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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.