What do a two-time WWE champion; a Grammy-award winning music producer; the composer of Disney’s “Mulan;” and an author whose thrillers have sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, all have in common? They’re all graduates of Harvard Law School, and each will be back on campus this week for HLS in the Arts, a festival celebrating the 200th anniversary of Harvard Law School, and the many connections between law and art.
David Otunga ’06, Clive Davis ’56, David Zippel ’79 and Scott Turow ’78 are among the more than 50 artists returning to perform and discuss their lives and careers in the arts on Sept. 15 and 16. The events are open to the Harvard Law School community.
“We wanted to kick off the bicentennial celebration in a fun, illuminating, and surprising way that both engaged the entire law school community—staff, current students, alums, and faculty—and that underscored the law school’s reach in the nation’s arts, said Faculty Chair of the Bicentennial Committee and Howard and Katherine Aibel Professor of Law Richard Lazarus. “Legal skills rarely exist in isolation of other talents and advocacy can take many forms, including in the arts.”
From “The Paper Chase” to “Legally Blonde,” HLS has been at the center of some of the world’s most beloved stories. But it’s not just the school that captures imaginations. The law school’s graduates consistently go on to occupy key spaces in the arts.
Davis, who serves as Honorary Chair of HLS in the Arts, will present the Boston premiere of “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives,” a documentary based on his illustrious five-decade career—running Columbia Records in the ‘60s and ‘70s, founding Arista in 1974 and J Records in 2000.
In an interview in advance of his Harvard appearance on Sept. 16, Davis shared key moments from his career, including his epiphany at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and his formula for what makes a song a hit single.
The festival kicks off on the afternoon of Friday, Sept. 15 with the opening of the art exhibit, which features multimedia works by HLS alumni, faculty, and staff.
Jeffrey Toobin ’86, legal analyst for CNN and The New Yorker, will serve as emcee for an evening of live performances including string pieces by Professors Joseph Singer ’81, Jeannie Suk Gersen ’02 and Susan Crawford; tribute videos of HLS graduates Ruben Blades LL.M. ‘85, Jackie Fuchs ‘91 of The Runaways, and Stephen Trott ‘65 of The Highwaymen; an interview with lyricist David Zippel ‘79; and folk, rap, R&B, and pop performances by clients of the Harvard Recording Artists Project.
Past and present members of the HLS Parody, Harvard Law School’s annual, original, comedy musical, will perform “Parody Greatest Hits” from more than a half-century of musical numbers that satirize the school, professors, and the legal profession.
A dance party and an interactive late-night screening of “The Paper Chase” will close out the evening.
On Saturday, there will be discussions with featured artists and authors, musical performances by students and staff, and book and film festivals. At the film festival, screenings of films by alumni and faculty run alongside conversations with alumni, including actors, general counsel, talent representatives, filmmakers, television writers, producers, and composers. The festival will conclude with a reception and special screening of a documentary about Davis, “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of our Lives,” followed by a Q&A session with the legend himself.
The 200th anniversary of the founding of Harvard Law School is an opportunity to explore the exceptional accomplishments of the school’s graduates and the community. It’s also an opportunity to explore the impact of HLS across the globe, said Dean John Manning. He added that “HLS provides great legal training and, remarkably, in the process, somehow also launches great actors, agents, directors, producers, writers, musicians, singers, artists, and photographers. Come join us and see!”