An Interview with I. Glenn Cohen ’03

This interview has been condensed and edited for length and clarity.

The Record: What is the first thing you would want an incoming 1L to know before they start?

I. Glenn Cohen: You belong. There is a huge tendency to self-discount and to feel ill at ease. You come from probably being the most successful person in the milieau in which you grew up or in which you went to college, to suddenly being surrounded by a huge number of other high achievers, and for me, I feel this pretty acutely. I’m a first-gen student myself. Neither of my parents finished high school. I remember feeling hugely intimidated when I walked through the doors of this place. The fact of the matter is our admissions office is amazing. They truly do pick amazing people with something to contribute, and there are a million different ways to contribute. People tend to be at their worst when they are feeling the anxiety of not belonging or measuring up, and at their best when they feel there is a vibrant community to support them.

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Take Advantage of Opportunities to Learn at HLS

The world you have entered as 1Ls is both daunting and exhilarating. Daunting mostly because ours is a time of broken politics, and – as most of you no doubt already know – the legal and political systems are densely interwoven. Exhilarating because you’re embarking on an adventure of learning about the most challenging puzzles of the legal process and the most innovative ways of tackling them, the areas in which human rights and needs are most neglected or overridden and the most effective ways to contribute to solving the problems underlying such conditions. As you’ll soon discover, those puzzles mix questions about history with moral and ethical challenges; questions about economics and behavioral science with inquiries into the limits of precision, modeling, and quantification; questions about geopolitics with matters of justice both domestically and internationally.

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An Open Letter to the Class of 2021: On Mental Health

Welcome and congratulations, incoming 1Ls! We upperclassmen are excited to have you join us and begin contributing to the vibrant HLS community. As a rising 2L, I have 1L year fresh in my mind, and write on behalf of the Student Mental Health Association (SMHA) with five pieces of advice for you all at this commencement of your law school experience:

    1. If you feel overwhelmed, know that you are not alone. A 2016 study by the American Bar Association found that 17% of law students experience depression and 37% experience anxiety.  It is unfortunately common to feel overwhelmed at points during law school. You have to adjust to a new way of thinking and a new style of instruction. Many incoming students have been out of a classroom for years when they enter HLS. Some come with families, and all with relationships and obligations pulling in different directions. Whichever particular stressors affect you, remember that they are a product of your environment. Feeling stressed, sad, or confused is not an indication that you don’t belong here. It’s normal to have these feelings, and we hope to help students understand the ways that they can mitigate and manage them.
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Goodbye, Columbus by Philip Roth

Editor’s note: Jeanne-Rose Arn wrote this paper while she was an LL.M. student at HLS for a course called “The Fiction and Biography of Philip Roth: A Meditation on American Identity.” We present it here.

Goodbye, Columbus is a story about assimilation and about social ascension. But perhaps more importantly it is an initiation novella, in which, of course, Neil’s initiation relates to his assimilation and to his ascension. The story draws a circle, in a short period of time, from the moment he starts trying to be more assimilated, willing to defy his Jewish identity, to the moment he returns to his identity: “what was it inside me that had turned pursuit and clutching into love, and then turned it inside out again? What was it that had turned winning into losing, and losing – who knows – into winning?” (p. 135) The novella takes place during one summer; Neil is 23, he meets his first love, and he is confronted – maybe for the first time – to the real struggling life. It is a transitory summer of questioning, of experiences – an accelerated process of assimilation, during which everything happens “very fast” (p. 17) until he closes the circle.

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From the Archives: Future Justice Breyer proposes income-based deferred tuition to increase public interest participation

This year, students debated different paths forward to increase public interest participation, including reforms to the Low Income Protection Program. As this 1977 Record archive article on future Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer’s proposal for income-based deferred tuition shows, this debate has been happening for a while.

“Pay Later” Schemes Debated

by Terry Keeney

April 15, 1977

The Law School faculty is currently considering proposals to allow students to defer paying tuition bills until after graduation.

The proposals, discussed at the March 30 faculty meeting, are far from the implementation stage. But if the Law School adopts some form of tuition deferral, students in the future may choose to obtain loans for all or part of their educational expenses. Then they would not be required to repay their loan obligations until as late as five or ten years after
graduation, when the rate of repayment would be determined by their income level.

Proponents of the plan argue that tuition deferral would accomplish two purposes. First, it would further shift the burden of financing the student’s legal education from the parents’ current income to the student’s future income. Second, it would remove the pressure on students to take high-paying jobs to repay educational debts and, some proponents hope, encourage more students to enter the less lucrative public-interest career. Continue reading “From the Archives: Future Justice Breyer proposes income-based deferred tuition to increase public interest participation”

A Q&A with William T. Oree, law clerk and incarcerated person at Attica Correctional Facility

Harvard Law School’s mission statement is “to educate leaders who contribute to the advancement of justice and the well-being of society.” We cannot advance justice and societal well-being without knowing the reality of what is going outside of our campus and case books. In an effort to bring one of these outside voices to campus, I asked William T. Oree, an incarcerated person and law clerk at Attica Correctional Facility to share his thoughts with the Harvard Law community.

Oree is serving twelve years to life at Attica. He is the founder, writer, and editor of The Prisoner’s Lampoon, a self-published prison comedy magazine; his work has also been published in The Harvard Lampoon. He and his comedy writing partner are shopping a pilot script called PEN * PALS to production companies in Los Angeles. He is the inventor of “jailhouse comedy,” a blend of edgy, often raw humor with a little Shakespeare thrown in for good measure.

Pete Davis, Harvard Law Record (PD): What inspired you to write to Harvard Law School students about indigent defendants and ineffective assistance of counsel?

