Last month, to coincide with Harvard Law’s bicentennial, I published and distributed a report: Our Bicentennial Crisis: A Call to Action for Harvard Law School’s Public Interest Mission.
It aims to document: first, the crisis of mass exclusion from legal power for the average American (in the criminal justice, civil justice and political systems); second, Harvard Law’s failure to address this crisis, and the inaccurate excuses our school community tends to give for not addressing it; third, what accounts for this civic deficit; and fourth, twelve reform proposals that aim to help us better live up to our mission.
Judge Learned Hand, of the Harvard Law School Class of 1896, once said: “If we are to keep our democracy, there must be one commandment: thou shalt not ration justice.” When we celebrate our third century a hundred years from now, it is my fervent hope that they say of our generation of Harvard Law School students, faculty, staff and alumni: “they helped keep our democracy.” If this is to be the case, it will be because of reformers in our community who put in the work in the coming decades to better align our school with its public interest mission. I hope this report is a useful tool for their efforts. Let’s get to work.
Here are relevant links regarding the report:
- Executive summary in The Harvard Law Record: http://hlrecord.org/2017/10/our-bicentennial-crisis-a-call-to-action-for-harvard-law-schools-public-interest-mission/
- Full draft of the report: http://hlrecord.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/OurBicentennialCrisis.pdf
- Ralph Nader editorial on the report: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/why-harvard-law-school-matters-a-new-critique_us_59f37200e4b05f0ade1b56e7