Announcements •

Executive Director of the Harvard Law School Library

As you may know, Suzanne Wones, Harvard Law School Library’s Executive Director, has accepted a new position as the Director of Library Digital Strategies and Innovations for the Harvard Library. We are sad to see her go, but excited for her as well and wish her all the best!

With her imminent departure, we are looking for an Executive Director for HLSL and we encourage qualified candidates to consider applying. The successful candidate will be responsible for working closely with the Vice Dean of Library and Information Resources to set service, collection, and budgetary priorities for the library. The Executive Director also directs all of the library’s day-to-day operations, including overseeing departments focused on research services, faculty support, academic technology, collection development, and empirical services. In partnership with the Vice Dean of Library and Information Resources and the Director of the Library Innovation Lab, this individual will also set the agenda for the new design and development projects undertaken by the Library Innovation Lab. This is an exciting position that is perfect for someone who is interested in working on a wide range of projects that have an impact on the HLS faculty, students, and staff as well as the world beyond our campus.

If you think that you would be a strong candidate for this position, you can read more about it in the official job description and apply online. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us for further information.

Faculty Book Talk: Sanford Levinson’s An Argument Open to All: Reading “The Federalist” in the 21st Century, Wed., Dec. 2, at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and panel discussion in celebration of Visiting Professor Sanford Levinson’s recently published book,  An Argument Open to All: Reading “The Federalist” in the 21st Century (Yale U.  Press).

Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at noon.
Harvard Law School Room WCC 2019 Milstein East B/C  (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge

An Argument Open to All


Sanford Levinson, who holds the W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair in Law, joined the University of Texas Law School in 1980. Previously a member of the Department of Politics at Princeton University, he is also a Professor in the Department of Government at the University of Texas. The author of over 350 articles and book reviews in professional and popular journals–and a regular contributor to the popular blog Balkinization–Levinson is also the author of four books: Constitutional Faith (1988, winner of the Scribes Award); Written in Stone: Public Monuments in Changing Societies (1998); Wrestling With Diversity (2003); and, most recently, Our Undemocratic Constitution: Where the Constitution Goes Wrong (and How We the People Can Correct It)(2006); and, most recently, Framed: America’s 51 Constitutions and the Crisis of Governance (2012). Edited or co-edited books include a leading constitutional law casebook, Processes of Constitutional Decisionmaking (5th ed. 2006, with Paul Brest, Jack Balkin, Akhil Amar, and Reva Siegel); Reading Law and Literature: A Hermeneutic Reader (1988, with Steven Mallioux); Responding to Imperfection: The Theory and Practice of Constitutional Amendment (1995); Constitutional Stupidities, Constitutional Tragedies (1998, with William Eskridge); Legal Canons (2000, with Jack Balkin); The Louisiana Purchase and American Expansion (2005, with Batholomew Sparrow); and Torture: A Collection (2004, revised paperback edition, 2006), which includes reflections on the morality, law, and politics of torture from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association in 2010. He has been a visiting faculty member of the Boston University, Georgetown, Harvard, New York University, and Yale law schools in the United States and has taught abroad in programs of law in London; Paris; Jerusalem; Auckland, New Zealand; and Melbourne, Australia.


Jill Lepore



Jill Lepore, David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History and Harvard College Professor


Eric Nelson



Eric Nelson, Robert M. Beren Professor of Government, Harvard University



Adrian Vermeule



Adrian Vermeule, John H. Watson, Jr. Professor of Law, Harvard Law School



More about An Argument Open to All:

“In An Argument Open to All, renowned legal scholar Sanford Levinson takes a novel approach to what is perhaps America’s most famous political tract.  Rather than concern himself with the authors as historical figures, or how The Federalist helps us understand the original intent of the framers of the Constitution, Levinson examines each essay for the political wisdom it can offer us today. In eighty-five short essays, each keyed to a different essay in The Federalist, he considers such questions as whether present generations can rethink their constitutional arrangements; how much effort we should exert to preserve America’s traditional culture; and whether The Federalist’s arguments even suggest the desirability of world government.” — Yale U. Press

“Sanford Levinson has one of the most original minds in the American legal community, and it is on full display in this wonderful new book.”—  Alan Wolfe, Boston College

