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This semester, Harvard Law School launched the Law and History program of study, which is headed by two faculty leaders: Professor Tomiko Brown-Nagin, who is also a Professor of History in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Professor Kenneth Mack. In a Q&A, Brown-Nagin discusses the origins and goals of the new program of study as well as her own scholarship.
It’s a common refrain that immigrants taking the U.S. citizenship test know more about the workings of the federal government than the average holder of a U.S. birth certificate. A group of experts dedicated to grappling with the themes outlined in the Constitution gathered Monday at Harvard Law School (HLS) to explore that disturbing trend and the importance of civics.
When Elizabeth Bartholet ‘65 and Jessica Budnitz ‘01founded the Child Advocacy Program at Harvard Law School over eight years ago, they intended the program to serve as a model for other law schools. They intended the program to educate law students about the importance of working across traditional disciplinary lines. But they did not expect their ideas to transcend those boundaries by inspiring action within another discipline, namely journalism.
Since the first meeting of the seminar taught by David Barron ’94 of Harvard Law School and Archon Fung of Harvard Kennedy School, students had been using case studies co-authored by the two professors that put them in the situation room with advisers on real-world problems at the intersection of law and policy. But during a session of Public Problems Advice, Strategy and Analysis in November a player in the case they were discussing sat at the table with them: Josh Stein. J.D. /M.P.P. ’95, North Carolina state senator and Democratic minority whip, who had first-hand experience with an innovative but contentious piece of legislation: The North Carolina Justice Act.
History is bursting with examples of design leadership—from 12th-century treatise writers to the framers of the Constitution. Institutional design, legal architecture, the procedures and processes of social justice—all are structures that matter enormously.
Does legal training prepare one for the presidency? The question is quite difficult to answer, given the very different training most lawyers received in the 19th century. The vast majority of 19th-century lawyers studied for admission to the bar on their own, or under the guidance of a mentor, or as an apprentice to a practicing lawyer.
Based on a workshop taught at Harvard Law School for the first time last spring by Professor Jonathan Zittrain ’95 and John Palfrey ’01, Information Law and Policy: Advanced Problem Solving Workshop (taught this fall by Visiting Professor Susan Crawford) presents students with several case studies and asks them to complete team exercises, which include conducting negotiations, writing legal briefs, and drafting policies and legislation.
Last summer, Professor Robert Mnookin ’68, an expert in the field of conflict resolution and negotiation, found himself wanting to know more about U.S.-Cuba relations. “I had an idea that there was a very interesting set of questions related to when, how and whether the two countries would ever negotiate a reconciliation,” he says. He decided to investigate by teaching a reading group—a small, 1-credit class with no exams or graded papers, where 2Ls and 3Ls are able to dig deeply into a given topic in a way that provokes extended discussion among the group. “I am not an expert on Cuba; I’m an expert on negotiation, and what a reading group allowed me to do is learn with the students about an area I didn’t know much about,” he says.
Last fall the Harvard Law School opened its newest building, 250,000 square feet aimed at bringing faculty and students closer. Its design, developed in close collaboration with HLS community residents and neighbors and realized by the architectural firm Robert A.M. Stern Architects, grew out of a strategic plan crafted in 2000, with the primary goal of improving the overall student experience.
Professor William Rubenstein ’86, the Sidley Austin Professor of Law, is this year's winner of the prestigious Albert M. Sacks-Paul A. Freund Award for Teaching Excellence, an honor bestowed each spring by the Harvard Law School graduating class. The award recognizes teaching ability, attentiveness to student concerns and general contributions to student life at the law school.
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