Campus Connects Alumni to HLS Experience
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).
Should HLS Stay or Should It Go to Allston?
HLS Should Seek Academic Connections from Current Location
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.
Let's Hope These Are Not Ordinary People
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.
A Refreshing Turn to Journalism
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.
Brown Knew Whereof He Spoke
He was, in contemporary parlance, an impact teacher.
Dean Taught Value of Spartan Education
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").
New and Improved
Tubes Would Be the Ride of Our Lives
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.
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
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.
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