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

Record: Why are you guys running?

Anika Khan: Tyra and I are looking to redefine student government and give students the chance to redefine student government for themselves. Tyra and I know what it’s like to be a part of the existing government, and we know how to change it to help create real community here at HLS.

Tyra Walker: After thinking about how much impact we’d be able to make at this institution in the areas we care about, we really thought our experience and our skills would make us a great team for this role. Continue reading “Anika Khan & Tyra Walker, Candidates for Student Government President & Vice President”

Outgoing Student Government President Monea Looks Back

Nino Monea is the outgoing Student Government President. The Record asked him what was on his mind.

Record: What are some of the things that student government has been able to do this year that you’re proud of?

Monea: As far as membership goes, a majority of the executive team and elected members are women, and a majority are people of color for the first time as far back as we have records on this point, and I think it’s great that we have a team that really reflects the school that we’re supposed to represent. On substantive accomplishments, we’ve been able to implement a new printing system, which historically was students’ number one complaint in polls. 

We’ve been able to make progress on policies to help students be more politically engaged, such as recording classes on Election Day, and we’ve begun discussions about canceling courses on Election Day so students can more easily go out and vote or volunteer. And we’re for the first time trying to expand offerings for students trying to go into public [office], such as a reading group on how to run for office as a lawyer. And going forward we want to see if there’s resources this school can offer to help people who don’t come from politically connected families run for office.

And we can just go down the list of things we’ve gotten done such as online syllabi for classes, more wheelchair accessibility for printers, and peer housing for Admitted Students Weekend. So I’m really proud of all the stuff we’ve gotten done so far. Continue reading “Outgoing Student Government President Monea Looks Back”

2017 Student Government Elections: Director of Student Organizations

Paola Eisner

The Record: Why are you running for Director of Student Organizations?

Paola Eisner: One of the most important roles of Student Government is to bring people together and talk about what’s important to the student body, and student orgs are a big part of that. I’m excited about the opportunity to promote communication between our student orgs.

Record: What distinguishes you as a candidate?

PE: I have experience working with Student Government as a 1L Representative for Section 4, and that’s given me an inside look on how Student Government runs, how it can improve, and different methods that work and don’t work with the administration. Continue reading “2017 Student Government Elections: Director of Student Organizations”

2017 Student Government Elections: 2L Rep Candidates

Interview with Leilani Doktor

The Record: Why are you running for 2L Rep?

Leilani Doktor: I believe that I give a diverse perspective to student government that is necessary just to be fully representative of our 2L class.

Record: What distinguishes you from the other candidates?

LD: I think that my unique background and public interest focus contribute to my ability to be a good representative. I was very active in student government throughout undergraduate and high school, so I’m very experienced in terms of governance regarding student bodies and creating policies that work for students. As a 1L rep, I’ve been able to make small changes, like getting refills on the free coffee downstairs in the morning and regularly meeting with the dining hall to get new dining options, including the poké bowls in the boxes that you’ve seen added to the Hark menu. Continue reading “2017 Student Government Elections: 2L Rep Candidates”

2017 Student Government Elections: 3L Rep Candidates

Raj Salhotra 

Record: Why are you running for 3L rep?

Raj Salhotra: I had a great year this year. I got to head up the academic affairs committee, and there I got to organize professor lunches, make some progress with registration, and start to do some work on advising. That’s what inspired me to run again, to see if we can keep moving the ball on that. Also, five of the students that I used to teach [as a high school teacher] came in to sit in on classes. They loved it, and it reminded me that we gotta do more for low-income and first-generation students on campus. Supero’s taken a great lead on that, and I want to be a part of that. Continue reading “2017 Student Government Elections: 3L Rep Candidates”

A Healing Approach to the Public Interest Pledge

We all want the HLS community to have a big impact on the world.

This is an uncontroversial view as far as it goes, but—as you’ve probably already thought to yourself—that statement doesn’t go very far in the way of defining “big,” “impact,” or “world.” Our community is rife with disagreement as to the meaning of these terms. This is healthy. Conceptions of justice are inherently controversial.

Here’s something uncontroversial: students going into BigLaw will immediately join the top 0.1% of the global income distribution, earning 131 times the global median. That means 1% of your income will be more than the average human makes in a year. Those of us pursuing public interest work won’t do too badly either, falling just outside the global 1% and earning 36 times the global median. Continue reading “A Healing Approach to the Public Interest Pledge”

An Open Letter to Dean Minow on Mental Health: HLS Needs Survey Data

Dear Dean Minow,

We support the immediate and annual implementation of optional anonymous mental health surveys at Harvard Law School.

We have no recent data on the student body at Harvard Law, but we do know that scheduling counseling appointments can take weeks. To help our community, we must first know where we stand. In addition, to evaluate the effects of policy changes, we need surveys each year.