“Levinson’s brilliant short essays do much more than bring extraordinary insight to one of our most important Founding documents. They show how the questions posed by The Federalist are timeless, global and as compelling today as they were when written.  Levinson gives more relevance to The Federalist than it has had since 1788.   Fascinating and important.”—  Elliot Gerson, The Aspen Institute

“In his new examination of the Federalist Papers, Levinson lays out a powerful case for believing that the Founders, far from thinking government should be constrained, were focused instead on how to give it sufficient power to function effectively. Agree with him or not, Levinson’s is a brilliant and well-constructed brief for rethinking what our Founders were trying to say.”—  Former Congressman Mickey Edwards, author of “The Parties versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats into Americans”

Special Event: Spotlight at Harvard Law School

The HLS Library and Dean of Students Office invite you to attend a panel discussion about the new film Spotlight, which tells the story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the child molestation scandal and cover-up in the local Catholic Archdiocese.

See the movie in theaters, then join us for a lively discussion featuring the screenwriter, a real life attorney featured in the film, and HLS faculty.

Monday, November 23, 7:30pm
WCC 2019 (Milstein West A/B) (directions)
Harvard Law School
1585 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge


Josh Singer, screenwriter and moderator

Mitchell Garabedian, Law Offices of Mitchell Garabedian

Lawrence Lessig, Roy L. Furman Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

Jeannie Suk, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

Jonathan Zittrain, George Bemis Professor of International Law, Harvard Law School

Open to the Harvard Law School community; Harvard ID is required for admission.

spotlight blog

If you or an event participant requires disability-related accommodations, please contact Accessibility Services in the Dean of Students Office, WCC 3039, at, or 617-495-1880 in advance of the event.

Research Week

Next week your HLS librarians are offering a second round of research classes on a variety of topics. Come to one or all!

Criminal Justice Research
Tuesday, November 17, 2015, 4:00pm – 4:45pm
Location: Library conference room 524
Taught by: Michelle Pearse, Senior Research Librarian
Interested in Criminal Justice? Attend a training designed to help you find relevant books, articles, videos and other materials.
Register now

Finding Data
Wednesday, November 18, 2015, 4:00pm – 4:30pm
Location: Library conference room 524
Taught by: Michelle Pearse, Senior Research Librarian
Often find yourself looking for data but don’t know where to start? Join us for a review of strategies and some of the best free and Harvard-licensed sources to get you started.
Register now

International Human Rights Research
Thursday, November 19, 2015, 12:00pm – 12:45pm
Location: Library conference room 524
Taught by: Aslihan Bulut, Librarian For International, Foreign And Comparative Law
Starting your research on international human rights? Come and learn about the top resources to help you get started.
Register now

California Legal Research
Thursday, November 19, 2015, 4:00pm – 4:45pm
Location: Library conference room 524
Taught by: Jennifer Allison, Librarian For International, Foreign And Comparative Law
Headed west this summer or after graduation? Learn about California-specific legal research resources in Westlaw, Lexis, and beyond.
Register now

Very Special Library Event: Cass Sunstein discusses “The World According to Star Wars,” Tue., Dec. 1 at 12:00 noon.

Whether you are pro-Republic or pro-Empire, the Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a discussion by  Professor Cass Sunstein on his forthcoming book, The World According to Star Wars (Harper Collins, 2016).

Tuesday, December 1 at 12:00 noon
Harvard Law School WCC Room 2019 (Milstein West A/B)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge  (Directions)

We will be giving away five free tickets to a 3-D screening on the opening weekend of Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens, December 19.
Festive attire and costumes are welcome.  May the Force be with you!

Star Wars Sunstein poster

Special Event: Jonathan Zittrain Interviews Lawrence Lessig: “What I Learned Running for President:  The Ethics of Citizenship,” Mon., Nov. 23rd at 5 pm

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend an interview of Professor Lawrence Lessig by Professor Jonathan Zittrain entitled, What I Learned Running for President:  The Ethics of Citizenship.  Professor Lessig recently ended his presidential campaign with the release of a YouTube video with the title,  The Democrats have changed the rules This special event also celebrates the 2016 edition of Professor Lessig’s book titled Republic Lost: The Corruption of Equality and the Steps to End It  (Oct. 2015, Grand Central Publishing, Hachette Book Group).