William T. Oree (WTO): In a nutshell, I have to say mass incarceration. More specifically, the desire to repair our nation’s broken justice system motivated me to make lawyers aware that their normative practices were actually contributing to the fact that the United States locks up more of its citizens than either China or Russia.

Sadly, many of the incarcerated have received sub-par legal services because of defense attorneys who allow considerations of judicial economy to drive their professional and moral obligation instead of the other way around. Unlike medical practitioners, there is no Hippocratic Oath that holds lawyers to a “first do not harm” standard. Moreover, many state and federal courts agree that the standard of effective assistance of counsel should be evaluated in a normative fashion. That is, that courts accept the minimum standards and practices as recommended by the American Bar Association with the understanding that what is minimal is fair and rational. Unfortunately, in all too many cases, the law is neither fair nor rational. It’s hard to avoid seeing this in any other way than as a mechanism by which the courts protect attorneys from malpractice, prioritizing the professional well-being of licensed attorneys over the constitutionally mandated defense of our nation’s citizens. Continue reading “A Q&A with William T. Oree, law clerk and incarcerated person at Attica Correctional Facility”

Poll Results: Do Harvard Law 3Ls Want Jeff Flake to Speak?

Editor’s note: We used a Google Form to conduct this poll, and as such, it was impossible to prevent 1Ls and 2Ls from voting without identifying all voters. The voters in this data set should not be treated as a sample size representative of the Class of 2018. It is possible that this poll was circulated in some social circles and not others, and we did not share it anywhere except on our website and on our Facebook page.

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Black Lawyers and the Black Letter: A Legacy of Community and Resilience at Harvard Law School

1988 Special Edition BLSA Memo

In anticipation of the Harvard Black Law Students Association’s 50th Anniversary Celebration in April 2018, the Harvard Journal on Racial & Ethnic Justice (formerly the Black Letter Journal) is coordinating an archival research project to discover the historical links that bind these two organizations. Through this research, JREJ and HBLSA have revealed common threads that transcend time. Whether one studied here in the 1970s or in the present day, Black law students at Harvard have forged an enduring legacy, sharing the same values, frustrations, and hopes for a brighter and more just future.

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A Christmas Prince: Netflix’s Holiday Legal Drama for the Ages

The Empire State Building. Rockefeller Center. Central Park. The Statue of Liberty. The Christopher St. stop on the Seventh Avenue Line.

And for the final establishing shot … the Chicago River.

What was A Christmas Prince director Alex Zamm or film editor Marshall Harvey thinking? Have they never been to New York? Or Chicago?

The Record apologizes for being late to the A Christmas Prince party, but unlike Netflix’s foray into Christmas movies, at least we’re not lost.

It’s hard to say whether anyone should watch this movie. On the one hand, it’s not a very good movie. On the other hand, it’s decently entertaining. Rose McIver, who plays heroine Amber Moore,[1] somehow makes Amber seem reasonably believable despite the absolutely absurd premise of the movie.

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Response to the Oneida Nation

I used a racial epithet in my last column. I didn’t mean to use one. It didn’t even occur to me that I had at the time. While sitting in my family’s home and digesting a holiday meal, I was thinking about which teams would come out on top in the upcoming football games. I wasn’t thinking about how my use of the name of the Washington, D.C. football team, the R-word, would denigrate an entire race of people. But none of that changes the fact that it did.

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NFL Previews, Week 11

It’s week 11 and the postseason picture is beginning to come into focus. This week’s matchups offer a glimpse of the playoff match ups to come. Here are some of the key games this weekend.

Rams at Vikings, Sunday, November 19th at 1:00 PM on FOX.

What a difference a year makes. The Rams are sitting at 7-2 thanks to Jared Goff and the league’s #1 scoring offense (32.9 pts/gm). They’ll be looking for a signature win this week against the Vikings and one of the league’s youngest and most talented defenses. Look for Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes to match up against the potent Rams passing attack while Case Keenum leans on the potent duo of Adam Thielen and Steffon Diggs to move the chains. These are two young and talented teams looking to make a deep playoff run for the first time in several seasons. This should be a spirited competition. Continue reading “NFL Previews, Week 11”

College Football Previews, Week 12

LSU at Tennessee, Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPN

This week, the 7-3 Tigers travel to Knoxville to take on the 4-6 Volunteers. Tennessee has yet to secure a single SEC win and head coach Butch Jones was fired last Sunday after a 50-17 loss to Missouri – a team with four SEC losses of its own. Defensive line coach Brady Hoke has been named as interim head coach. Although he is in his first year at Tennessee, Hoke has prior head coaching experience – most notably at Michigan, where he lead the Wolverines to their first bowl game in five years during his inaugural season. Hoke has a solid track record of turning teams around, but it’s not clear how much he’ll be able to do in a single week.

This should be an easy win for LSU. The Tigers have collected four conference wins and looked strong since their September loss to Troy. However, SEC fans are acutely aware of the unpredictability of college football. We’ll have to tune in Saturday night to see if the Tigers bring home the victory.

– Megan Fitzgerald, 3L

College Football Previews, Week 11

Arkansas at LSU, Saturday 12 p.m., ESPN

This week, LSU and Arkansas face off in the Battle for the Golden Boot: a four-foot tall, 175-pound trophy that has traveled between Baton Rouge and Fayetteville since 1996. The rivals have played intermittently since 1901 – LSU leads the series 38-22-2 and has typically been the higher-ranked team. This year is no exception: the #24 Tigers are 6-3 with three conference wins, while the unranked Razorbacks are 4-5 with one SEC victory.
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