Gender Disparities at HLS: Still Room for Improvement

In the spring semester, 1L students are invited to apply for the three two-year student organizations on campus. Membership to the Harvard Law Review, Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, and the Board of Student Advisers is highly selective and the organizations are frequently viewed as “honor societies” within the HLS community, making them one approximate measure of normative law school success. The Shatter the Ceiling Committee of the Women’s Law Association conducted its annual analysis of gender representation in each of these organizations to see if male and female students are gaining membership to these organizations at equal rates.

Of the three groups examined, only the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (HLAB) had statistically significant deviations from the expected gender breakdown, based on the total number of male and female students in the classes of 2017 and 2018. Like last year,[1] HLAB continues to have statistically significantly more female members compared to the overall demographics of the classes of 2017 and 2018 (c2 = 6.352, P = 0.012). There was no statistically significant difference in the gender makeup of the Board of Student Advisers (c2 = 0.483, P = 0.487) or Harvard Law Review (HLR) (c2 = 2.343, P = 0.126).

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In Jesus Loves Obamacare, an Accounting of How Biblical Instruction Leads to Liberal Policies

By the time the Republican-dominated Congress and executive branch had begun preparations to dismantle the Affordable Care Act in January 2017, the stage had already been set for this watershed moment of backlash in American political life.

The cradle-to-grave medical safety net that the late Sen. Edward Kennedy had called “the cause of my life,” known as Obamacare, signified more than the expansion of accessible healthcare for millions. The legislation, in force for several years and perhaps more consequential on individual livelihoods than any other public policy since Social Security, had embodied a primary objective of American liberalism since the nascent days of the modern Democratic party unfolded under the leadership of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

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HLS Owes Applicants, New Admits Data on Sexual Assault

As Harvard Law School gears up to welcome a new class of students to campus this fall, we urge the administration to evaluate and disclose how it deals with the admission of students investigated or found responsible for, sexual misconduct at their previous college or university. We seek transparency on this issue so the university can engage in productive dialogue with students and administrators on how best to protect its students from sexual assault and discrimination. This information is particularly critical in light of the 2015 campus climate survey, which found that 7.6% of female graduate students experience sexual assault while attending Harvard University.

Students in the Harvard Law Gender Violence Legal Policy Workshop submitted a questionnaire to the Admissions Office[1] seeking answers to questions of critical importance to the student community. As of the publication of this piece, we have not yet received a response. Transparency surrounding this information is important to current students’ safety and to prospective or admitted students considering attending Harvard Law School. Campus climate is a serious consideration in weighing whether or not to attend, or apply to, Harvard Law.

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Turkey’s Referendum: A Suspicious “Yes”

Having seen five elections since March 2014, voters in Turkey know the drill: if he wins, President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a “balcony speech” gloating his success. If he loses, like he did on June 7, 2015, he goes into hiding (to be honest, it was a blissful five days).

However, after the referendum on Sunday, during which citizens of Turkey voted whether to legitimize President Erdogan’s de facto dictatorship, an unusual scene was taking place: Although the Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (whose position will be abolished with this constitutional amendment) was (ironically) delivering a victory speech, President Erdogan was photographed looking remarkably worried.

Erdogan’s expression said a lot: the ‘yes’ vote was reported to win with a 51.4% margin, but he didn’t feel like he succeeded. Erdogan had lost Istanbul and Ankara (which he had never lost until now), and the opposition was stronger than ever.

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“All Rise!”, Episode 8: Tracey-Ann Daley

The Harvard Law Record’s podcast — All Rise! — has just released its eighth episode (and third episode of its second season): an interview with Harvard Law School Student Activities Coordinator, Tracey-Ann Daley. From the Federalist Society to the wine club, Daley is the go-to person keeping the crazy civic life of Harvard Law from falling apart. She joined All Rise! in January to discuss her childhood in Jamaica and Connecticut, her career path from Jamaican law firms to MIT gyms to HLS students services, and the work of the Dean of Students office in staying positive, handling controversy and building up the campus community.
All Rise! is a longform interview podcast in which Harvard Law 2Ls Brady Bender and Pete Davis interview members of the Harvard community. You can subscribe to All Rise! on iTunes here and listen to this week’s episode below:

The Shatter Awards Celebrate Inclusive Professors

The annual Shatter Awards will take place on April 19th at 7 P.M. in Hark South, with a reception to follow. Everyone is welcome to attend.

