Corporate Accountability Through Compliance

Following a decade of deregulation, defense industry procurement scandals, and savings and loan crisis, corporate malfeasance captured the attention of the American public in the early 1990s. In response to these scandals and increasing prosecution of corporations, the US Sentencing Commission enacted federal sentencing guidelines for organizations in November 1991. The guidelines articulated that an “Effective Compliance and Ethics Program” would “promote an organizational culture that encourages ethical conduct and a commitment to compliance with the law.”

A decade later, the dire need for such organizational culture continued to be highlighted in a string of corporate scandals that included Enron, Arthur Andersen, WorldCom, and Tyco. As a response to these scandals, companies developed their compliance functions to prevent and detect misconduct before the misconduct grew into scandals that would devastate investors and employees.

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Hui Chen is the former Compliance Counsel Expert at the Fraud Section in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice. She currently works as a freelance ethics and compliance speaker, consultant, and writer. She can be reached at

PLAP Executive Board Statement on Michelle Jones

Last week, the news broke that Harvard administrators shamefully overrode the History Department’s decision to admit Michelle Jones, a formerly incarcerated woman, into its doctoral program. In a comment as revealing as it is reprehensible, one of the professors who urged university administrators to override the history department’s decision expressed to the New York Times the concern that “Fox News would probably say that P.C. liberal Harvard gave 200 grand of funding to a child murderer, who also happened to be a minority.”

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Jake Meiseles is a 2L. He is on the PLAP Executive Board.

Stepping Out of Line: Trans Activism at Harvard Law

When I was growing up, I had little knowledge of how to get to college because nobody in my family had ever gone to one. I was lucky that my public school counselor pushed my mom and dad to let me apply to a private middle and high school, and that my new school offered financial aid and college counseling.

So, I joined the Army JROTC in ninth grade because the lieutenant colonel gave an amazing presentation to eighth graders (and because I wanted to roll around in the mud like they did in Cadet Kelly). I learned that the military could be a potential avenue for me to reach a better future through ROTC in college and JAG during and after law school. JROTC helped me to dream big, opened up four years of many wonderful and difficult experiences, and brought more friends into my life.

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D Dangaran is a 1L.

It’s Okay to Not be Okay at HLS

My partner Hil has a mantra that she often tells herself: “It is okay to not be okay.” I’ve always avoided applying that to my own life, no matter how supportive I am of the idea. But this year, I am working to embrace that fully.

The summer before my 1L year, I flew out of my friend’s wedding in Madison, Wisconsin because I had called 911 on my mother. She had called me saying that she wanted to die and had gone over to the neighbor’s house to write a will.

Frantic, I called the first number that came to mind and told them my mother was trying to kill herself. I asked if they could try to get an ambulance that’s under our insurance, but they only made false reassurances.

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Jianing Xie is a 2L.

Administration’s Rejection of Formerly Incarcerated Student a Loss for the Harvard Community

As two graduate students new to the Harvard community, we came to Harvard for the same reasons many students did: a passion for inquiry, a desire to pursue excellent and truthful research, and a conscientious hope to work with integrity in the public interest.

We both previously worked for the City of New York, and during that time we helped run an organization teaching competitive debate on Rikers Island, the Rikers Debate Project.

We are dismayed to read about the Graduate School of Arts and Science’s acceptance — and subsequent rejection — of prospective history Ph.D. candidate Michelle Jones. Scholars such as Michelle Jones are most certainly, in the words of Harvard President Drew Faust, among the “most talented students and faculty” this university claims it must “attract and support.” The Department of History agreed, until Harvard’s top brass seemingly thought otherwise.

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Stefan Norgaard is an MPP candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School. Radhe Patel is a 1L.

NFL Previews: Week 2

Week 1 is in the history books, but not before offering surprise upsets (pour one out, Patriots nation) and highlight-reel plays.

Here are some exciting matchups for next week.

  1. Minnesota at Pittsburgh: Sunday, September 17th at 1:00 PM on FOX

This early matchup will pit the up-and-coming Vikings in the NFC North against the perennial contenders AFC North Steelers. The Minnesota defence, led by cornerback Xavier Rhodes, will look to make a statement against the vaunted Pittsburgh offense which features Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. Pittsburgh will look to bounce back from last week’s surprisingly narrow 21-18 victory over the Cleveland Browns. One or both of these teams is likely to make the playoffs this year, and this game could be a preview of things to come.