Monday, November 23, 2015 at 5:00 pm followed by a 6:00 pm reception 

Harvard Law School Ames Courtroom, Austin Hall (Directions)

1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge

Co-sponsored by the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University

Lessig poster


Lawrence LessigLawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and was formerly the Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. Prior to rejoining the Harvard faculty, Lessig was a professor at Stanford Law School, where he founded the school’s Center for Internet and Society, and at the University of Chicago. He clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court. Lessig serves on the Board of Creative Commons, MAPLight, Brave New Film Foundation, The American Academy, Berlin, AXA Research Fund and, and is on the advisory board of the Sunlight Foundation. He is a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Association, and has received numerous awards, including the Free Software Foundation’s Freedom Award, Fastcase 50 Award and being named one of Scientific American’s Top 50 Visionaries. Lessig holds a BA in economics and a BS in management from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in philosophy from Cambridge, and a JD from Yale.

Jonathan ZittrainJonathan Zittrain is the George Bemis Professor of International Law at Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Professor of Computer Science at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Director of the Harvard Law School Library, and Faculty Director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society.  His research interests include battles for control of digital property and content, cryptography, electronic privacy, the roles of intermediaries within Internet architecture, human computing, and the useful and unobtrusive deployment of technology in education.

He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Board of Advisors for Scientific American.  He has served as a Trustee of the Internet Society, and as a Forum Fellow of the World Economic Forum, which named him a Young Global Leader, and as Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at the Federal Communications Commission, where he previously chaired the Open Internet Advisory Committee. His book The Future of the Internet — And How to Stop It is available from Yale University Press and Penguin UK — and under a Creative Commons license.

More about Republic Lost: The Corruption of Equality and the Steps to End It

“In an era when special interests funnel huge amounts of money into our government-driven by shifts in campaign-finance rules and brought to new levels by the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission-trust in our government has reached an all-time low. More than ever before, Americans believe that money buys results in Congress, and that business interests wield control over our legislature.

With heartfelt urgency and a keen desire for righting wrongs, Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig takes a clear-eyed look at how we arrived at this crisis: how fundamentally good people, with good intentions, have allowed our democracy to be co-opted by outside interests, and how this exploitation has become entrenched in the system. Rejecting simple labels and reductive logic-and instead using examples that resonate as powerfully on the Right as on the Left-Lessig seeks out the root causes of our situation. He plumbs the issues of campaign financing and corporate lobbying, revealing the human faces and follies that have allowed corruption to take such a foothold in our system. He puts the issues in terms that nonwonks can understand, using real-world analogies and real human stories. And ultimately he calls for widespread mobilization and a new Constitutional Convention, presenting achievable solutions for regaining control of our corrupted-but redeemable-representational system. In this way, Lessig plots a roadmap for returning our republic to its intended greatness.

While America may be divided, Lessig vividly champions the idea that we can succeed if we accept that corruption is our common enemy and that we must find a way to fight against it. In “Republic Lost,” he not only makes this need palpable and clear-he gives us the practical and intellectual tools to do something about it.” — Hachette Book Group

Jump Start Your Research With Our New Tool

The Harvard Law School Library recently launched a new tool to streamline your research. You can now run a single search to find research guides, items from the library’s catalog, responses to frequently asked questions, and databases that are recommended by the HLSL research librarians. If your search doesn’t return any results, you will be offered the opportunity to contact a librarian to get further help with your research. You can see the new tool in action in the video below.

You can find a link to this new tool on the library’s homepage under Research A Topic. We hope this will help to make your research faster and smoother, but if you encounter any issues, please feel free to let us know!

Faculty Book Talk: Cass R. Sunstein’s “Choosing Not to Choose: Understanding the Value of Choice,” Wed., Nov. 18 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invites you to attend a book talk and panel discussion in celebration of Cass R. Sunstein’s recently published book, Choosing Not to Choose:  Understanding the Value of Choice (Oxford University Press).

Wednesday, November 18, 2015 at 12:00 noon, with lunch
Harvard Law School Room WCC 2019 Milstein West A  (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge

sunstein -- choosing not to choose

Cass R. Sunstein is currently the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard. From 2009 to 2012, he was Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. He is the founder and director of the Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy at Harvard Law School. Mr. Sunstein has testified before congressional committees on many subjects, and he has been involved in constitution-making and law reform activities in a number of nations.

