Dean Martha Minow Reaffirms Harvard Law’s Commitment to Free Expression in a Letter to the Community

On April 1, Dean Martha Minow sent the email below to the entire law school community, reaffirming Harvard’s commitment to free expression and freedom of conscience. Earlier this week, students from Reclaim Harvard Law repeatedly removed critical signs posted in “Belinda Hall.”

Dear members of the Law School community:

As our community has focused on questions of race and inclusion, which we regard as issues of pressing importance to the nation and our community, the Law School has respected the extraordinary use of the WCC lounge as a space for protest and discussion. When a shared space is made open for such a purpose, even temporarily, the values of free exchange that define an academic community require that every member of the community has the right to use that shared space to express views, to express differences, to engage in debate. That freedom to disagree makes us stronger and better. It is essential to the integrity and success of an academic communityand especially to members and future members of the legal communitythat we operate on the bedrock foundations of openness and free debate. Continue reading “Dean Martha Minow Reaffirms Harvard Law’s Commitment to Free Expression in a Letter to the Community”

Give Your Harvard Degree A Smoochy, Says Gucci Scaramucci

If I invited you to meet a Harvard Law alumnus who founded and co-manages a global investment firm with $12.6 billion in assets, a man who formerly held executive positions with Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers, the host of Fox Business’s Wall Street Week and a regular contributor on Fox News and CNBC, a man who received a cameo in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and a nickname from President George W. Bush, you would probably expect to get a certain sort of advice.

And you would be dead wrong.

Continue reading “Give Your Harvard Degree A Smoochy, Says Gucci Scaramucci”

Harvard Law Campus Erupts in Spontaneous Expressions of Love & Understanding

Reports incoming that HLS students of all political ideologies are coming together in kindness and love today, really trying to empathize with one another and to understand different points of view. FedSoc members have admitted that “maybe that Obama guy isn’t so bad after all,” while Bill Barlow ’16 was spotted in Belinda Hall giving hugs of kind understanding to all. HLS Dems, embroiled in a brutal civil war over whether to support Bernie or Hillary, have called a temporary ceasefire. Keep your eye on the Record for developments to this heartwarming story.

Reclaim Harvard Law Removes Critical Posters, Stirring Debate Over Academic Freedom

3L Bill Barlow puts up posters accusing Reclaim HLS of denying speech to students. Reclaim HLS later took down the posters.

For the last several weeks, the walls of the protestor-occupied “Belinda Hall” have been covered with messages from Reclaim HLS, a coalition of students seeking institutional change at the Law School. But on Monday, there was a new message—one equating the movement with Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, claiming that both Trump and Reclaim are anti-free speech.

The signs were posted by third-year student Bill Barlow, who has been a vocal opponent of perceived censorship by Reclaim HLS. Barlow believes some of the protestors’ demands impinge on academic freedom and stifle dissent—a conviction this incident reaffirmed for him.

Shortly after Barlow taped up his signs, he sat down to discuss his message with protestors—a conversation he referred to as “tense but civil.” Later that afternoon, members from Reclaim HLS removed Barlow’s critical posters. And shortly thereafter, Barlow received an email from the Dean of Students Office requesting an informational meeting with Dean of Students Marcia Sells.

Continue reading “Reclaim Harvard Law Removes Critical Posters, Stirring Debate Over Academic Freedom”

Harvard to Retire HLS Shield

After several months of protests and the formation of a committee to study the Harvard Law School shield, Harvard Corporation has decided to retire the current shield representing the Law School. Harvard Corporation, which along with the Board of Overseers governs Harvard University, has requested that the Law School propose a new shield, “ideally in time for it to be introduced for the School’s bicentennial in 2017.”

The letter from Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust and Senior Fellow William Lee accepting the change and the email from Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow announcing the decision are after the jump.

Continue reading “Harvard to Retire HLS Shield”

In Winning Rights for Animals, Approaches Differ

For animals, the current outlook may appear bleak: animals undergo abhorrent levels of suffering, especially on the farm and in laboratories, and help has not come from our legal system.  Laws that grant animals greater protections must overcome disinterested legislatures and the powerful and wealthy animal agriculture and pharmaceutical lobbies.  As a result, animals are subject to almost no protections.

