Adriaan Lanni on what modern lawyers and democratic citizens can learn from ancient Athens

In October, on the occasion of her appointment as the Touoff-Glueck Professor of Law, Professor Adriaan Lanni delivered a lecture titled, “Why Study Athenian Law? Adventures in Institutional Design.”

Lanni’s teaching and scholarship combine her expertise in both criminal law and ancient legal history. At Harvard Law School, she teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Adjudication, and the Criminal Justice Workshop, as well as a variety of legal history courses on ancient Greek and Roman law.

Her publications include “Law and Justice in the Courts of Classical Athens,” and the just published “Law and Order in Ancient Athens,” as well as several articles on ancient law and the modern criminal jury.

Professor Lanni with her family and dog, Scout.

Professor Lanni with her family after her lecture.

Before joining Harvard Law School in 2005, she was a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. Adriaan clerked for Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and for Justice Dana Fabe of the Alaska Supreme Court. In her acknowledgements in her book, Law and Justice in the Courts of Classical Athens, Lanni writes that her approach to all legal questions reflects the influence of those two judges. She also acknowledges the influence of her father, a union leader who pointed out to her “at an early age the distinction between law and social justice” – a theme central to that book.

he Touroff-Glueck Professorship was created by the bequest of Sheldon Glueck and Eleanor Touroff Glueck, renowned criminologists who were the first to conduct studies on chronic juvenile offenders. Sheldon received his Ph.D. from Harvard, and taught at the law school from 1929 to 1963. From 1950-1963, Sheldon was the Roscoe Pound Professor of Law. Eleanor received her Masters and doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. And the two collaborated on criminal justice research for the rest of their careers. Their papers are housed in the Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck Archives in the Special Collections of the Harvard Law School Library.