Mr. Sunstein is author of many articles and books, including (2001), Risk and Reason (2002), Why Societies Need Dissent (2003), The Second Bill of Rights (2004), Laws of Fear: Beyond the Precautionary Principle (2005), Worst-Case Scenarios (2001), Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness (with Richard H. Thaler, 2008), Simpler: The Future of Government (2013) and most recently Why Nudge? (2014) and Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas (2014). He is now working on group decisionmaking and various projects on the idea of liberty


David Laibson



David Laibson, Robert I. Goldman Professor of Economics, Harvard University



Mark Tushnet




Mark Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law



“Our ability to make choices is fundamental to our sense of ourselves as human beings, and essential to the political values of freedom-protecting nations. Whom we love; where we work; how we spend our time; what we buy; such choices define us in the eyes of ourselves and others, and much blood and ink has been spilt to establish and protect our rights to make them freely.

Choice can also be a burden. Our cognitive capacity to research and make the best decisions is limited, so every active choice comes at a cost. In modern life the requirement to make active choices can often be overwhelming. So, across broad areas of our lives, from health plans to energy suppliers, many of us choose not to choose. By following our default options, we save ourselves the costs of making active choices. By setting those options, governments and corporations dictate the outcomes for when we decide by default. This is among the most significant ways in which they effect social change, yet we are just beginning to understand the power and impact of default rules. Many central questions remain unanswered: When should governments set such defaults, and when should they insist on active choices? How should such defaults be made? What makes some defaults successful while others fail?

Cass R. Sunstein has long been at the forefront of developing public policy and regulation to use government power to encourage people to make better decisions. In this major new book, Choosing Not to Choose, he presents his most complete argument yet for how we should understand the value of choice, and when and how we should enable people to choose not to choose.

The onset of big data gives corporations and governments the power to make ever more sophisticated decisions on our behalf, defaulting us to buy the goods we predictably want, or vote for the parties and policies we predictably support. As consumers we are starting to embrace the benefits this can bring. But should we? What will be the long-term effects of limiting our active choices on our agency? And can such personalized defaults be imported from the marketplace to politics and the law? Confronting the challenging future of data-driven decision-making, Sunstein presents a manifesto for how personalized defaults should be used to enhance, rather than restrict, our freedom and well-being.” — Oxford University Press

Recent Reviews:  

“This book will profoundly alter the way you think about choices; the choices you make for yourself, the choices you make for others and the choices you allow others to make for you. With talent and ease Sunstein draws from politics, psychology, economics to help us understand ourselves and the world we live in, and how we may improve both. A delightful, thought provoking, read.” — Tali Sharot, Associate Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College, London

“From health care, education, and privacy, to travel, food, and finance, we face increasing arrays of choices. Occasionally, we have the knowledge and the bandwidth to choose well. Often, we do not. When are choices liberating, and bound to improve well-being? And when is it better not to choose? Should we worry about paternalism when others choose for us? And when we prefer not to choose, might it be paternalistic to require that we do so? Sunstein masterfully blends economic, legal, philosophical, and behavioral considerations to illuminate a topic of tremendous importance to policy making and to everyday life. Anyone who cares about the choices that they make should choose to read this book!” — Eldar Shafir, Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs, Princeton University

“There is no-one better placed than Cass Sunstein to make the case for Choosing Not to Choose. Drawing on the author’s own influential research and that of other experts, this book provides a deeply insightful exploration of both the value of choice and of not choosing. It is a must read for anyone interested in personal freedom and human wellbeing.” — Paul Dolan, Professor of Behavioral Science, The London School of Economics and Political Science

“In Choosing Not to Choose, Cass Sunstein provides the best analysis to date of the pros and cons of decision by default, making a strong case for personalized default rules in many domains. Readers will particularly appreciate the near-encyclopedic survey of empirical findings to help them identify the arenas of social life in which they will be better off or worse off by delegating decisions.” — Jon Elster, Robert K. Merton Professor of Social Science, Columbia University

“This monumental volume is the authoritative source on the subject. As anthropogenic climate change puts a deeper stamp on the planet, this book’s significance is certain to rise.” –– Jim Chen, Jurisdynamics Blog

Faculty Book Talk: Mark Tushnet’s “Unstable Constitutionalism: Law and Politics in South Asia,” Mon., Nov. 16 at 4 pm

The Harvard Law School Library staff invites you to attend a book talk and panel discussion in celebration of Mark Tushnet’s recently published book with co-editor Madhav Khosla, Unstable Constitutionalism: Law and Politics in South Asia (Cambridge University Press).