Continue reading “In Winning Rights for Animals, Approaches Differ”

After Months of Advocacy and Debate, Harvard Law Recommends Shield Change

As you’ve likely heard by now, Harvard Law School has recommended changing its shield. This decision comes after months of advocacy and debate. Most recently, a Record-conducted poll found that more than fifty percent of students support changing the shield.

You may read Dean Minow’s transmittal letter here:

You may read the committee’s report and recommendation here:

You may read a dissenting opinion by Professor Gordon-Reed (a member of the shield committee) here:


Harvard Law School Reacts to the Passing of Justice Scalia

On Wednesday, February 24, Harvard Law School hosted a panel featuring Dean Martha Minow and Professors Frank Michelman, Larry Lessig, Richard Lazarus, Adrian Vermuele, John Manning, Cass Sunstein, and Charles Fried. They represent a wide range of political ideologies and legal interests. But there is one thing they all share: a deep respect for Justice Scalia’s contributions to the legal community.

Each of the panelists had a connection to the Justice—some worked for him, others argued before him, and the moderator, Professor Michelman, shared an office at the Harvard Law Review’s Gannett House during their law school careers.

Justice Scalia will perhaps be most remembered for his influential approach to interpreting the law, popularizing originalism and textualism. Professor Sunstein called him the most brilliant administrative lawyer to ever serve on the Court, and alongside Justices Holmes and Jackson, one of the greatest writers, too. Professor Fried remarked that generations to come will encounter his legacy through his memorable and thoughtful opinions.

Continue reading “Harvard Law School Reacts to the Passing of Justice Scalia”

Reclaim HLS Activists Occupy Student Lounge

Reclaim HLS protesters hold a discussion over dinner. The protesters have continuously occupied the Wasserstein Lounge since last Monday.
Reclaim HLS protesters hold a discussion over dinner. The protesters have continuously occupied the Wasserstein Lounge since last Monday.

After a quiet winter term, student activism is back in the air at Harvard Law School.

Since February 15, dozens of students have staged an indefinite occupation of the Wasserstein Lounge in a protest against what they see as an unjust institution and an opaque administration. Representing Reclaim Harvard Law School, the protestors have stayed day and night, bringing in air mattresses and sheets to help them weather the evenings. In a move to bring about the administrative transparency they’ve demanded, they’ve also released a confidential email from Dean Martha Minow with the list of faculty committee assignments.

“We’re here to bring visibility to Reclaim Harvard Law School,” said 3L Annaleigh Curtis. “But we’re also here to create the spaces we’re asking the administration to create.”

Continue reading “Reclaim HLS Activists Occupy Student Lounge”

Jim An is the editor-in-chief of The Harvard Law Record and a member of the Harvard Law School Class of 2018.

Protesters Draw Criticism over Actions, Proposals

In the past week, Reclaim Harvard Law School protesters have occupied Wasserstein Lounge, drawing dozens of supporters and holding free meals, speaker talks, and group meetings.

However, the protesters, who are demanding changing to the Law School seal, hiring several critical race theory professors, and evaluating professors on the basis of implicit bias, among other things, have drawn criticism as well.

“It makes me feel uncomfortable,” 3L Kurt Krieger said. “One of the problems with this movement is that it silences a large group of people.”

“Many of the students who disagree with [Reclaim HLS] aren’t willing to speak up about it from fear of being called racist,” 2L James D’Cruz said, though “people at Harvard are already the most accepting of race that I’ve ever seen.”

Continue reading “Protesters Draw Criticism over Actions, Proposals”

Jim An is the editor-in-chief of The Harvard Law Record and a member of the Harvard Law School Class of 2018.

Bluebook Origin Myth Hides Newly Found, Controversial Past

Everything you know is wrong.

At least that’s what a forthcoming article by Harvard Law School graduate and current Yale Law librarian Fred Shapiro ‘80 and co-author Julie Graves Krishnaswami claims about the Bluebook.

The received origins of the Bluebook, bane of lawyers and lawyers-to-be everywhere, goes a little something like this:

Once upon a time, there was a Harvard Law Review citation pamphlet, compiled by no less a figure than Griswold Hall’s namesake and Dean of Harvard Law School, Erwin Griswold.

Through sheer force of will, Griswold and the Harvard Law Review grew his little pamphlet into the 582-page monstrosity we have today. This story is itself printed in publications no less illustrious than the Harvard Law Review and the Wikipedia article for the Bluebook.

