In the fall of 1962, Caroline “Cal” Simon ’65 started at Harvard Law, one of 23 women in a class of 540. Her reflections on the experience are perfectly preserved in dozens of sharply witty letters she wrote to her family—letters she rediscovered when her father died. Together, they give an indelible sense of life at the school in the mid-1960s, and specifically, life as a woman there, a decade after women were first admitted.
With the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia ’60 of the U.S. Supreme Court on February 13 has come an outpouring of remembrances and testaments to his transformative presence during his 30 years on the Court. On February 24, Dean Martha Minow and a panel of seven Harvard Law School professors, each of whom had a personal or professional connection to the justice, gathered to remember his life and work.
Raheemah Abdulaleem ’01 was standing on a Washington, D.C., street corner in 2009 on her way to work at the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division when a man yelled at her from his car to “go back to your country.” An African-American who grew up in Philadelphia in a family whose roots in the United States are nearly as old as the country, Abdulaleem was wearing a hijab, the traditional headscarf worn by some Muslim women.
In last year’s Academy Award-nominated film “Bridge of Spies,” Tom Hanks plays a lawyer who defends an accused Soviet spy in the U.S. The Hanks character appears to be dumbfounded that he has been asked to take on such an assignment. “I’m an insurance lawyer,” he says. The real lawyer whom Hanks portrays, James B. Donovan ’40, was that—and much more.
When he was a student at HLS, a friend made Geoff Shepard ’69 a campaign button that said “Nixon Shepard,” representing Shepard’s enthusiasm for the presidential candidacy of Richard Nixon and his hope that he would join Nixon in the White House. Shepard still has the button today and is still advocating for the president he served and defended.