The HLS 300 Project: Vocational Goals

Last year, in advance of the bicentennial, we invited students, staff and faculty to reflect on who we are and what we believe in as a school community.  With a focus on vocation-building, we asked three questions: (1) As we look to the past, who should we admire? (2) As we look to the future, what challenges are important? (3) As we look at the present, what are we being called to do?

We received dozens of submissions of: first, Harvard Law alumni, living and historic, with important legal vocations; second, important public challenges that merit the attention of our generation of lawyers; and third, exciting vocational goals of current Harvard Law students. To spur our collective reflection on who we are and where we want to go as a vocational community, below are submissions in response to the third question, “what are your vocational goals?”:

Vocational Goal #1: Apply advances in information technology and data science to make healthcare more efficient

(Submitted by Hugh McSwain ’18)

Modern healthcare in the US intersects medicine, business and law. I came to HLS to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities available for students who want to pursue entrepreneurship and non-traditional legal careers.

My experiences at HLS—including the Health Law and Policy Clinic, the Entrepreneurship Project, and course work—have expanded my knowledge base and skillset by allowing me to participate in advising local start ups, to advocate for changes within the healthcare system, and to learn from venture capital attorneys and investors.

I am proud to say I am an HLS student, and I fully believe HLS provides me with skills and resources to succeed in health IT/digital health entrepreneurship.

Vocational Goal #2: Protecting at least one child — and hopefully many more.

(Submitted by Ha Ryong Jung ’18)

Recognizing that children have specific rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, I aspire to understand the variety of frameworks used around the world to protect children and to find the most effective combination of these systems to deliver the much-needed protection for this overlooked population.

Child-sensitive measures should exist whenever children come into contact with the justice system, and core principles of the child’s best interest and non-discrimination should be upheld. I hope to contribute to these efforts in working for and with children. Continue reading “The HLS 300 Project: Vocational Goals”

The HLS 300 Project: Legal Challenges

Last year, in advance of the bicentennial, we invited students, staff and faculty to reflect on who we are and what we believe in as a school community.  With a focus on vocation-building, we asked three questions: (1) As we look to the past, who should we admire? (2) As we look to the future, what challenges are important? (3) As we look at the present, what are we being called to do?

We received dozens of submissions of: first, Harvard Law alumni, living and historic, with important legal vocations; second, important public challenges that merit the attention of our generation of lawyers; and third, exciting vocational goals of current Harvard Law students. To spur our collective reflection on who we are and where we want to go as a vocational community, below are submissions in response to the second question, “which challenges should we be tackling?”:

Legal Challenge #1: How can we promote economic development without displacement?

(Submitted by Dan Traficonte ’17)

Across the US and the rest of the world, economic growth demands space for new infrastructure, housing, and businesses. But new development often comes at the cost of displacing people—sometimes even entire communities.

Development without displacement is possible. e terms of economic development projects, most of them hashed out in contracts and in local land-use provisions, can be structured to minimize the displacement of communities and maximize the locally shared benefits of each new project.

Lawyers should work to create development for people, not just profit.

Legal Challenge #2: How can we restructure the family law system to reflect how families actually function

(Submitted by Gillian Schaps ’18)

Lawyers like rules—and we craft the law to function as a set of clear-cut, predictable rules. But if there is one thing that breaks this mold, it’s family.

Families come in all shapes and sizes, and thus far the law has been unable to keep up. Today outdated laws rip families apart when they don’t meet the two (cisgender, heterosexual) parent model.

We need to build flexibility and creativity into the laws that define and govern family life, rethinking parental rights and zero-sum frameworks. It’s time family law moves beyond white, normative views of the nuclear family to support the wide variety of loving, stable environments that enable people to grow and thrive. Continue reading “The HLS 300 Project: Legal Challenges”

The HLS 300 Project: Inspiring Careers

Last year, in advance of the bicentennial, we invited students, staff and faculty to reflect on who we are and what we believe in as a school community.  With a focus on vocation-building, we asked three questions: (1) As we look to the past, who should we admire? (2) As we look to the future, what challenges are important? (3) As we look at the present, what are we being called to do?

We received dozens of submissions of: first, Harvard Law alumni, living and historic, with important legal vocations; second, important public challenges that merit the attention of our generation of lawyers; and third, exciting vocational goals of current Harvard Law students. To spur our collective reflection on who we are and where we want to go as a vocational community, below are submissions in response to the first question, “Which alumni had inspiring careers?”:

Inspiring Career #1: Cornelius Hedges (Class of 1856) became the intellectual father of Yellowstone National Park

(submitted by Shaun Goho, Clinical Instructor, Environmental Law and Policy Clinic)

Hedges, a 1856 graduate of HLS, moved to the then-territory of Montana in 1864, where he would live until his death more than 40 years later. There, he held a variety of public offices, including U.S. District Attorney for Montana Territory; territorial superintendent of public schools; member of the 1884 Constitutional Convention; and State Senator from 1889-1893.

In 1870, Hedges was part of the Washburn Expedition that explored the Yellowstone region. Near the end of the journey, the participants sat around the campfire and discussed Yellowstone’s future. Many of them said that they planned to file land claims, intending to profit from the anticipated influx of tourists eager to see the region’s natural wonders. Hedges, however, suggested that Yellowstone “ought to be set apart as a great National Park.” In the following years, he actively campaigned for the creation of the park. In 1872, Congress enacted and President Grant signed into law the statute establishing Yellowstone National Park—the first of its kind in the world.

“Thoughtful, kind, charitable, ever ready to heed the call of the unfortunate, without selfishness or guile, no better man has ever lived in Montana, nor to any is there a higher mead of praise for what he did and gave to Montana.”

Inspiring Career #2: Lam Nguyen Ho (Class of 2008) is setting a standard for community activism lawyering in Chicago.

(Submitted by Tess Heligren ’18)

After graduating from HLS in 2008, Ho moved to Chicago where he set up free community-based legal clinics. In 2014, with support from HLS’s Public Service Venture Fund, Ho founded the Community Activism Law Alliance (CALA).Under Ho’s leadership, CALA sets an innovative example of community activism lawyering by working with local activists to help advance social justice for undocumented immigrants, sex workers, day laborers, and other underserved populations.

Under Ho’s leadership, CALA sets an innovative example of community activism lawyering by working with local activists to help advance social justice for undocumented immigrants, sex workers, day laborers, and other underserved populations.

“My background (immigrant, poverty, domestic violence, queerness) exposed me to the dehumanizing consequences when our justice system fails. It instilled a sense of responsibility to help others struggle against similar, and harder, challenges.” Continue reading “The HLS 300 Project: Inspiring Careers”

HLS200.org: A First Step Towards Re-Orienting Our Culture

You can tell a lot about the culture of a community by asking three questions:

  1. As the community looks to the past, whom does the community admire?
  2. As the community  looks toward the future, what challenges are deemed important?
  3. As the community looks at the present, which activities are worthwhile to the community?

What can we learn about ourselves, then, by asking these questions about Harvard Law School? Continue reading “HLS200.org: A First Step Towards Re-Orienting Our Culture”