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Justin Kenney is a 2L.

Record Retrospective: #SaveNelly

A year ago, our editor-in-chief and another 2L advocated on the behalf of Nelly, a recording artist who at the time owed the IRS and the state of Missouri millions of dollars.

#SaveNelly by Jim An ’18

Despite the fact that Nelly was one of the best-selling artists of the 2000s, he apparently owes the IRS a $2.4 million tax bill and may be having trouble paying it off. Based on the figures for royalties per stream, some websites have estimated that Nelly needs somewhere between 287 to 400 million streams to pay off his debts. However, as any tax student knows, Nelly will owe more taxes on these royalties, so he’d actually need as many as 660 million streams in order to pay off his debts. Anyway, if you’re in the mood to help Nelly out, here are the ten best Nelly songs to stream.

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The Necessity of Democratizing Law

The main principle of democracy is grounded in the idea that people should take part in political decision-making. Although there are a host of factors in “democratic” nations that fly in the face of this and like principles, an especially conspicuous one is the inaccessibility of law. And while there are many ways to democratize the law, an initial step would be to incorporate it into mandatory education.

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Josh Komarovsky is a 3L.

Letter to the Editor: The Turning Point of Self-Loathing

I am a second cousin, seven times removed, of President George Washington. And I am African-American.

While traveling to Charlottesville on July 26, 2017, I saw a portrait of General Washington kneeling in prayer at Valley Forge. The image stayed with me as an expression of faith in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. I made a mental note to purchase the portrait for Christmas.

When I returned home to San Diego, I shared my idea with my family in passing. I thought nothing of it.

My fourteen-year-old erupted in outrage. “Did he own slaves?” she demanded to know. I answered, yes, and he won the American Revolution. “He can’t be on our walls,” she declared with the perspective of a teenager.

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Is it time yet to take Trump seriously?

Many across the United States and across the world watched with horror as the events and aftermath of Charlottesville unfolded this past week. It was absolutely surreal, however, to watch these events unfold from Berlin, where I was visiting.

There, I understood with greater nuance how a charismatic leader, the repression of unfavorable journalism, and a large working class looking for someone to blame for their struggles created the perfect storm for Nazi ideology to take hold. Further, it was impossible not to recognize the extent to which Germany instilled a culture of remorse and remembrance in a way that the U.S. never did for its own crimes. I toured the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where the sickening words “arbeit macht frei” (“work will set you free”) are wrought into the iron entrance gates. It chilled me to imagine how many people were led through those gates believing that if they simply worked hard and trusted in Hitler’s agenda, they might eventually prevail in the face of adversity.

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Tyra Walker is a member of the Class of 2018.

Why Dean Manning Should be Welcomed

On July 1, John F. Manning became the 13th dean of Harvard Law School. Dean Manning, who joined the faculty in 2004, is a graduate of Harvard College (’82) and Harvard Law School (’85). After graduating from law school, he clerked for Judge Robert Bork on the D.C. Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. Afterwards, he worked for the U.S. Department of Justice in the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) and the Office of the Solicitor General. Dean Manning is widely considered an expert in administrative law and constitutional law, and has argued nine cases before the Supreme Court.

In announcing Manning’s appointment, Harvard University President Drew Faust highlighted his “unusual capacity for creating conversations and connections across lines of difference, and [his] deep appreciation for a wide range of perspectives and methods.” Manning succeeded Dean Martha Minow, who will begin a fellowship next fall at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. By every available metric, Dean Manning is an accomplished scholar. Even more importantly, he has garnered the respect and admiration of students and faculty.

Nevertheless, Manning’s appointment as dean has not been without some controversy. One writer at Above the Law shared his disappointment that Harvard selected a white, conservative male as dean, expressing his frustration that “HLS followed two successive women deans … with a Bork/Scalia clerk.”

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Daniel Morales is a rising 2L.

Addendum to the Report of the Harvard Law School Task Force on Academic Community and Student Engagement

As student representatives to the Harvard Law School Task Force on Academic Community and Student Engagement, we believe in the potential power of Harvard Law School. We believe this institution is uniquely situated to serve as a steward of the rule of law in a time of critical global need; as a training ground for ethical advocates for social justice and responsible corporate lawyers alike; and as an academic playground for much-needed intellectual exploration. We believe that if the institution’s unparalleled resources––human and financial––were mobilized to ensure that all stakeholders in our community are heard, Harvard Law would be better positioned to fulfill its mission to train world-class lawyers, leaders, advocates, and agents for change.

