Do Good and Do Good Well

Dear 1Ls, 

By now, you have presumably had your first encounter with the Socratic method. Regardless of your thoughts on it as a pedagogical tool, however, I encourage you not to consign the spirit of rigorous self-examination to the classroom, and to instead apply it to your beliefs on how to benefit your fellow creatures.

Socrates was, of course, famous for quipping that the only thing he knew was that he knew nothing. He would seek out those who claimed to know, and show them that they, in fact, did not. When I was in your place, I thought I knew how to do the most good with my law degree. I subscribed to the public interest orthodoxy that doing the most good after law school meant working for a public interest organization, or perhaps government, to advance Americans’ civil rights. Inspired by the legal heroes whose portraits adorn this campus, I dreamt of one day fighting the many injustices that still plague the United States, thereby bending the arc of the moral universe ever more slightly towards justice.

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Indulge Us: Take the Summer Pledge

The Record recently published a thoughtful piece arguing that the Public Interest Pledge is “no more than a symbolic gesture of penance for Harvard students who feel guilty about not doing enough.” Although we disagree with this characterization of the Pledge, we take the author’s moral licensing argument seriously, which is why we write here to defend the Pledge both as an end in itself and as a catalyst for increased and more effective charitable giving at HLS.

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