Vigorous debates in classes such as Constitutional Law and Torts, and fierce advocacy in the clinics. Afternoons bonding with friends in clubs and organizations, and quiet evenings spent studying by the Harkness fireplace. Celebrations, commiserations, and everything in between. Given the vast array of opportunities available at Harvard Law School, every student follows an educational path as unique as they are.
As the Class of 2022 prepares to don regalia and receive their diplomas on Holmes Field, soon-to-be graduates told Harvard Law Today what their time here has meant to them.
Michelle Bao ’22
Favorite HLS class: The Cyberlaw Clinic during my last semester at HLS was the perfect culmination of my time at HLS. I came into law school not 100% sure what exactly I wanted to do after I graduated, but after some trial and error, I’ve realized that I want to build a career doing IP/tech-related work, and being in the clinic really helped to affirm that. I’ll actually be going to a firm after graduation where I’m hoping to focus on IP litigation and data security work!
What was your most memorable HLS moment or experience: Being a BSA [Board of Student Adviser] was the highlight of my time at HLS! 1L year can be really exciting but also confusing and overwhelming. There definitely was a learning curve for me to adjust to being in law school, and as someone who came into HLS not knowing anyone, my BSA was the person who I knew I could always rely on. It has been so much fun and such a privilege to get to pay that forward during my last two years at HLS as a BSA.
Tomisin Ogunsanya ’22
Post-graduation plans: Working at Davis Polk & Wardwell as a corporate associate in New York.
Favorite class at HLS: My favorite class was Comparative Constitutional Law, taught by Professor Vicki Jackson. I enjoyed learning about the diverse range of constitutional regimes in existence and the general processes of constitutionalism. Law school classes tend to foreground an American perspective, so it was refreshing to learn about foreign approaches to the law and to constitutionalism. I also enjoyed Professor Jackson’s teaching – she encouraged class discussion and participation, she solicited students’ views on thought-provoking questions, and she elucidated core concepts clearly and skillfully.
Most memorable HLS moment or experience: My most memorable HLS experience entailed meeting various United Nations representatives in New York to discuss how the UN could support and compensate the victims of Kosovo’s lead poisoning crisis. The crisis began in 1999, when the UN inadvertently housed Ashkali, Egyptian and Roma communities in displacement camps that had been contaminated with lead. Despite its role in starting the crisis, the UN’s leadership had neglected to compensate the victims for their injuries. Thus, we met with various member states to encourage the UN to change its course and to duly compensate the victims. The trip was led by my International Human Rights Clinic supervisor Beatrice Lindstrom, who has been advocating for justice for victims of UN harms for years. The trip provided a meaningful opportunity to advocate for change and to encourage institutional reform.
Filareti Kouimtzi Filaretou LL.M. ’22
Post-graduation plans: Working at Cravath Swaine & Moore’s office in New York, after graduation. Filareti, who grew up on a small Greek island called Skiathos, studied law at the University of Athens, and worked at a law firm dealing with arbitrations, expert opinions, and appeals to the Supreme Court of Greece before coming to HLS.
Most memorable HLS moment or experience: My most memorable moment was meeting an HLS professor who not only is a very prominent scholar, but also an academic hero of mine. I approached him at the end of one of his lectures, while shaking and constantly rehearsing what I wanted to say. As we chatted, I was surprised by his humbleness. I told him that my Harvard application essay was inspired by his work and gave him a copy of one of his recent books I had translated into Greek. It was an intense emotional experience and, afterwards, I was numb for at least an hour. Later, I realized at this moment, the environment here opens many doors on your intellectual journey. When you get to put flesh and bone on a hero you read an ocean away, you have – in a small sense – made it!
Samuel Yang ’22
Post-graduation plans: Moving to Fairbanks, Alaska, to clerk on the Alaska Supreme Court, then next fall, moving to Miami to clerk on the district court there. After that, Yang hopes to become an environmental justice litigator.
