Last year, after Rory Van Loo ’07 left the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau implementation team to become assistant director of the Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program, he asked his former colleagues how HLS students might assist the new agency. It had been created by Congress in 2010 largely thanks to the vision of HLS Professor Elizabeth Warren, and its mission included examining certain consumer financial services companies and large banks and credit unions. But the legislation creating it did not establish an appeals process for examining findings.
For students interested in the confluence of business and law, there is one group on campus that has taken the lead in connecting them with business figures for career advice. The Harvard Association for Law and Business has grown from an organization of 50 to one of more than 700 members—drawn by a robust weekly speaker series as well as other events that promote networking and mentoring, among other benefits.
Last summer, Professor Robert Mnookin ’68, found himself wanting to know more about U.S.-Cuba relations. “I had an idea that there was a very interesting set of questions related to when, how and whether the two countries would ever negotiate a reconciliation,” he says. He decided to investigate by teaching a reading group—a small, 1-credit class, where 2Ls and 3Ls are able to dig deeply into a given topic in a way that provokes extended discussion among the group. “I am not an expert on Cuba; I’m an expert on negotiation, and what a reading group allowed me to do is learn with the students about an area I didn’t know much about,” he says.
In the mid-1990s, Dennis Davis, then a judge of the High Court of Cape Town, sought out HLS Professor Frank Michelman ’60 to advise South African officials on constitutional interpretation. “From that moment on, he became a resource person for us. We regard him as one of ours,” said Davis. “It’s a very, very deep relationship.”
The Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision allowed unlimited political expenditures by corporations and unions, which have been used to help fund campaign commercials that have flooded the airwaves during this election season. In recent writings, several Harvard Law faculty members have explored how Citizens United affects a spectrum of stakeholders, including shareholders, corporations, unions and voters.