Monday, November 16, 2015 at 4:00 pm
Harvard Law School Room WCC 2009
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge  (Directions)

Refreshments will be served.  Co-sponsored with the South Asia Institute at Harvard University.

Tushnet -- Unstable Constitutionalism


Mark Tushnet is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.  He graduated from Harvard College and Yale Law School and served as a law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall.  His research includes studies examining (skeptically) the practice of judicial review in the United States and around the world. He also writes in the area of legal and particularly constitutional history, with works on the development of civil rights law in the United States and (currently) a long-term project on the history of the Supreme Court in the 1930s.  His important works in the field of comparative constitutional law include Advanced Introduction to Comparative Constitutional Law (2014), The Routledge Handbook of Constitutional Law (co-edited, 2012) and the leading handbook, Weak Courts, Strong Rights: Judicial Review and Social Welfare Rights in Comparative Constitutional Law (2009).

Madhav Khosla is currently a PhD candidate at the Department of Government at Harvard University. He is the author of The Indian Constitution (2012) and is currently co-editing the Oxford Handbook of Indian Constitutional Law.


Rohit De -- Yale



Rohit De, Assistant Professor, Department of History, Yale University and Research Scholar in Law, Yale Law School


Nichcolas Robinson -- Harvard




Nicholas Robinson, Resident Fellow, Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession


“Although the field of constitutional law has become increasingly comparative in recent years, its geographic focus has remained limited. South Asia, despite being the site of the world’s largest democracy and a vibrant if turbulent constitutionalism, is one of the important neglected regions within the field. This book remedies this lack of attention by providing a detailed examination of constitutional law and practice in five South Asian countries: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Identifying a common theme of volatile change, it develops the concept of “unstable constitutionalism,” studying the sources of instability alongside reactions and responses to it. By highlighting unique theoretical and practical questions in an underrepresented region, Unstable Constitutionalism constitutes an important step toward truly global constitutional scholarship.” — Cambridge University Press

Free the Law – Overview

Project Summary

Problem: Our common law is not freely accessible online. This lack of access to the law impairs justice and equality and stifles innovation.

Goal: Transform the official print versions of all historical U.S. court decisions into digital files made freely accessible online. Encourage and assist federal and state courts in making all prospective court decisions freely accessible online.


  • All official reported decisions of the federal courts
  • All official reported decisions of the courts of every state
  • All territorial and pre-statehood decisions in HLSL’s collection
  • Estimated 43,000 volumes and 40MM pages


  1. Get the books from HLSL or Harvard Depository
  2. Scan the books using a high-speed scanner (~450K pages per week)
  3. Preserve the books in long-term underground storage
  4. Convert the scanned images into machine-readable text files
  5. Extract the individual cases into individual text files
  6. Redact headnotes and other editorial content
  7. Make the redacted images and text files freely accessible online

Projected Timeline:

  • 2015: Ramp up digitization production
  • 2016 (projected): digitize 25MM-30MM pp → publish CA, NY, MA, IL, TX, Federal
  • 2017 (projected): digitize remaining 10MM-15MM pp → publish everything

Harvard – Ravel Agreement – Key Terms


  • Ravel pays total costs of digitization

Digitization Responsibilities:

  • Harvard responsible for scanning books
  • Ravel (via vendor) responsible for converting scanned images to text files

Data Ownership and License:

  • Harvard owns the resulting data
  • Ravel gets a temporary exclusive license to commercially exploit redacted files
    • Maximum duration of exclusive commercial license is 8 years
    • Early expiration of exclusive commercial license if:
      • Ravel does not meet its obligations
      • a given jurisdiction publishes its future court decisions online in an acceptable format. Illinois and Arkansas have already satisfied this condition.

Data Access Rights and Obligations:

  • Harvard
    • Harvard may provide anyone with public access to the redacted files, subject to a bulk access limitation
    • Harvard may provide Harvard community members and outside research scholars with free bulk access to the entire dataset, provided they accept contractual prohibitions on redistribution
  • Ravel
    • Ravel will provide ongoing free public access to the redacted files, subject to a bulk access limitation
    • Ravel will provide developers ongoing API access to the redacted files
      • Free access for non-profit developers
      • Paid access for for-profit developers

Other Notable Terms:

  • Harvard has a 4% equity interest in Ravel, with any proceeds going to a sustainability fund to support the project.
  • Should Ravel stop offering public access, Harvard will be able to do so with the necessary Ravel software.