Most memorable HLS moment or experience: During 1L, some of my section-mates and I would spend every weekend studying at a different coffeeshop in the city. It was a great way to get to know each other, get out of the law school bubble, and (hopefully) get some work done. The pandemic put an end to some, but not all, of that. My fellow cafe-crawlers ended up becoming my friends, roommates, and support system.
Anika Gray LL.M ’22
Favorite HLS class: I came to Harvard Law School hoping to discover a model of justice that would be divorced from the dominant punitive model used in my home country Jamaica. Specifically, I wanted to locate the type of justice that would not dehumanize people responsible for gender-based violence (GBV) while at the same time facilitate healing for survivors. My favorite class is a combination of three courses that supported me in this journey. Feminist Legal Theory with Professor Halley reaffirmed my faith in the possibility of freeing ourselves from the “gender box” that is at the root of GBV. Professor Unger’s philosophy course on the Conduct of Life taught me that human freedom comes from being connected to our community without stifling our individuality. And finally, Restorative and Transformative Justice with Professor Lanni exposed me to a model of justice that combines my commitment to feminism and human flourishing without exploitation.
Dunn Westhoff ’22
Post-graduation plans: Studying for the bar in Reno, Nevada, then moving to Dallas to work in Sidley Austin’s commercial litigation department.
Favorite HLS class: I definitely grew the most during the 1L curriculum, but I have never enjoyed 100-page reading assignments more than during Professor Eidelson’s Roberts Court Seminar. In addition to the intriguing class discussions, I especially appreciated Professor Eidelson’s efforts to ensure both sides of every debate were fairly articulated.
Most memorable HLS moment or experience: Listening to Justice Kagan speak in person during my 1L year was fantastic, and working alongside a federal judge and a prominent religious leader to organize a lunch event was an honor, but welcoming my second son to the family in the middle of fall-semester, during 3L finals definitely takes the cake for my most memorable HLS experience.
Fernanda Teodoro LL.M. ’22
Post-graduation plans: Teodoro is joining the Ford Foundation as a legal fellow, and is excited to support its philanthropic mission in many countries, including her home country of Brazil.
Most memorable HLS moment or experience: My most memorable HLS experience was the Negotiation & Mediation Clinic last fall. I had the chance to work closely with Suffolk County communities to advance restorative justice practices in the DA’s Office. I was humbled to learn from local restorative justice practitioners and community members about new tools to address harm and crime that challenge traditional measures offered by the criminal justice system.
Grant Fergusson ’22
Post-graduation plans: Moving to Washington, D.C. to start a legal fellowship with the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) to combat A.I. bias in government benefits programs.
Favorite HLS class: This is a tough one, but I’d say two classes tie for my favorite HLS class: Governing Digital Technologies or Administrative Law. Governing Digital Technologies was the first elective class I took at HLS, and it introduced me to an area of law and policy that I’ve since grown to love. This class (and Professor Zittrain, who teaches it) is the reason I’m working on technology governance after I graduate!
Administrative Law wasn’t the easiest class at HLS by a long shot, but it opened my eyes to a whole world of lawyering I didn’t know existed! I came into law school thinking that all lawyers were like the people I saw in legal TV shows: standing before judges, arguing their cases and nothing else. Administrative Law showed me that there were ways for me to push for policy change, work behind the scenes, and still be a lawyer. I learned a ton in the class, and I’m excited to be working with (and suing!) government agencies after I graduate.
Most memorable HLS moment or experience: There are so many, but I’d probably have to say the final round of the Upper-Level Ames Competition this past fall. It was one of the first big events I attended after more than a year away from campus because of COVID-19, and everything felt larger than life! Because I work on the Board of Student Advisers, I got to attend a dinner with some amazing judges and justices, including Justice Kagan, and later that night I even got to watch one of my closest friends at HLS, Mariah Watson ’22, serve as a finalist in the competition!
Mayze Teitler ’22
Post-graduation plans: Moving to New York to work as a litigation fellow at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.
