HLS homeNews & EventsAbout the BulletinBack IssuesSend Us Your NewsSearch

 Home Briefs Letters Gallery Class Notes In Memoriam Closing


Campus Connects Alumni to HLS Experience
I sense a certain inevitability about the Allston move, persuasively supported by individuals I respect. Nonetheless, at the risk of sounding sentimental, I believe we must ask ourselves what Harvard Law School means to each of us. Is it a name only or the sum total of our years in a particular setting? What is it we will visit when nothing remains in the place we labored, matured, and shared unique experiences?

I attended SUNY Buffalo, and an entirely new campus was built about 10 miles from where I attended school. This severed any meaningful identification with the institution where we spent our memorable years. One should not discount the deep connection with the physical setting of our Harvard Law experience. I would be saddened visiting the shell of those experiences only to be guided across the river to "state-of-the-art" structures with which I could not identify.

I owe a great deal to Harvard Law School and ultimately will support it in whatever incarnation it may assume. I'm just wondering how many others share my preference (and if it matters).
Joel Levine '66

Should HLS Stay or Should It Go to Allston?
Three words: Go. Go. Go.
Herbert B. Thau '51
Port Charlotte, Fla.

HLS Should Seek Academic Connections from Current Location
Allston has no connection with where the law school is presently. As important, except for the business school, it has no connection with where the rest of the university is presently. Metaphorically, it's on Mars. It's a trek. It's detached. It's remote.

The university's purchase of Allston acreage was in fact very wise and necessary. It is a reserve for future growth and farsighted. But it was not acquired for a specific purpose. At this point, it is land in search of an immediate purpose.

It would make sense to start new academic enterprises there and also advanced scientific research. Museums can be relocated there, as well as a student center for the whole university fed by bus services, administrative offices, athletic facilities, and little-used library holdings.

Harvard Law School is not broke at its present location: Severing both its continuity and its contiguity in one fell stroke will diminish its attractiveness. Indeed, Harvard Law School needs to be two things at once: a professional school teaching law itself, and a graduate school interwoven with the university to continue the broader education that a four-year college only begins and relate it to legal contexts. Few things are less inspiring than a narrow, highly focused technical mind uninformed by the broader currents of our culture and the culture of the world.

It is time to reexamine growth for the sake of growth, facilities for the sake of facilities, technology for the sake of technology, and the doing of something because something is possible. Many things are possible. They are not all desirable. The vision of Allston's possibilities needs to be far more specifically developed than I have seen to make the risk of a wholesale move a prudent one.

Close ties with the many cognate graduate fields, and some undergraduate ones too, need to be developed by the law school in a more formal and structured way than has been the case. This is best done from where the law school presently is, close to the other parts of the university. Think hard on this relocation issue. The example of Brasilia comes forebodingly to mind.
Gordon D. Miller '65
New York City

Let's Hope These Are Not Ordinary People
When I attended HLS, I didn't necessarily think that every Harvard Law School student was a "shining star," but I certainly did not have the impression that my fellow classmates were criminals. Thus, I was dismayed to see the Bulletin's Lewis Rice miss what I found to be the most disturbing aspect of Brush with the Law [Ordinary People], the recently published book coauthored by Robert Byrnes (a Stanford Law graduate) and Jaime Marquart, HLS '98. Throughout their book, the two authors recount not only their views on the elite schools they attended but also a sordid tale of three years or more of ongoing irresponsible and often criminal behavior.

Doing crack cocaine is illegal everywhere in the United States. Gambling away the proceeds of your financial aid is also illegal. The other irresponsible behavior the men recount, while perhaps not rising to the level of being criminal, certainly doesn't bode well for their future ability to handle their clients' trust accounts.

What a sorry state our profession is in when graduates of elite law schools can publish books flaunting ongoing illegal behavior, while those in society who are less privileged do hard time or get deported for the same deeds. And even our alumni magazine apparently respects this behavior, casting Byrnes and Marquart's story merely as one of elite schools versus not-so-elite schools.

