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.

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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.

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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.

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President Faust: Alumnae Should Have Role in Dean Search

Dear President Faust,

Thank you for the invitation to provide input regarding the search for the next Dean of Harvard Law School. I am writing on behalf of the Harvard Law School Women’s Alliance (“HLSWA”). Founded in 2010, the HLSWA represents over 13,000 women who have graduated from Harvard Law School — 32% of the HLS alumni. One of the primary goals of the HLSWA is to increase the presence of HLS alumnae in positions of power and leadership.

As the largest and most active HLS alumni and special interest group, we write to encourage the Search Committee to include in the evaluation of candidates for the position of Dean of HLS evidence of his or her commitment to promoting advancement of women and gender equality.

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The Dean Search: An Open Letter from The Women’s Law Association to President Faust

Dear President Faust,

Thank you for welcoming the opinions of the law school community in your search for the next Dean of Harvard Law School. As a part of the law school community, the Harvard Women’s Law Association (WLA) is one of the largest and most active student organizations on campus. We are a diverse group dedicated to supporting women at the law school and beyond, and we wanted to share our collective vision for the future of our institution.

The selection of the next Dean will send a message about Harvard Law School’s mission and values that extends far beyond Cambridge. The next Dean needs to work to promote diversity and gender equality, social justice, innovation in legal education, student inclusiveness and community building, and transparency, and the message we send with this selection should emphasize a commitment to this work. We need a Dean who is committed to building upon the public interest work advanced by Dean Minow. We need an active leader who will lead the law school through a challenging political, social, and economic climate, and who will accelerate the mission “to educate leaders who contribute to the advancement of justice and the well-being of society.”

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Record Review: The Bachelor Week 10

Oh hi! I didn’t see you come in. I was just sitting on my couch thinking about what I’m doing with my life and how to maintain a sense of purpose in these final months of my education (…just kidding, I was watching Hawaii 5-0 on Netflix). But now that you’re here, I can get down to the important and meaningful work of writing about The Bachelor. Where did we leave off last week?

That’s right! Raven just told the world she’d never had an orgasm (with her ex-boyfriend, or, alternately, ever?), then toddled into the Fantasy Suite to share a night of passion with Nick. (Gross.)

Continue reading Record Review: The Bachelor Week 10″

It Got Really Ugly Really Fast

This past presidential election and its aftermath show how divided this country is over so many social and other issues. Many on both sides of this divide carry a tinder box of opinions that can catch fire at the slightest provocation.

Students of American history well know that American institutions have been tested in battle before and survived. For example, Thomas Jefferson led the nation through ferocious partisanship and cultural warfare amid economic change and external threats, and Andrew Jackson was not accepted by some as a “legitimate” president. Suffice to say that “false facts” are not a recent creation. So, while we should all probably despair a little less about the future of our country, that doesn’t make our interactions with people who hold strong opinions that are contrary to our own any less challenging. I learned this the hard way.

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An Interview with Professor Tribe

Professor Laurence Tribe is part of a legal team that has filed a lawsuit against President Trump, arguing that transactions between the Trump Organization and foreign governments violate the Emoluments Clause in Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution. The Record recently spoke to Professor Tribe about the Emoluments Clause and the lawsuit his group has filed.

The Record: Explain the lawsuit you’ve filed against the President – what is the Emoluments Clause and how has President Trump violated it?   Continue reading “An Interview with Professor Tribe”

Record Review: The Bachelor Week 9

Hello my turtledoves. I’m sorry this week’s recap is late! I’ve fallen victim to the post-Parody plague, and every surface in my apartment is now covered with a film of cough drop wrappers, Saltine crumbs, and half-drunk mugs of tea. But Parody was so worth it! And really, all great art is about suffering.

Speaking of suffering, let’s jump into this past week’s episode. Much of the Internet found it super boring, but I actually thought there was a lot going on. The episode begins with a totally spontaneous and unexpected conversation with Andi Dorfman, who broke Nick’s heart three years ago (How was that only three years ago? It feels like so much longer).

“Andi is the last person I ever thought I would see,” Nick says, his eyes totally dead, his face registering none of the expressions human beings associate with surprise.

Continue reading Record Review: The Bachelor Week 9″

“All Rise!”, Episode 6: Michael Klarman

The Harvard Law Record’s podcast — All Rise! — has just released its sixth episode (and first episode of its second season): an interview with Harvard Law School professor Michael Klarman. Klarman is a leading constitutional scholar, a specialist in the racial history of the Supreme Court, a Bancroft Prize winner, and the cause of Harvard Law’s longest waitlist. He joined All Rise! in January to discuss growing up, betting, the Constitution, Donald Trump, UVA and baseball.

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:

At The Harvard Law Forum: Letter to a Law Student Interested in Social Justice

A decade ago, William Quigley penned “Letter to a Law Student Interested in Social Justice.” In it, he reminded students that “justice is a counter-cultural value in our legal profession…you cannot be afraid to be different.” To keep the message of the letter alive, The Harvard Law Forum and the Public Interest Committee of the Harvard Law Student Government invited four incredible classmates and alums who chose public interest vocations to share their testimonies about living out the politics of joy and justice. Continue reading “At The Harvard Law Forum: Letter to a Law Student Interested in Social Justice”