The Shatter the Ceiling Committee hopes to recognize inclusive dialogue in the classroom, lectures that address social justice issues, providing mentorship to students from all walks of life, and accessibility through presenting these awards to professors who have demonstrated these qualities to many students, who subsequently voted for them.

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“All Rise!”, Episode 7: Susan Crawford

The Harvard Law Record’s podcast — All Rise! — has just released its seventh episode (and second episode of its second season): an interview with Harvard Law School professor Susan Craford. Crawford is an expert on municipal technology and the telecom industry, the co-director of Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, and is perhaps the only Harvard Law professor who has proposed an international holiday…OneWebDay, a global Earth Day for the internet. She joined All Rise! in January to discuss her passion for viola, municipal broadband, innovative teaching methods, and more. 
All Rise! is a longform interview podcast in which Harvard Law 2Ls Brady Bender and Pete Davis interview members of the Harvard community. You can subscribe to All Rise! on iTunes here and listen to this week’s episode below:

HLS Affinity Groups Endorse Professor Wilkins for Dean

Dear President Faust,

Thank you for including student input in your search for the next Dean of Harvard Law School. We write you as student leaders from the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA), Harvard Black Law Students Association (HBLSA), Harvard African Law Association (HALA), Lambda, La Alianza, Middle East Law Students Association (MELSA), Native American Law Students Association (NALSA), Queer Trans People of Color (QTPOC), South Asian Law Students Association (SALSA), and Women’s Law Association (WLA). It is difficult to calculate the number of unique individuals we represent due to the intersecting identities of some of our members, but our combined membership totals at least 700 students, which is about 40% of the J.D. student body.[1]

Collectively, we wholeheartedly offer our endorsement of Professor David Wilkins, a scholar, a researcher, an innovator, and a member of the Harvard Law School faculty. While we do not know the list of candidates under your consideration, we sincerely believe that Professor Wilkins has demonstrated a strong commitment to innovative legal thought, a deep understanding of the legal profession and legal education, and an unwavering commitment to equality and justice in the rule of law. His lived experience and nuanced understanding of the power of discourse puts him in a unique position to lead Harvard Law School into arguably one of the most crucial chapters in our school’s two-hundred-year history.

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Where have all the [Civil Juries] Gone?

The Seventh Amendment is fast becoming a dead letter. Although the protection remains, there simply aren’t many trials happening. Indeed, federal juries decided 5.5% of civil cases in 1962, but a paltry 0.76% in 2015. A similar trend is apparent in every state court. This is a problem. Without jury trials, the American system of civil justice—as well as our democracy in general—degenerates and loses legitimacy. Indeed, as William Blackstone recognized over two centuries ago, “Every new tribunal erected for the decision of facts, without the intervention of a jury . . . is a step towards establishing aristocracy, the most oppressive of absolute government.” The loss of civil jury trials demands, if not action, at least scrutiny.

The Civil Jury Project at New York University School of Law seeks to do both. Launched by trial attorney Stephen D. Susman in 2015, the Project aims to understand the causes and consequences of the civil jury’s dramatic decline, as well as determine what steps might be taken to preserve and revitalize the institution. It has commenced empirical assessments of the current role of the jury, created education programs and publicity outlets for studies and policy proposals, and reevaluated ways in which juries are constituted and jury trials conducted. Its efforts have earned it astounding support across the country, with a list of accomplished judicial, academic, and practitioner advisors that total well into the hundreds. Today, it remains the nation’s only non-profit academic institution dedicated to studying, preserving, and advancing the cause of the Seventh Amendment. Continue reading “Where have all the [Civil Juries] Gone?”

Perkins, Lee Elected 2017-18 Student Government President, VP

With 36.8% of the vote, 2Ls Adrian Perkins and Amanda Lee have been elected 2017-18 HLS Student Government President and Vice President, respectively. Downballot, 1L Paola Eisner was elected as the next Director of Student Organizations, and students overwhelmingly approved a referendum to create a new crest for HLS.

