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”

Nate Szyman and Pete Davis are members of the Class of 2018 and co-directors of The HLS 200, a campaign of the Third Century Project, an initiative aimed at imagining how Harvard Law can better live out its stated mission of “educating leaders who contribute to the advancement of justice and well-being of society.”

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”

Nate Szyman and Pete Davis are members of the Class of 2018 and co-directors of The HLS 200, a campaign of the Third Century Project, an initiative aimed at imagining how Harvard Law can better live out its stated mission of “educating leaders who contribute to the advancement of justice and well-being of society.”

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”

Nate Szyman and Pete Davis are members of the Class of 2018 and co-directors of The HLS 200, a campaign of the Third Century Project, an initiative aimed at imagining how Harvard Law can better live out its stated mission of “educating leaders who contribute to the advancement of justice and well-being of society.”

Preventing Death by Underride

On the one hand, installing comprehensive underride protection on every truck in this country will cost a lot of money. On the other hand, doing so will save a lot of lives and, furthermore, protect the trucking industry and taxpayers from the costly expense of underride tragedies.

I know this all too well after losing my two youngest daughters in a truck crash. On May 4, 2013, I started out in our Crown Vic with the youngest three of our nine children. Caleb (15) sat in the front seat with me, while AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13) were in the back seat.

We were headed from our home in North Carolina to Texas where four of their siblings were set to graduate from college and their oldest sister, Rebekah, was getting married. While on I-20 in Georgia, we came upon a back-up from an earlier crash. We slowed down. However, a truck driver did not and hit us, sending our car into a spin so that we went backward into the rear of another tractor-trailer.

Continue reading “Preventing Death by Underride”

Marianne Karth is a traffic safety advocate.

Dear Community: Condemn Intent Behind Stickers

Dear Community,

On the evening of October 31, stickers with the words, “IT’S OKAY TO BE WHITE,” were posted around the entrance of WCC. Similar stickers appeared around Cambridge and other parts of the United States and Canada. According to an online forum, the stickers were intended to convey a “harmless” message that would leave “the media & leftists frothing at the mouth” and turn public opinion against them.

Continue reading “Dear Community: Condemn Intent Behind Stickers”

This letter was written by the following individuals, listed by their organizational affiliation: David A. Azcárraga '18, La Alianza; Amanda Chan '18, Affinity Group Coalition; Leilani Doktor '19, Native American Law Students Association; Elizabeth Gyori '19, Asian Pacific American Law Students Association; Peter Im '18, Asian Pacific American Law Students Association; Milo Inglehart '19, Lambda; Gideon Palte '18, Jewish Law Students Association; and Thaya Uthayophas, HLS Advocates for Human Rights.

Care About Justice? Don’t Use Barbri

After Trump was elected president, there was a sudden flurry of political interest: yesterday’s apathetic suddenly discovered the (tiny) activist within themselves and started wondering how they can contribute and fight back against Trump and what he stands for.

The answer, for many, was to go into corporate law and help enrich and empower the forces that created Trumpism in the first place.

Continue reading “Care About Justice? Don’t Use Barbri”

Josh Komarovsky is a 3L.

Solved! — A Tool for Today’s Experiential Legal Education?

(Bordwin ’55 recently published Solved!, a book about how a business lawyer can solve clients’ problems “strategically — with creativity and imagination.” Below are his reflections on the book)

This is the saga of a business lawyer who, after decades of practice, learned that he’d gained a reputation as a problem-solver and now, at age 86, has written a book of 40 Tales describing how he solved the most vexing problems clients threw at him over a 60-year career.  Early manuscript readers told me they enjoyed reading these stories, but the lawyers who read the MS all had the same reaction:  “This is a must for law students and young lawyers.”  And this from a U.S. Senator; a Federal Appeals Court Judge; law school professors; a law school dean; and a large-firm corporate lawyer.  I asked law professors for clarification.  They told me that these Tales of my experiences fit into today’s law schools’ movement toward “experiential legal education.”  I had to find out what that was all about.

