Letters

Kudos

Congratulations! Firstly, the layout and design in the last issue blew me away as a work of art. Secondly, to anyone who doubts we’ve made progress as a society in the last 50 years, regard the content. In my class of ’62, there were three African Americans (only one who graduated) and 12 women out of more than 500. And compare the courses offered with those of today—how fortunate are today’s students. If I were a student today, I might even have become a real lawyer!

Keep up the magnificent work!

Becket is a writer and filmmaker who was active in human rights law and worked for UNHCR and Amnesty International before migrating to Hollywood.

Yang’s research is leading the way

Thank you for the articles on criminal law and justice in the Winter issue of the Bulletin, especially on Professor Crystal Yang’s research on pretrial detention. I work in the community corrections field in Colorado, and one of the most basic overlooked concepts in pretrial detention is the presumption of innocence. Our preliminary research in the state has shown that in many county jails, anywhere from 50% to 60% of the population are pretrial, with the balance serving a sentence. Moreover, many of the individuals arrested and held in pretrial status lose their employment because of their inability to make bail, creating further problems for them and their families.

Structural and legal reforms are required in this area of the criminal justice process, and Professor Yang’s evidence-based research is leading the way.

Thanks for the memories

It was with great joy as well as nostalgia that I read the recent HLB article “A ’60s Experiment with a Ripple Effect.” I worked at CLAO, later named CASLS, from 1969 to 1972 while at Harvard Law School. I was also very fortunate to take Professor Gary Bellow’s inaugural clinical law course. Gary was the giant of clinical legal education and an amazing lawyer. Our legal services work not only was vitally important to the Cambridge and Somerville residents to whom we provided no- or low-cost representation; it was a great way to learn how to become a lawyer.

Indeed, despite missing many Evidence classes because I had to be in trial, I learned evidence on my feet in the courtroom (and managed to do quite well in the course).

My experience working at CASLS led to my first job after graduation as a staff attorney at Atlanta Legal Aid, a second job heading up a pro bono office of a large Baltimore law firm and a lifetime of supporting legal services. For the past number of years, I have taught seminars in alternative dispute resolution and environmental law at the Boston University School of Law and have had the pleasure of helping my students to learn the substance and practice of law through realistic case studies and oral and written presentations, just as I learned through representing real clients at CASLS under the supervision of lawyers and instructors. Recently, I attended the 40th anniversary celebration of the WilmerHale Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School, where I had the pleasure of seeing Jeanne Charn and many former colleagues and marveled at the magnificence of the present home for clinical legal services at HLS. Nothing at all like our former quarters! Thank you for this article.