However, if you were to think that the Harvard Law Review is not only responsible for the annual disappointment of 1Ls who failed to write on, but also responsible for the wretched citation manual that has an italicization error in its own explanation on how to italicize introductory signals in its most recent 20thedition, well, you’d be wrong, or at least, partly wrong.

Continue reading “Bluebook Origin Myth Hides Newly Found, Controversial Past”

Jim An is the editor-in-chief of The Harvard Law Record and a member of the Harvard Law School Class of 2018.

Harvard Law Record Straw Poll Results

The Harvard Law Record has conducted a poll of members of the HLS community, finding strong support for Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Though HLS students strongly preferred Rubio and Sanders for their respective parties’ nominations, however, students selected Cruz and Clinton as the most likely eventual candidates.

The Record polled approximately 7% of the student body, asking questions regarding both nominations preferences and predictions, as well as preferences in various likely presidential matchups. Among Harvard Law Students, Sen. Rubio significantly outperformed both Sen. Cruz and Donald Trump in matchups against both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Continue reading “Harvard Law Record Straw Poll Results”

Professor Lawrence Lessig Discusses Presidential Bid, The Future of Campaign Finance, And Return To Harvard Law School

HLS Professor Lawrence Lessig brought campaign finance reform to the center of national attention with his run for the Democratic presidential nomination. Lessig also authored Republic Lost: The Corruption of Equality and the Steps to End It and founded Rootstrikers and the Mayday Super PAC. Though Lessig withdrew his bid earlier this month, he was happy with the support he received from the HLS community throughout the campaign.

On November 23, Lessig sat down with HLS Professor Jonathan Zittrain to discuss what he learned running for president. Lessig said that his presidential run was animated by his belief that “we are at a point in the history of our democracy, maybe on the way down, when we have got to recognize that a fundamental flaw has emerged.” Members of Congress currently spend the majority of their time soliciting campaign money from the tiniest fraction of the top 1 percent of the American population—and as a result, Lessig contends, congressional politics are driven by the concerns of a small number of ultra-wealthy donors, not the concerns of the populace at large. Add this to the problem of gerrymandered districts, which ensure that only 90 out of 435 Congressional seats are competitive in any given election, and the result is that Congress “is an institution that no longer recognizes the people.” Continue reading “Professor Lawrence Lessig Discusses Presidential Bid, The Future of Campaign Finance, And Return To Harvard Law School”

Portraits of Black Harvard Law Professors Vandalized, Covered in Black Tape

Editor’s Note: This is a developing story and will be updated as more information comes in.

Sometime during the early hours of Thursday morning, portraits of black Harvard Law professors hanging in the faculty gallery in Wasserstein Hall were defaced by an unknown individual. Black strips of tape were placed across the faces of the portraits. The vandalism was discovered by students arriving for morning classes. “This is a hate crime,” one student said. “I’m calling the police.”

The pieces of tape were removed shortly after the police completed their examination of the scene.

This incident comes one day after a number of Harvard students held walk-outs and protests in solidarity with student movements at Yale, the University of Missouri, and other universities, calling for policies that foster greater racial inclusivity and awareness on college campuses.

Members of Harvard Law School’s “Royall Must Fall” movement also recently staged an “educational art action” to promote their campaign to change the Harvard Law School crest, which bears the family insignia of 18th-century slave trader Isaac Royall. This protest consisted of placing black tape in an X formation over the Royall insignia on several images of the crest on the law school campus. Members of Royall Must Fall have stated that they are “saddened and disgusted by this violent act against black professors,” and they believe tape used in the educational art action was subsequently used to deface the portraits.
Continue reading “Portraits of Black Harvard Law Professors Vandalized, Covered in Black Tape”

Brianna Rennix is the editor-in-chief of The Record and a member of the Harvard Law School Class of 2018.

Harvard Law Professors & Scholars: State Governors Have No Legal Authority To Block Refugees

In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, more than half the nation’s states are vowing to bar Syrian refugees. But do they have the legal authority to do so? Harvard Law professors say the answer is clear: No.

“States do not have the legal authority to deny refugees entry,” said Phil Torrey, a Lecturer on Law with the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program and the Supervising Attorney for the Harvard Immigration Project. “Immigration laws are the sole purview of the federal government.”

Continue reading “Harvard Law Professors & Scholars: State Governors Have No Legal Authority To Block Refugees”