Turns out that my annual judging Ames Competition cases and participating in the HLS Problem Solving Workshop Program were a small part of this experiential education movement; today’s curriculum at HLS (always a leader!) includes Dispute-Resolution; Drafting; Negotiation; Clinical Work and more; and this experiential education direction is now mandated by the ABA as a condition of a law school’s accreditation.  Since my lawyer readers were unanimous that SOLVED! is an educational tool that will help law students transition into practice, I had to understand the “why” and “how” of this relation, if any, between my Tales and legal education today.  More precisely, the questions are:  “What are law-teachers’ goals?  Can my experiences as related in the Tales help in achieving those goals?  And if so, how?” Continue reading Solved! — A Tool for Today’s Experiential Legal Education?”

About Those (Not So) Free Bar Expenses…

Just about now, the bar prep companies are starting to market to 3Ls. If there’s one big winner in this game, it’s Barbri. Everyone uses Barbri! When those scores come around in October, you certainly don’t want to be the one who shuts up when all your law firm colleagues are smiling away. So why not just go with the tried and true and play it safe? The firm’s paying and it’s free, right? Wrong.

Continue reading “About Those (Not So) Free Bar Expenses…”

Joseph Gerstel is a 2017 graduate of Harvard Law School. He is working in tax law as a law clerk in a law firm.

Our Bicentennial Crisis: A Call to Action for Harvard Law School’s Public Interest Mission

This week, Harvard Law School has invited alumni back to campus to celebrate the 200th anniversary of our school’s founding.

But a bicentennial is not just a time for celebration of the past — it is also a time to confront the present and plan the future.  As we celebrate, many students are concerned: about our school being overtaken by corporate interests and losing relevance to the average American; about a watchdog of the law being largely asleep as the institutions of the rule of law and equal justice under law are under siege; and of a school community that has lost track of its declared mission to “educate leaders who contribute to the advancement of justice and the well-being of society.”  

To surface these concerns, I have compiled a report on Harvard Law School’s public interest mission — Our Bicentennial Crisis: A Call to Action for Harvard Law School’s Public Interest Mission — that is being released today to coincide with our school’s bicentennial celebration.  The report aims to document: first, the crisis of mass exclusion from legal power for the average American (in the criminal justice, civil justice and political systems); second, Harvard Law’s failure to address this crisis, and the inaccurate excuses our community tends to give for not addressing it; third, what accounts for this civic deficit; and fourth, twelve reform proposals that aim to help us better live up to our mission.  An electronic copy of the report can be downloaded here. To request a hard copy, email PeDavis@jd18.law.harvard.edu.

Between the 1970s and 1990s, a flurry of critical works — including Duncan Kennedy’s “Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy,” Joel Seligman’s The High Citadel: The Influence of Harvard Law School, Richard Kahlenberg’s Broken Contract, Scott Turow’s famed One L, and Lani Guinier’s writings on legal education and profession — helped set Harvard Law School on a course from the hidebound, lily-white, cutthroat school of The Paper Chase to the more diverse, pluralist and genial school it is today.

I hope for this report to have a similar motivating impact, inspiring the community to transition from a school community where four out of five graduates deploy their legal educations to advance the legal interests of a wealthy and powerful few to one where a majority of students use their education to serve the interests of the vast, underserved public.

Continue reading “Our Bicentennial Crisis: A Call to Action for Harvard Law School’s Public Interest Mission”

Pete Davis is a civic reformer from Falls Church, Virginia and a member of the Harvard Law School Class of 2018. Email Pete at Pete@CivicIdeas.org. Tweet at Pete at @PeteDDavis.

Why Harvard Law School Matters: A New Critique

As Harvard Law School celebrates its 200th anniversary with two days on October 26 and 27 of events attended by hundreds of alumni, some law students, led by Pete Davis (’18), are inviting the Law School to engage in extra-ordinary introspection as it looks toward its Third Century.