Favorite HLS class: My favorite class in law school was the Cyberlaw Clinic. I cherished the opportunity to hone my client-representation skills with the fantastic practitioners there and expand my knowledge beyond the typical black letter law classroom. The clinical teams we have are fantastic mentors — law school wouldn’t have been the same without guidance from people like Chris Bavitz and Kendra Albert!
Most memorable HLS moment or experience: My most memorable HLS experience has to be working on the Ames Competition with the Board of Student Advisers. We see students through rounds of mock appellate advocacy work and have the honor of facilitating the 1L Ames competition, where first-years get their initial chance to practice appellate-level oral advocacy in a mock courtroom. Under the incredible leadership of last year’s Ames Vice President, Stacy Livingston, we also facilitated upper-level moot court competitions for the 2Ls and organized the final rounds of Ames for the 3L finalist teams. It’s so inspiring to see teams working together — the same students that we advise and coach through their 1L Ames experience — growing and learning through the various rounds and years of Ames. I’ve been truly blown away by the skills my classmates have developed during their time here!
Omeed Alerasool ’22
Post-graduation plans: Taking the bar exam in New Jersey, then moving to Washington, D.C. to join Elias Law Group as a litigation associate.
Favorite HLS class: During the fall 2020 semester, I enrolled in the Voting Rights Litigation & Advocacy Clinic (now the in-house Election Law Clinic) and corresponding clinical workshop with Ruth Greenwood, as well as the corequisite Election Law course with Nick Stephanopoulos. From these experiences — which included traveling to Virginia Beach, Virginia for a two-week trial involving a successful challenge under the Voting Rights Act — I was able to build the theoretical, doctrinal, and experiential foundation that I am confident will serve me well in my future career.
Most memorable HLS moment or experience: My most memorable HLS moments have come from my involvement in the Equal Democracy Project and the Harvard Human Rights Journal. I am grateful to the members of both organizations from the past three years for the opportunities to learn with and from each other, the collective perseverance in pursuing each organization’s mission during the period of virtual learning, and for countless memories that I’ll cherish — including the EDP Builders’ Forum, Quad Socials, and many orders of Felipe’s burritos.
Maryan Hassan LL.M. ’22
Post-graduation plans: I will continue to work on the intersection of trade, investment, climate change, and peace. Global food shortages in the aftermath of war in Europe have opened the world’s eyes once again to the trade and security nexus.
Most memorable HLS moment or experience: So many to choose from! Without a doubt it is seeing my daughter Sofia skip happily through the WCC. She’s made friends with professors as well as the brilliant service staff who keep this place running! My daughter is blissfully unaware of where we are – she calls Harvard Law School “Mummy’s school.” To see Harvard through her eyes has allowed me to remain curious, creative and humble.
Logan Brown ’22
Favorite HLS class: My favorite course was Torts. Professor Hanson did a great job at building a community within our section and supporting all of us as individuals. He also taught beyond the casebook and set us up for success. It was a great introduction to campus and I am so grateful for my section-mates. I also enjoyed Venture Law and Finance with Professor Fried. I am passionate about that subject and Professor Fried is a great instructor.
Most memorable HLS moment or experience: I have so many memorable HLS moments! I think one of my top highlights has been launching a pantsuit company called Spencer Jane. The entire Harvard community has been so supportive and I could not be more grateful. At the Ames Moot Court Finals Competition, Dean Jobson and Fenella, one of the oralists, both wore a Spencer Jane blazer. It was rewarding to see. Aside from that, my most memorable moments are probably the little moments — like CamCom dinners or studying with friends.
Federico del Rio Abundis LL.M. ’22
Post-graduation plans: Studying for the bar exam in Cambridge, returning home to Mexico to travel, then joining Skadden’s New York office.
Favorite HLS class: Professor Hanson’s Corporations class. After being a lawyer in Mexico for a few years, I decided to come to Harvard to look at the law through a different lens and challenge my preconceived notions. This class has been eye-opening in that sense. I’ve learned that to understand the law, we should pay attention not only to the legal rules, but also to the larger forces behind them.
