Since graduating from Harvard College in 1985 and then getting his law degree, Alan Jenkins ’89 had been on a career fast track, but he felt frustrated about the forces of injustice and inequality he saw around him.
Merrick Garland ’77—President Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court—has been very much involved in the life of Harvard Law School since receiving his degree from HLS nearly four decades ago. Dean Martha Minow described as “an outstanding, meticulous, and thoughtful judge with a superb career of public service.”
In 2015, America had the lowest number of executions in 25 years, according to a new report released by Harvard Law School’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice. But of the 28 people executed, 68% suffered from severe mental disabilities or experienced extreme childhood trauma and abuse.
Supreme Court justices, performance art, student protests and a vice president. A look back at 2015, highlights of the people who visited, events that took place and everyday life at Harvard Law School.
The Harvard Law School Association presented its highest award this past spring to William P. Alford ’77 and Charles J. Ogletree ’78 —two of Harvard Law School’s most distinguished professors, mentors to generations of jurists, advisers to senators, presidents and world leaders, and celebrated doers of good works—and longtime friends.
Halfway into his term as president of the Harvard Law School Association, Salvo Arena LL.M. ’00 says one of the questions he hears most often when he meets with other alumni is, What exactly is the HLSA and what does it do?
“Choosing Not to Choose: Understanding the Value of Choice,” by Professor Cass R. Sunstein ’78 (Oxford). Choice, while a symbol of freedom, can also be a burden: If we had to choose all the time, asserts the author, we’d be overwhelmed. Indeed, Sunstein argues that in many instances, not choosing could benefit us—for example, if mortgages could be automatically refinanced when interest rates drop significantly.
On March 6, Harvard Law School’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice hosted Dying While Black and Brown, a dance performance focused on capital punishment and the disproportionate numbers of incarcerated people of color. The performance was first commissioned by the San Francisco Equal Justice Society as part of the society’s campaign to restore 14th Amendment protections for victims of discrimination, including those on death row.
On Friday, Feb. 6, after several town hall meetings in which Harvard Law students and faculty shared their experiences and observations of discrimination and systemic injustice, as well as hopes for pedagogical and cultural shifts at the law school, the HLS community convened to discuss a somewhat more familiar law school topic: legal and policy reforms.
And discussions have continued into the new year about the policy and procedures of police, prosecutors and the community at large.