That these two individuals were admitted to any law school, graduated from law school, and continue to practice law is disturbing not because they are intellectually ordinary, but rather because they are so unashamed to join the profession of law when they apparently enjoy breaking the law. If these two men represent the "ordinary graduate" of elite law schools, the admissions offices, law school faculty, bar associations, and law firms are doing a very poor job of screening our future "officers of the law." Neither of these men should be working as lawyers--they should be doing time in jail.
Margaret Stock '92
West Point, N.Y.

A Refreshing Turn to Journalism
I want to congratulate you on the Summer 2002 issue of the Harvard Law Bulletin. You have transformed the Bulletin into a genuine journalistic endeavor. The issue was refreshingly balanced in two critical respects. First, you were careful to include articles describing the activities of students from whom we rarely hear: those who are ideologically conservative (e.g., "At Home on the Range"). Second, you were careful to include dissenting viewpoints in the articles describing new developments at the law school (e.g., "School to Institute Pro Bono Requirement"). Indeed, one article conveys in its entirety viewpoints that are rather critical of the law school ("Ordinary People").

At most institutions of higher learning, the alumni publication is little more than a press release for the institution and usually a waste of time to read. I applaud the law school for taking a different approach. Doing so reveals that the law school has a great deal of confidence in itself, which gives me a great deal of confidence in it.
Brian Fitzpatrick '00
Arlington, Va

Brown Knew Whereof He Spoke
Mr. Daniel A. Rezneck's affecting and fitting tribute to Professor Ernest Brown '31 should not go unsupplemented by, surely, one of the most pithy and devastating critiques of a Supreme Court opinion imaginable. When discussing one of the New Deal cases, UNUH, as we, aficionados of his somewhat drawled analytical brilliance, liked to refer to him, remarked: "The Court says that the draftsman could not possibly have intended . . . But that's not right. You see, I was the draftsman."

He was, in contemporary parlance, an impact teacher.
Elliott M. Abramson '63
Coral Gables, Fla.

Dean Taught Value of Spartan Education
The essay by Robert E. Bradney '50 in the Bulletin's Summer 2002 issue concerning Dean Erwin Griswold's class in Federal Taxation brought to mind an experience I had as a student of Dean Griswold's in 1947 in the same course.

As in Mr. Bradney's incident, I, too, was called on by the dean to give my analysis of a case in the assigned reading. I, too, stated I was unprepared, but my experience was somewhat different from Mr. Bradney's. At that time, Law Review editors were required to devote at least 40 hours a week to Law Review work, and there was little time left for class preparation.

Dean Griswold was the faculty adviser to the Law Review and was well aware of the editors' work burdens, but while editors were sometimes spared in class by other professors, the dean seemed to feel obliged to let us know that we had no special privileges.

So, when I stated that I was unprepared, he replied, "I don't understand how that is possible, Mr. Joseph. Did you bring the Internal Revenue Code with you?"

"Yes, sir, dean."

"Good," he stated. "And did you bring your brain, also?"

"Yes, sir," I replied.

"Fine," said the dean. "Then you have all you need to answer the question."

As my subsequent response to the question made clear, the dean had very much underestimated my need. Years later I reminded him of this experience in his class, and he smiled and seemed to recognize and enjoy it.

Those were the days of "Spartan education" at the law school. The purpose was not to make the study of law a "feel-good" experience, but rather to prepare us for the adversarial practice of law. In my career in litigation I faced many judges and opponents who were more difficult, and less well meaning, than Dean Griswold and his faculty colleagues, and my training at the school stood me in good stead. Perhaps the new, friendly, supportive, informal atmosphere at the law school may be necessary for today's generation of students, and perhaps it is even educationally superior to our earlier experience. Nevertheless, the practice of law is still adversarial, and frequently less accommodating and civil than when I entered the Bar. I hope, therefore, that there is still a place in Cambridge for the kind of tough preparation my class received from Dean Griswold, Warren Seavey, and Austin Scott (who, clapping his hands, said in his lively way during a class in Civil Procedure: "That is a wonderful answer, Mr. Joseph, but not to the question I asked you").
Leonard Joseph '44 ('47)
Oyster Bay, N.Y.

