On March 14, the Harvard Corporation voted to retire the Harvard Law School shield, following the recommendation of an HLS committee. The shield is modeled on the family crest of Isaac Royall, whose bequest endowed the first professorship of law at Harvard. Royall was the son of an Antiguan slaveholder.
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.
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.
Matt Seccombe spends much of his day sorting through roughly a million pages of horror. It’s his job to analyze documents in the HLS Library’s Nuremberg Trials Collection, one of the most extensive collections in the world of documents from the trials of military and political leaders of Nazi Germany and other accused war criminals. He acknowledges that it is sometimes “nightmare-inducing reading,” but every dramatic and unexpected individual document he uncovers makes the job compelling, he says. Seccombe catalogs some of his findings, including those shared in the ten reflections in our story, in his blog Scanning Nuremberg.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in History for her book “The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family,” Annette Gordon-Reed ’84 first read a biography of Thomas Jefferson as a child—and hasn’t stopped learning and writing about him. The HLS professor, who is also on the faculty at the university and the Radcliffe Institute, spoke to the Bulletin about her latest book, “Most Blessed of the Patriarchs: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination,” co-written with Peter S. Onuf. She discusses her own fascination with and (measured) admiration for the third U.S. president—and the significance of teaching history at the law school.