Yet, the composition of this Task Force––with representatives for students, alumni, and faculty–– seems to mirror the larger challenges facing the institution: an unfulfilled voice of all members of the community. Even in the presence of student representatives, student concerns were not heard or considered. The subjects of our critique, the methods utilized to observe issues, and the innovative and imaginative proposals offered by students were often met with platitudes. Whether about the scope of the Task Force, about our role on the Task Force, or about the hard lines delineating what we could and could never question about the structure of this institution, students on this Task Force were denied the exercise of power afforded to us by the broad mandate articulated by Dean Martha Minow. This tension highlights a broader problem on campus––the wide latitude of the HLS professorate vis-a-vis the rest of the HLS community. To this end, in our capacity as student representatives to this Task Force, we felt compelled and driven by principle to articulate the concerns of students in a manner that we think best captures the concerns of our peers.

The faculty is the gatekeeper of Harvard Law School. They are a self-governing, self-regulating body that collectively determines the direction of the institution. At present, faculty answers to no one within the law school community, whether on procedural or academic matters. Therefore, Harvard Law School, like any sizable institution, has room for improvement, but only if the institution and its gatekeepers are open to progress. If the law school is serious about making positive change, faculty must genuinely listen to the ideas, suggestions, questions, and concerns of the entire community. Harvard Law School is nothing more than a partnership between its faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Only through true and meaningful engagement with all of these essential stakeholders that make up the institution will we be able to achieve the lofty goals set out in the school’s mission statement.

The Task Force itself was never expected to solve the challenges faced by the school. Instead, we were tasked to investigate; to listen; to understand; ultimately, to suggest a way forward by way of recommendations. Although we agree with many of the recommendations in the Report, we diverge on a few critical subjects. We are of the view that the problem is not articulated well enough. Instead, the Task Force Report resorts to generalities that are devoid of the concerns we heard from students, rendering the investigation piece utterly meaningless. While the recommendations are worthwhile tweaks, they are minimal in the face of the enormous task for which we were called to probe and mend. The challenges facing this law school are endemic, and nothing short of meaningful engagement and a commitment to material change will be able to address concerns expressed by students and faculty members for decades.

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Letter to the Editor: The Destruction of the Constitutional Right of “Freedom of Association” at Harvard University

Recently, the administration leadership at Harvard University has proposed a ban on fraternities, sororities, and “finals clubs”, as well as other organizations. The ban would apply to students who attend university at Harvard. As a graduate of Harvard Law School, I view this as misguided policy. The Constitution of the United States guarantees “freedom of association”.

In my opinion, if this ban goes into effect, members of these clubs simply have to sue Harvard University, in federal court, for violating their constitutional rights. The University will lose these lawsuits, but why make everyone go through that misery? To have a committee of administrators decide which private organizations students can belong to, and which they cannot belong to, is not only a clear violation of the student’s constitutional rights, it is overbearing, downright parental, overly paternalistic, and frightens this freedom-loving citizen.

Let the students make their own decisions, and let the students make their own mistakes. Accountability, legal and otherwise, should always be on an individual basis, not a form of collective punishment, and clearly never a form of collective banishment.

Perhaps the leadership of Harvard University could spend their time better by sitting around a bong, and smoking copious amounts of marijuana, and eating mountains of pop tarts. Then in their heads, they can dream of the dictatorship that they so clearly want to impose on the powerless students of the University. “Hey teachers, leave those kids alone!”


Charles Facktor
Harvard Law School Class of 1990

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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Cullen O'Keefe is a rising 2L. He is the President of HLS Effective Altruism.

Indulgences for the Trump Era: The Public Interest Pledge

At the height of the Catholic Church’s power in the late Middle Ages, parishioners could pay the church fees to reduce the amount of time their souls would suffer in Purgatory before entering Heaven. This practice of paying “indulgences,” as such fees were called, was one of the principal targets of Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses, and the practice has been a symbol of the medieval Catholic Church’s corruption ever since.

With EIP around the corner, and with 80 percent of Harvard Law students likely to participate in its orgy of cocktail mixers and free lunches, it’s a good time to reflect on HLS’s preferred means of moral salvation for those of us who feel guilty about settling for BigLaw: the Public Interest Pledge.

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Tom Wolfe is a rising 2L.