Mr. Davis, after two years of observation, participation, conversation and research, has produced a major report titled Our Bicentennial Crisis: A Call to Action for Harvard Law School’s Public Interest Mission. Over the past sixty years, many of the beneficial changes at the law school were jolted, driven or demanded by a small number of organized students calling for clinical education, for women and minorities to be admitted as students and faculty, for more affordability, for more realism in their legal education and for more intellectual diversity among the professors (The critical legal studies scholars obliged them up to a point). Over time, the law school administration, with faculty persuasion, responded.

The bicentennial report by Pete Davis asks important questions about the law writ large square in the context of the law school’s long declared mission statement: “to educate leaders who contribute to the advancement of justice and the well-being of society.” Continue reading “Why Harvard Law School Matters: A New Critique”

Ralph Nader was the Green Party candidate for president in 2000 and a former editor-in-chief of the Record.

Title IX: An Investigation

The Record serves the community in part through investigating the goings-on at Harvard Law School. As part of the #MeToo movement, we are soliciting stories, information, and anything else pertaining to Title IX proceedings on campus. If you would like to share any of those things with us, don’t hesitate to send us an e-mail. The law school community benefits from the truth, and that is why we still print.

Name:

Email:

Title:

Letter to the Editor:

Harvard’s Contracts Courses Ignore the Most Important Parts Of Contract Law Today: The End of Freedom of Contract and the Erosion of Tort Law

Our contracts courses are based on mythology. The Book Of Genesis for contracts goes a little something like this: 

“In the beginning, humans made deals with one another. When there is a true ‘meeting of the minds,’ humans shake hands, and the courts enforce that as a binding contract. Contracts make both parties better off by allocating goods efficiently between the two parties, thereby creating value. If John has 5 bushels of wheat, and Jane has 5 gallons of milk, each has too much wheat  or milk to consume by themselves, respectively. John contracts for some of Jane’s milk, Jane contracts for some of John’s wheat, and thereby the excess of wheat and milk is no longer excess, by utilized to its fullest extent. Voila, value is created.”

It’s a nice story. Unfortunately, this mythology little resembles contracts today. The overwhelming majority of today’s contracting looks a bit different: Continue reading “Harvard’s Contracts Courses Ignore the Most Important Parts Of Contract Law Today: The End of Freedom of Contract and the Erosion of Tort Law”

Our Professors Shouldn’t Engage In McCarthyism

Professor Cass Sunstein engaged in a blatant display of McCarthyism in his op-ed for Bloomberg View this week, in which he accused politicians to both the left and the right of him of Marxism.

Both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are using Marxist strategies, he argued, because their rhetoric “heightens the contradictions,” a quote directly from (dun dun dun) MARX!

Of course, when Marx talked about “heightening the contradictions” he meant that the contradictions inherent in capitalism must worsen in order to provoke the working class to rise up in revolt. In his view, small reforms that blunt the edge of capitalism would only prolong its existence. Continue reading “Our Professors Shouldn’t Engage In McCarthyism”

What to See at HLS in the World

Our alumni readership keeps asking how we’re covering the bicentennial. That is to say, you should all attend HLS in the World on October 27th, because despite the fact that Harvard Law is basically a corporate professional school at this point, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have a modicum of intellectual curiosity, and neither would you. Plus, these talks are great!

But, of course, a lot of the talks are full now. You thought you were going to get into the talk on Marbury v. Madison with Susan Davies, Merrick Garland ’77, Kathleen Sullivan ’81, and Larry Tribe ’66 if you’re just now reading this article? LOL.

Here are my recommendations, so don’t say we didn’t tell you this was happening! Register here after you check out our previews.

Continue reading “What to See at HLS in the World”

Kate Thoreson is a 2L. She is the deputy editor-in-chief of The Harvard Law Record.