New and Improved
Just finished reading your latest issue (Summer 2002) of the Harvard Law Bulletin. Great improvement over past editions in content and appearance. Congratulations!
Ken Orski '56
Potomac, Md.

Tubes Would Be the Ride of Our Lives
I could not help but smile when I read of Frank Davidson's idea of running tubes across the Atlantic, evacuating them, floating trains over rails using magnetic levitation, using induction to accelerate, and using regenerative braking to stop ("Tunnel Vision," Summer 2002). I came up with the same harebrained scheme as a Harvard undergrad but shelved it to do something "useful" with my life. (I now teach at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.)

The idea has even more potential than your article noted. As long as the tunnel follows a great circle path, the only limits on the train's speed will be those imposed by the maximum g forces passengers are asked to tolerate. As the train goes faster, of course, the perceived force of gravity itself declines, so acceleration can increase as speed increases, even within this constraint.

I haven't redone the calculations in the last 30 years. My undergrad calculations, however, suggested that if we limited perceived acceleration to 10 percent of gravity (about what we feel when we step on the gas in a moderately peppy car), accelerated to midpoint, and decelerated the rest of the way, the trip from Boston to New York would take eight minutes. From New York to Los Angeles would be 20 minutes. From anywhere in the world to anywhere else would be a maximum of 40 minutes.

Speed would not be the only advantage. All trips could be from city center to city center (no long taxi rides out to the airport). The system would require substantially less energy per trip than an airplane--and therefore would be substantially cheaper once the initial capital costs were amortized. It would not require use of fossil fuels. It wouldn't deplete the ozone layer. Compared to current alternatives, it wouldn't contribute to global warming. And it wouldn't require paving over vast amounts of land, as both airports and interstates do today.

We haven't had any truly significant advances in transportation technology in the last 50 years. The tubes would revolutionize intercity travel.
Theodore P. Seto '76
Los Angeles

Editor's Note: Mr. Davidson asked us to credit other Harvard Law alumni who, through their association with Technical Studies Inc., played "vital contributory roles" in the initiatives that led to the building of the tunnel under the English Channel: Alfred Davidson '33-'34, John Davidson '30, Lewis Douglas '33, John Ferguson '39, Cyril Means Jr. LL.M. '48, Warren Lee Pierson '22, and Alexander Vagliano '52.

Covey Was a Joy to Behold
Joy Covey wouldn't know me from the proverbial hole-in-the-wall ("Closing," Summer 2002), but one or two brief meetings with Ms. Covey during our mutual time at HLS have remained in my memory. There was some kind of J.D./M.B.A. function in '88 or '89 where students in the dual program talked about why they had made the choice to do both degrees. She and Pam Thomas were two of the most remarkable women in the program. Pam (as related in the Spring 2002 Bulletin) is now Pamela Thomas-Graham, president and CEO of CNBC. One vivid remembrance is onomatopoeia: Joy telling how she had dropped the Law Review tryout package into the garbage, clunk. (Joy couldn't avoid Law Review that easily. She was one of two students "grading on" the next year.)

That '89 tag after Joy's name should really read '89 ('90), because the double degree caused her to graduate one year after her section, along with everyone else in my year (1990). Her comment "It wasn't until we got our first-semester grades back that I started to realize that everything was going to be OK" is pretty amusing for its modesty. Joy was one of the top HLS/HBS graduates in 1990, finishing business school "with highest honors" and law school magna cum laude, an incredibly impressive performance.

Again, Joy Covey won't remember me one iota, but she was one of the most unforgettable women at HLS in those years, and I'm not surprised to read about her later success.
Judy Resnick '90
Far Rockaway, N.Y.

We Want to Hear from You
The Harvard Law Bulletin welcomes letters on its contents. Please write to the Harvard Law Bulletin, 125 Mount Auburn St., Cambridge, MA 02138. Fax comments to (617) 495-3501 or e-mail the Bulletin at bulletin@law.harvard.edu. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

back to top

contents send feedback about this article

 Contact: bulletin@law.harvard.edu - 617.495.3118
 © 2005 The President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved.