Writ Large: Faculty Books


The Balancing Act

Mack Reframes the story of America’s Civil Rights lawyers

In 1932, in a Philadelphia courtroom, a defense attorney representing a man accused of murder cross-examined a police officer. There was nothing unusual about this scene, except that the defense attorney, Raymond Pace Alexander ’23, was black, and the officer he was aggressively questioning was white. This scene is one of many dramatic moments in the new book by HLS Professor Kenneth Mack ’91, “Representing the Race: The Creation of the Civil Rights Lawyer.”

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Elected vs. Appointed?

Shugerman explores the history of judicial selection in the U.S.

Today, about 90 percent of state judges must run for office, and the elections have become increasingly expensive and nasty. Assistant Professor Jed Handelsman Shugerman provides historical perspective on judicial elections and other methods of judicial selection in his new book, “The People’s Courts: Pursuing Judicial Independence in America” (Harvard, 2012).

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‘A Harmonious System of Mutual Frustration’

Goldsmith points to a robust balance of power and new forms of presidential accountability in the fight against terrorism

As Barack Obama ’91 was making criticism of Bush administration policies on terrorism a centerpiece of his campaign for the presidency in 2008, Jack Goldsmith offered a prediction: The next president, even if it were Obama, would not undo those policies. One of the key and underappreciated reasons, he wrote in a spring 2008 magazine article, was that “many controversial Bush administration policies have already been revised to satisfy congressional and judicial critics.”

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Alumni News and Notemakers


Pay it forward

As an HLS student in the early 1980s, James O’Neal dreamed of combining his passions for law and education to help at-risk kids in New York City. But times were grim for lawyers interested in public interest work. The Legal Services Corporation, the primary provider of legal aid to low-income people in the United States, was in dire straits after losing much of its federal funding, and there were few other opportunities—and little support—for public service jobs. For O’Neal and others like him, the prospects were dim.Continue Reading »


After Death Camps, a Force for Life

Human rights lawyer Thomas Buergenthal LL.M. ’61 S.J.D. ’68, author of “A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy,” wrote that his experience as a Holocaust survivor made him a better judge. “I understood, not only intellectually but emotionally, what it is like to be victim of human rights violations. I could, after all, feel it in my bones.”Continue Reading »


Atticus Finch with a Laptop

Robert McDuff ’80 remembers clearly what first got him thinking about civil rights and the profession of law. In 1968, when he was 12, he read a newspaper account of a murder trial in his hometown of Hattiesburg, Miss. The victim was an African-American shopkeeper and civil rights leader killed by the Klan after he let other other African-Americans use his store as a place to pay their poll taxes. Continue Reading »

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Letters to the Editor

A vindication of the physical object

I received the new issue [Winter 2012] in the mail yesterday, and I have to tell you it was fantastic—filled with really interesting content, which made me feel just wonderful about my association with HLS. But strikingly, it was also beautifully designed.Continue Reading »

Defending a law that limits rights of a minority is not value-neutral advocacy

In “Defending Unpopular Positions Is What Lawyers Do” (Winter 2012), Paul Clement makes a claim (astonishingly echoed by Attorney General Eric Holder) that is as plainly wrong as it is self-serving.Continue Reading »

Remembering Derrick Bell

Your recent “Tribute” to the late Professor Derrick Bell aptly identified him as an “iconoclast” and “community builder.” Professor Bell was certainly those things, but he was also much more.Continue Reading »

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The Matrix

A diagram tracing the network of some of the HLS graduates at the top levels of the U.S. national security infrastructure in the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama ’91.Continue Reading »


Leading My Hometown

Other than their Harvard Law degrees, Naomi Koshi LL.M. ’09 and Karen Freeman-Wilson ’85 don’t appear to have much in common. They live in opposite parts of the world and are different in professional background, ethnicity and age. And yet they share a certain connection. Both were recently elected the first female mayors of cities that are in the middle of their countries and are sometimes overshadowed by their neighbors. The cities are first in their hearts, however—the places where they grew up and which they want to help grow.

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Giving Counsel to Ethiopia


Fasil Amdetsion ’07 has been writing about relations between Ethiopia and surrounding states since he was a student at Harvard Law School. Since last fall, he’s gone from writing about Ethiopia to working for its government.Continue Reading »


HLS Authors: Selected alumni books

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,”
by Susan Cain ’93 (Crown). Cain has written a manifesto for a large but often marginalized subset of the population: introverts. Though numbering about one out of every three people, they nevertheless frequently remain closeted in a society that idealizes the “oppressive standard” of extroversion, she writes. Continue Reading »


A Resolution for the UN: How one human rights attorney found her role in international law

By her 2L year, Regina Fitzpatrick ’08 was dead set on working for the U.N. on a peacekeeping mission. She’d come to HLS with a master’s in human rights after a stint with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The U.N.’s “legitimacy and access to hot spots,” she says, made it her goal. She is now working in Juba, South Sudan, living her dream.Continue Reading »

A Conversation with Jody LaNasa ’94


In 2007, Joseph “Jody” LaNasa ’94 launched Serengeti Asset Management, an opportunistic hedge fund that focuses on value investments in the debt and equity of public and private companies. Continue Reading »