“We appreciate the support and confidence of the student body,” Perkins said.

“We look forward to working with everyone and bringing student voices to the table,” Lee said.

The two races for elected office were close, with Perkins and Lee winning by 2.5 percentage points over 2Ls Anika Khan and Tyra Walker. 2Ls Joe Sullivan and Jin Kim received 28.9% of the vote. In the Director of Student Organizations race, Eisner prevailed with a 1.2 percentage point margin over 2L Lane Kauder.

The races for 2L and 3L Representatives were uncontested. The 2017-18 2L Representatives will be Leilani Doktor, Kaitlyn Beck, and Sam Garcia. The 2017-18 3L Representatives will be Raj Salhotra and Cameron Pritchett.


At the Harvard Law Forum: Sister Simone Campbell on “Hope, Change, and Community”

Sister Simone Campbell, SSS has served as Executive Director of the NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice since 2004. She is a religious leader, attorney and poet with extensive experience in public policy and advocacy for systemic change. In Washington, she lobbies on issues of economic justice, immigration reform, and healthcare. .

On March 22, 2017, Sr. Campbell came to Harvard Law School to speak about moral vocation building and advancing Catholic social justice values in the Trump era. The video is below:

At The Harvard Law Forum: Michael Sandel on “Why Trump? What Now?”

Two decades ago, in his book Democracy’s Discontent, Michael Sandel warned that, absent a stronger civic republican spirit, liberalism would collapse, giving way to “those who would shore up borders, harden the distinction between insiders and outsiders, and promise a politics to ‘take back our culture and take back our county.'”

On February 22, 2017, the Harvard Law School Forum hosted Sandel to give his take on politics in the age of Trump. Below is the audio:

Meet the Candidates for Student Government

We conducted interviews with candidates who will be up for positions in Student Government. Voting will take place on April 5 and 6.

Here is where to find these interviews:

Adrian Perkins and Amanda Lee, Candidates for Student Government President and Vice President

Joe Sullivan and Jin Kim, Candidates for Student Government President and Vice President

Anika Khan and Tyra Walker, Candidates for Student Government President and Vice President

Paola Eisner and Lane Kauder, Candidates for Director of Student Organizations

Leilani Doktor, Kaitlyn Beck, and Sam Garcia, Candidates for 2L Representative

Raj Salhotra and Cameron Pritchett, Candidates for 3L Representative

Adrian Perkins and Amanda Lee, Candidates for Student Government President and Vice President

Record: Why are you guys running?

Adrian Perkins: I’ve always felt like Student Government was in a unique position to change things for the better. Academic institutions come with stressors and this is an opportunity to for us relieve those stressors and to make the community better. Since joining Student Government, I’ve worked on everything from the [Student Government] constitutional working group, to changing the printing, to appointing the committee that decided to change the crest, to getting the MPRE administered at HLS. I’ve had the opportunity to see things through and make student life better here.

Amanda Lee: The HLS community matters. We spend 3 years of our lives here. I’ve seen intimately the needs of a thriving student organization that’s put so much work and care into making the school an amazing place. Adrian and I work really well together because we have a wide breadth of experience. We’ve spent the last two years building relationships, and so we’re really excited to bring others to the table and let students have that voice through student government.

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Joe Sullivan & Jin Kim, Candidates for Student Government President and Vice President

Record: In a few words, how would you sum up your platform?

Joe Sullivan: We are demanding that the administration release the budget data so we can take a hard look at that budget so we can see what we can cut back and where we can move funding into.

Record: It seems like you guys are running as a one-issue ticket. Would you say that’s accurate?

JS: I would say generally, yes, although that one issue encompasses a lot of the issues at Harvard Law School. When we think about a lot of the issues at Harvard Law School, it’s often about how much does that cost? I think if we don’t know that it’s hard to tackle those issues, so I think of this as a more encompassing platform.

Jin Kim: It is a single-issue platform in the way that we want to get access to the budget data, and look through it, identify unnecessary costs and reallocate that to benefits that students actually want. The word benefits encompasses a lot of things, such as financial aid or mental health services. I know the impediments that a lot of students and I faced when looking to get mental health services. Continue reading “Joe Sullivan & Jin Kim, Candidates for Student Government President and Vice President”