Letters

HLS Cases

The Bulletin story “When we’re needed, we’ll show up” by Latria Graham, reporting on the recent wave of students focused on immigrant rights, won a Bronze in the feature writing category last spring in the 2018 CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education) Circle of Excellence competition.

“All Rise,” a video edited by our colleague Lorin Granger, was also a CASE winner. It brings the Ames Moot Court Competition to the screen, through archival footage and interviews with former oralists. If the case you argued is not featured in the film, you might find it in the HLS Ames Moot Court Competitions Archive.

Early classroom-courtroom link

The Harvard Law Bulletin for Summer 2018 was excellent, with its celebration of HLS clinics. It reminded me of my experience with the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. There also came to mind the case of Poindexter v. Prosser. Are you familiar with that litigation?

William Poindexter ’49, a fellow Kansas City citizen, was my classmate. To the best of my recollection, the facts are these:

Our professor, [William] Prosser, asked if anyone in the Bills and Notes class had a $5 bill. Poindexter responded with the bill. Prosser then pocketed it and announced that he would keep it until Poindexter figured out what to do. After class, Poindexter marched down to the Middlesex County Courthouse and filed a lawsuit.

The case received some publicity, as I recall. But fame is a fleeting thing. Worthy of resurrection for your readers, however.

Editor’s note: In April 1948, The Harvard Crimson and The Harvard Law Record both devoted several articles to the “famous Case of the Five-dollar Bill.” In the end, after being initially scheduled for the Third District Court of Cambridge, Poindexter v. Prosser was tried in the Court of the Commonwealth of Ames. According to an article in The Harvard Law Record, Prosser was the victor in the case. In the end, the author opined, “Poindexter fared rather well.” The professor treated his student and his student’s wife, the plaintiff’s counsel, and the judge to a steak dinner. “The check was somewhat in excess of $5.”

Nothing short of inspiring

Your Summer issue was nothing short of inspiring to this J.D. ’55 LL.M. ’59 and former faculty assistant. The new directions responding to serious societal problems did not exist back then; and the expansion of legal education responding to the hiring firms’ words “Send us lawyers who can practice law” was in its infancy. For me that move began in 1957-1958 when Dean Griswold asked famed Boston litigator Jim St. Clair to initiate a Trial Practice seminar and asked me to run a drafting competition (The Williston Competition). This link from law school to practice has vastly expanded to become the substantial part of legal education that it is today.

Bulletin or Onion?

Your Summer 2018 issue read almost like an Onion satire of the politically correct left. Is there any issue or activity that does not involve oppressed minorities, systemic injustices, or pet liberal causes? Maybe you should devote just a little time and attention to the majority and the mainstream.

HLS connection

Kudos on another outstanding issue (Summer 2018). I don’t have a lot of contact with HLS these days, and your publication keeps me well informed. I was sad to read of the passing of my classmate Jack E. Robinson ’85.

I very much enjoyed the “From the Dean” letter from another classmate, John F. Manning ’85, but one sentence saddened me for a different reason. It was only because of a despicable act of rank partisanship by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that the sentence “Less than a decade later, the Chief Justice swore in another HLS alumnus, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch ’91” does not read “Less than a decade later, the Chief Justice swore in another HLS alumnus, Justice Merrick B. Garland ’77.” Future generations of HLS students will get to debate the ramifications of McConnell’s action.

Keep up the great work!