Evelyn and Hannah spoke with Sharon Block, the Executive Director of the Labor and Worklife Program at HLS, about her two decades of service in labor policy positions across the federal government, what it’s like in the West Wing, and staying positive through difficult career transitions.
Karen Washington is a New York City community activist, community gardener and board member of the New York Botanical Gardens. She has worked with Bronx neighborhoods to turn empty lots into community gardens, helped launched a City Farms Market, is a member of the La Familia Verde Garden Coalition, is a Just Food board member, is a board member and former president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition and is the co- founded Black Urban Growers (BUGS). She is also the co-creator of Rise & Root Farm, a cooperatively run farm in the black dirt region of Orange County, New York.
On February 22, 2018, she came to Harvard Law School to share her insights and experience on what lawyers can do to promote urban farming and food justice.
The video is below:
In anticipation of the Harvard Black Law Students Association’s 50th Anniversary Celebration in April 2018, the Harvard Journal on Racial & Ethnic Justice (formerly the Black Letter Journal) is coordinating an archival research project to discover the historical links that bind these two organizations. Through this research, JREJ and HBLSA have revealed common threads that transcend time. Whether one studied here in the 1970s or in the present day, Black law students at Harvard have forged an enduring legacy, sharing the same values, frustrations, and hopes for a brighter and more just future.
There is an unfortunately widespread belief among Harvard Law students that young lawyers must wait before they can begin using their newly-acquired lawyering skills to confront the great public problems of our time. “I agree there are problems,” many think. “But who am I to attempt to solve them— and, let alone, solve them now?”
The life and work of David R. Zwick, who passed away this month, belies this belief.
Zwick, a member of the Harvard Law School class of 1973, did not even wait for graduation! In November 1972, The Record ran a full page story on the then-3L, titled: “Phantom 3L Attacks Pollution, Congress.” The lead reads:
“Author, pollution control advocate and 3L David R. Zwick has taken his time in getting his law degree. Since 1967 when he began his studies at HLS the young pro bono lawyer-to-be has authored two books, directed a national task force investigating water pollution under the auspices of Ralph Nader’s Center for Responsive Law, and completed most of the work toward a degree in public policy in the Kennedy School. The law degree seems anticlimactic.”
Lori Wallach (Harvard Law Class of 1990) is the founder of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. She is a 25-year veteran of congressional trade battles, from the 1990s NAFTA fight to the TPP fight this past year. Named a “Politico 50” thinker, doer and visionary, she is one of the nation’s leading advocates for the public interest within the global trade regime.
On February 20, 2018, Wallach came to Harvard Law to share with students how they can advance justice and the public interest within the all-too-corporatized global trade system.
The video is below:
On February 13, 2018, Sr. Helen Prejean came to Harvard Law School to share her experience and wisdom from a life of fighting to abolish the death penalty.
Sr. Helen Prejean is the nation’s leading death penalty abolitionist. She is the author of the bestselling book Dead Man Walking, which was made into an Oscar-winning movie with Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn.
The video of her Forum talk is below:
On February 7, The Harvard Law Forum hosted a roundtable on The Record‘s recent book, Our Bicentennial Crisis: A Call to Action for Harvard Law School’s Public Interest Mission.
Professors Randall Kennedy, Duncan Kennedy, Carol Steiker and Todd Rakoff joined the author, Pete Davis ’18, in a roundtable discussion.
A video of Pete’s opening remarks are here:
And the full event video is here:
The full text of the Our Bicentennial Crisis report is here.
Money in politics in the United States is a defining issue of our time. The richest .01% of the population contributes at least 40% of the money in politics. With many members of Congress spending over half of their working hours raising funds, and with the average successful Senate race costing more than $10 million, the highly disproportionate spending power of the rich exacerbates the already undue influence that the wealthiest have in controlling our nation.
Rookstrikers—an organization started by Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig and others—was formed to address the issue of money in politics by striking at the root of many of the problems in our democracy: corrupt campaign finance law. Campaign finance remains a vital issue for reformers, but what the 2016 election and its aftermath has reinforced is that there are other urgent structural issues that also need to be addressed in order to reestablish the United States as a true, flourishing democracy.
In late 2017, a notable white supremacist group posted recruitment fliers around Stanford Law School (SLS). Last quarter, racist anti-immigrant hate mail was stuffed in a student’s mailbox at SLS. In response, a group of women of color at SLS hung a banner in the law school that read “Racism Lives Here Too.” Racist acts are not surprising or unique to SLS, or even to HLS. The reality is that as law students of color, we know that racism and other -isms live here, too.
Alumni can make an important contribution to students presently enrolled in their alma mater by calling attention to frames of reference often unmentioned or little discussed at Harvard Law School as the curriculum focuses on developing analytic legal skills and discerning legal concepts. Some alumni wish that they were accorded these larger perspectives when they attended Harvard Law School. A brief mention of a few advisories that might enhance your grasp of the meaning of legal education in addition to legal training:
Evelyn and Hannah talk to Jack Corrigan, a lecturer at the Prosecutions Clinic at HLS, on his time as an assistant district attorney, and his front-row seat to historic events like the Florida recount and the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
During the HLS admissions process, prospective students are often wooed by information about opportunities like clinics, independent studies with professors, and the ability to cross-register for courses throughout Harvard University. HLS delivers on all counts. However, the current reality is that many students are not able to pursue as many of these opportunities as they would benefit from and be willing to prioritize due to one of HLS’s stricter degree requirements: the upper-level law classroom requirement. This article is about that requirement, why it is problematic, and how it could easily be fixed.
There is no doubt in my mind that anybody reading these words is keenly aware that Harvard Law School can be an alienating place. We need look no further than to popular culture to remember that this institution has been plagued by a history of promoting and fostering a toxic environment of cutthroat competition and destructive impulses. Recent events in national news should prompt each one of us to reflect more deeply on the just exercise of power and how to wrest it from those who abuse it.
I’ve observed Professor Mark Wu quite closely during my time as a student. Professor Wu embodies the qualities needed to elevate the standard for leadership necessary to effect positive change at this institution. HLS desperately needs faculty and administrators like Professor Wu—people who work to normalize a model of compassionate leadership to shape future leaders who will graduate from this institution and exert their influence in their respective sectors—as jurists, practitioners, and adherents to the rule of law.
Imagine that registering to vote were actually easy. Imagine that you did not have to navigate an antiquated signup process, remember to update your registration every time you moved, or navigate arbitrary registration deadlines just to exercise a constitutional right. Imagine that you could just show up to your polling place on Election Day and vote.
You might not have to imagine much longer: the Massachusetts legislature could make simpler voting a reality by passing the Automatic Voter Registration (“AVR”) bills currently before both chambers. The state legislature should do so before the committee reporting deadline on February 7th. AVR would not only reduce the headache of registering to vote – it would also add 700,000 people to the voter rolls in Massachusetts alone, and increase voter turnout and the diversity of the electorate in the process.