible and invisible, yet these disabilities are more often than not a source of strength and lawyers should be more cognizant of just how varied, valuable, and diverse persons with disabilities (PwDs) are. That was just one message of many discussed at a “Diversity and Disability” panel last Friday. The event featured four speakers united by a desire to de-stigmatize disabilities. It was co-sponsored by HL Central, the Student Mental Health Association (SMHA), and the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), and organized by 1L Elisa Dun, who put the panel together through funds she received after winning this year’s TJ Duane Grant competition. Some attendees were surprised to learn from Lime Connect President and CEO Susan Lang that at least one in ten college-aged students have disabilities. According to panelist Tiffany Yu, one reason for this is the effect of stigma: While … Continue reading

From the Print Edition / News  /  March 27, 2014  / 

PETA Lawyer: Making the Case Against Killer Whales in Captivity

What does it mean to be human? The classic definition states that we are the only creature with the tragic awareness of the “big picture” i.e. the ability to see the beginning and the end. This awareness of our own mortality sparks in all of us a desire to leave a lasting impact upon the planet and upon our fellow human beings. This impact can take many forms; some strive to understand the great mysteries of the universe and in so doing have given us our greatest scientific, technological and philosophic triumphs. Others seek to increase the caliber and availability of social justice for the benefit of all mankind. Classical conceptions of humanity have led us to believe that as a “higher creature” capable of infinite wisdom, tenderness, and progress we have a duty to each other to search for truth, to do justice, and to care for the uniqueness … Continue reading

From the Print Edition / News  /  March 6, 2014  / 

Harvard Law School Hosts Contentious Affirmative Action Debate

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In a debate that seemed testy at times, Harvard Law professor Randall Kennedy and three others battled it out in the Ames Courtroom last week over the motion that “affirmative action on campus does more harm than good.” Kennedy and Columbia Law professor Theodore Shaw argued against the motion, while professors Gail Heriot and Richard Sander—from USD Law and UCLA Law, respectively—argued for it. ABC News correspondent John Donvan served as moderator. Heriot’s team opposed affirmative action because they believe that it ironically does more harm than good to the very groups it is supposed to help. “Rick and I are here to make a very narrow point: race preferential admissions policies are doing far more harm than good,” said Heriot. “The very large preferences that are now routinely employed by colleges and universities produce fewer, not more, black scientists, black engineers, and black medical doctors. They produce fewer black … Continue reading

From the Print Edition / News  /  March 6, 2014  / 

Circle of Laws Review

The HLS Drama Society has reminded us just how talented our classmates are, in a light not often shone at the law school. This past weekend, students and faculty enjoyed the 64th Parody production, The Lawyer King: The Circle of Laws. In a fight to reclaim the birthright bestowed upon him by his mother, Simba, son of Dean Martha Minfasa and heir to the Harvard Law Deanship, faced a villainous Professor Alan Dershowitz. Along the way, student groups, professors, and the administration alike were subject to tasteful deprecation. The writers satirized the law school experience in a way that was both memorable and clever, and the exceptional performances of the cast and band truly brought the words to life. “The best part of the Parody is the people,” said Producer and third-year student Raul Campillo. “My highest priority is to make sure that everyone on the cast feels valued and … Continue reading

From the Print Edition / News  /  March 6, 2014  / 

Conference Preview: Disruptive Innovation in the Market for Legal Services

What do Ravel Law, Legal Hero, ViewaBill, LawyerUp, and Legal Zoom have in common? All are start-ups, founded since 2010, which hope to disrupt the market for legal services. At a conference titled, “Disruptive Innovation in the Market for Legal Services,” taking place at HLS on Thursday, March 6, various experts will discuss this disruptive trend and its likely impact on the legal profession. The conference is sponsored by Harvard Law School’s Program on the Legal Profession. David Wilkins, Lester Kissel Professor of Law and Director of Harvard Law School’s Program on the Legal Profession, said, “I think this is a critical time in the history of the legal profession, in which things are changing rapidly. The world in which today’s law students will practice is going to look very different from the world that their professors entered.” “There are three trends shaping today’s economy,” said Wilkins. “The first is … Continue reading

From the Print Edition / News  /  February 20, 2014  / 

Feminists Take On Debt

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“Who agrees that poor people make bad decisions?” Southern District of New York Judge Shelley Chapman asked to crowded room on Monday, Feb. 17. Only a couple hands expressed concurring opinions. “But everyone makes bad decisions,” Judge Chapman continued. “There is a tremendous amount of empirical data that shows if you put a non-poor person in a situation of scarcity, they will make bad decisions.” This data is especially revealing because women find themselves in more dire financial constraints more frequently and more quickly. There is also a double standard with corporate and consumer financial responsibility. Judge Chapman offered American Airlines as an example. Before declaring bankruptcy, American Airlines did not pay its creditors while it had billions sitting in the bank. Analysts considered this to be business-savvy behavior, but if a consumer did something like this it would be considered immoral. The United States was founded on debt, and … Continue reading