A 2014 study at Yale Law School found that 70% of students reported experiencing mental health challenges and Harvard Law school needs the same data on our own community. Continue reading “An Open Letter to Dean Minow on Mental Health: HLS Needs Survey Data”

The Rankings Are Overrated, And Definitely Not Just Because HLS Is Ranked #3

I recently discovered, after a reasonable amount of time has passed, the way someone who definitely does not obsess over rankings would discover, that Harvard Law School is ranked number 3 behind Yale and Stanford. Completely independently of that, I think it is time that we discuss the problems inherent in the current ranking system.

First of all, the current system places heavy weight on incoming class GPA and LSAT. This means schools are pressured into taking a specific subset of students, specifically those that are actually good. Schools are forced to take a decline in the rankings in order to select the students they truly want, like legacy students from wealthy families who will not enroll in LIPP when they graduate. When so much of the admissions process is reduced to two numbers, we lose sight of what really matters in determining the value of an applicant: their personal statement.

Continue reading “The Rankings Are Overrated, And Definitely Not Just Because HLS Is Ranked #3”

Proud HLS Grandma Slowly Begins to Drive Away Friends Through Incessant Harvard Name-Dropping

Cocoa Beach, FL—What began as harmless dropping of the “H bomb” in casual conversation has turned into a friendship-destroying obsession for Edith Untermyer, a proud grandma of an HLS student who would rather not be named “because I’m already getting more free press than I want in the retirement community of Cocoa Beach; I don’t need to start making enemies at school too.”

Untermyer—whose previous great point of pride in life was the fact that her cat, Crumpet, had lived to be twenty-four before dying of a cheese overdoes and moving into a proud, taxidermic retirement on the mantle—was “over the moon” when her grandson decided to accept his offer to Harvard Law School.

“He did undergrad at Cornell, which was cool and all I guess, but a lot of my gal pals weren’t too impressed by that” said Untermyer, who was sporting a “Proud Harvard Law Grandma” shirt at the time of the interview. “But Harvard—now there’s a name that’ll get people talking during the commercial breaks on Wheel of Fortune!”

Reliable sources confirm that Untermyer began with more modest tactics, subtly throwing into conversation things like, “Well, my grandson is at a law school up in the Boston area. He loves it. From what I hear he’s just painting the town red, or should I say crimson.”

But when these tactics ceased to disrupt games of bridge or backgammon, Untermyer was forced to up her game. Her new measures included obtaining a custom made “Welcome to our Harvard Law Home” welcome mat from Etsy and stories about her grandson’s encounters at the law school with individuals such as Louise Slaughter, Marco Rubio, Hillary Clinton, the Queen of England, Wesley Snipes, Chuck Norris, and Shakira.

(As of now, we have been unable to confirm that Untermyer’s grandson has had encounters with any of these persons at the law school.)

Harvard Graduate Student Union’s NLRB Objections Go to the Foundations of Fair Elections

The historic graduate student union election at Harvard in November was the first graduate student union election since the National Labor Relations Board’s August 2016 decision in Columbia University[i] restored the right to bargain collectively to student workers. Since then, graduate students have voted to unionize at Columbia[ii] and Yale[iii] Universities, a graduate student union has been certified at Loyola University of Chicago[iv], the votes in a graduate student union election are being counted at Cornell University[v], and graduate students at Boston College[vi] have filed a petition for an election. As graduate students sense their employment becoming more precarious under the Trump administration, we should expect this trend to continue.

Continue reading “Harvard Graduate Student Union’s NLRB Objections Go to the Foundations of Fair Elections”

Originalism and the Death of Conservatism

During judicial confirmation hearings on Tuesday, the Senators’ questions about Gorsuch’s judicial philosophy centered on whether he is an “originalist.”  This comes as no surprise, since, thanks to Justice Thomas and the late Justice Scalia, originalism is now the litmus test for conservative judges.  Voters and pundits on the Right now ask judges whether they are activist or originalist, whether they legislate from the bench or interpret the law as its writers meant.

Continue reading “Originalism and the Death of Conservatism”

Going to a Firm? Take the Public Interest Pledge

When Trump won the election, I spun out a little. To avoid months of anxiety before Election Day, I had refused to believe he could win even though a pit in my stomach told me otherwise.

But he won. I took a couple hours to grieve, and then I started asking myself (and, honestly, anyone who would listen): “What do we do?!”

The best answer has been to prepare ourselves. We need to get out of our feelings, focus, and plan, especially as lawyers-in-training who are in close proximity to the institutions that sanctioned this mess. The weeks and months ahead will be filled with bias and bigotry. We need to get comfortable now with constant activism and dissent. We need to be empathetic, to keep having difficult conversations with family and friends, and to organize.

Continue reading “Going to a Firm? Take the Public Interest Pledge”