Zarka Shabir ’22
Favorite HLS class: This is a bit of an unusual answer – but I am really thankful for the opportunity to cross-register at Harvard. As someone interested in cross-border, international legal work, I was really excited to be able to take French alongside my law classes. As a 3L, I spent the whole year enrolled in a beginning French class at Harvard College. The class was rigorous, the experience was humbling, and I know I will leave with a new skill that I can hone throughout my career.
Most memorable HLS moment or experience: In the fall semester of my 2L year, I got to be part of a team that authored an amicus brief on behalf of the International Human Rights Clinic for the U.S. Supreme Court case, Nestle v. Doe. The experience was an eye-opening crash course in the rigors of litigation and brief-writing. My team was a phenomenal group of women, all of whom were and remain deeply committed to human rights work. Even though we were working remotely, we were still a team and I am really proud of the work we did. Shout out to Jasmine’s dog, Peanut, for Zoom-bombing even in the wee hours of the night!
Kaivan Shroff ’22
Favorite HLS class: My favorite class at HLS was Challenges of a General Counsel: Lawyers as Leaders, co-taught by Professors David Wilkins and Ben Heineman. As someone committed to cross-sector collaboration, the course demonstrated how internal and external corporate policy decisions interact with legal structures to create “high-performance, high integrity” corporate and social cultures. Professor Wilkins brought his keen legal insights to the course while Professor Heineman brought his unique experience as the corporate leader who led the “inside counsel revolution.” Course guests were incredibly established leaders from both the public and private sectors who deal with high-stakes leadership decisions.
Most memorable HLS moment or experience: I was the teaching assistant for the Winter Term course, Advocacy Beyond the Courtroom, this January. The course offers law students insight into advocacy strategies that complement impact litigation efforts and movement building more broadly. In the course, the professors gave me an opportunity to teach the session on Social Media advocacy. I’m an online activist who creates millions of impressions on Twitter each month to support Democratic candidates and causes. As someone concerned about our democratic institutions and the rise of online disinformation, I’ve worked to reconcile the power of social media with the legal foundations I’ve studied in law school. Despite its increased prominence, in my experience, the importance of social media has been discounted in elite academic spaces. As such, it was a privilege to be given the opportunity to distill and share my insights on this deeply personal topic with our J-term 1Ls!
Stacey Chuvaieva LL.M. ’22
Favorite HLS class: My favorite HLS class this semester was Constitutional Law with Professor Goldberg. As an IP lawyer, I had very little exposure to Constitutional Law before this spring. After studying law for five years and then practicing for five more, I often feel like nothing can feel absolutely new to me. But U.S. Constitutional Law did surprise me. After finishing my first reading assignment just six hours after coming to the library, I felt so happy being an IP lawyer. That evening, it seemed like everything was so mixed and all lines were so blurred that U.S. Constitutional Law was completely incomprehensible. But in a week, I was seriously considering that were I to make an S.J.D, I would definitely want to do research in the realm of constitutional law.
The other nice thing about this course was that I took it with our amazing LL.M. cohort. It was a uniquely enriching experience to follow our in-class discussions. I was stunned to see how knowledgeable my classmates are and how many perspectives they can bring to the table. Our lectures were full of humor, U.S. history, and backstage stories about Supreme Court justices. All this (combined with perfect après-midi coffee) made this class something I’ll definitely miss after graduation.
***Travis Arbon ’22
Post-graduation plans: Working as an associate at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton in New York City.
Favorite HLS class: My favorite class was Copyright, because it was an excellent exploration of the ways in which the law shapes, informs, and responds to shifts in culture. And taking it while simultaneously working in the Cyberlaw Clinic helped me gain a real appreciation for the practical importance of ideas that might at first seem only theoretical. It was a real “lightbulb” moment to learn something in class and be able to immediately apply it in the Clinic the next day.