Announcements •

Archiving Student Action at HLS

Historical & Special Collections requests records from Student Organizations

Over the past few months, students have worked to reshape Harvard Law School’s educational and cultural environment, as you have done throughout HLS’s history. As we all know, the work isn’t happening in a vacuum, but is part of a larger national movement to address cultural changes on campuses across the U.S. Thus issues being discussed at HLS are evidence of not only an historical moment at Harvard, but an historical moment in America.


Harvard Law Record, May 4, 1984

Harvard Law Record, vol. 78, no. 10 (May 4, 1984). © Harvard Law Record Corp.

When activity first began on campus, the Historical & Special Collections (HSC) staff thought deeply about what our role in this moment could and should be. HSC has always documented the history of HLS by collecting Law School publications (catalogs, admission packets, etc.) and faculty and student organization papers. But what we collect and how we collect it is rapidly changing. Gone are the days of paper as a primary format; now we archive hybrid collections containing physical material accompanied by digital files, websites, and email. Because the life expectancy for digital content is incredibly low and its variability high, documenting activity as it occurs is becoming an increasingly important method for archives to avoid losing important cultural and institutional memory.

So, we got to work. We started capturing blogs such as Reclaim Harvard Law, the Record’s HLS Untaped series, and Royall Asses using HLS library-grown technology We recently archived the post-its shared on faculty portraits and the posters displayed in Wasserstein.  These otherwise ephemeral items that are such a powerful visual part of the movement will now be catalogued and made openly available to researchers well into the future.

01_22_16_post-it removal-3

HSC Assistant Jane Kelly prepares post-its for future research use. Photo by Lorin Granger

Now we’re asking students to help us expand these collections. Your voices are important, and we are committed to adding them to the historical record. Documents such as meeting records, flyers, photos, videos, emails, and Google Drive or DropBox collections are the raw material that researchers (writers, historians, documentarians, genealogists, legal scholars, and future students) will use to portray and contextualize this moment.

So as you, HLS students, prepare to mark the world by “contribut[ing] to the advancement of justice and the well being of society,” won’t you also be a part of our record here? If you are a member of a student organization, formal or informal, that would like to preserve the record of your organization’s contributions to HLS (or would just like to talk about what we are doing), please contact the Historical & Special Collections staff at to schedule a consultation. We hope to hear from you, and we’re excited to broaden our collections to include the very important work that HLS students do outside of the classroom.

HSC’s work isn’t happening in a vacuum, either! This initiative has been largely inspired by Princeton’s ASAP project and other archivists’ efforts in response to campus activity across the US.

Faculty Book Talk: Catherine J. Ross, Lessons in Censorship: How Schools and Courts Subvert Students’ First Amendment Rights, Tue. Feb. 16, at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and panel discussion in celebration of Harvard Graduate School of Education Visiting Scholar Catherine J. Ross recently published book, Lessons in Censorship: How Schools and Courts Subvert Students’ First Amendment Rights (Harvard Univ. Press).

Best book on the First Amendment of 2015”  — First Amendment News, Concurring Opinions

Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at noon
Harvard Law School Room WCC 2019 Milstein West A/B  (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge

Catherine Ross Book Talk Poster











Catherine J. Ross is Professor of Law at The George Washington University Law School. She specializes in constitutional law (with particular emphasis on the First Amendment), family law, and legal and policy issues concerning children.  Professor Ross has been a co-author of Contemporary Family Law (Thomson/West) through the Fourth Edition published in 2015.

During 2015-2016, Professor Ross is a Visiting Scholar at the Harvard School of Education. She was a Member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton from 2008-2009. Professor Ross has taught as a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Boston College (where she held joint appointments in the School of Education and the History Department) and St. John’s School of Law in New York.

An elected Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, Professor Ross is former chair of the ABA’s Steering Committee on the Unmet Legal Needs of Children, former chair of the Section on Law and Communitarianism of the Association of American Law Schools, and has served on a wide variety of ABA committees. She serves on the editorial board of the Family Courts Review, and is a former editorial board member of the Family Law Quarterly.

Prior to entering legal academia, Professor Ross was a litigator at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York, where she won major impact litigation on behalf of the city’s homeless population. Before attending Yale Law School, Professor Ross was on the faculty of the Yale Child Study Center, and the Bush Center on Child Development and Social Policy at Yale.


Michael Gregory



Michael Gregory, Clinical Professor of Law, Harvard Law School



Paul Horwitz


Paul Horwitz, Visiting Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, Gordon Rosen Professor of Law at the University of Alabama School of Law



Mark Tushnet



Mark Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Harvard Law School


More about Lessons in Censorship: How Schools and Courts Subvert Students’ First Amendment Rights:

“American public schools often censor controversial student speech that the Constitution protects. Lessons in Censorship brings clarity to a bewildering array of court rulings that define the speech rights of young citizens in the school setting. Catherine J. Ross examines disputes that have erupted in our schools and courts over the civil rights movement, war and peace, rights for LGBTs, abortion, immigration, evangelical proselytizing, and the Confederate flag. She argues that the failure of schools to respect civil liberties betrays their educational mission and threatens democracy.

From the 1940s through the Warren years, the Supreme Court celebrated free expression and emphasized the role of schools in cultivating liberty. But the Burger, Rehnquist, and Roberts courts retreated from that vision, curtailing certain categories of student speech in the name of order and authority. Drawing on hundreds of lower court decisions, Ross shows how some judges either misunderstand the law or decline to rein in censorship that is clearly unconstitutional, and she powerfully demonstrates the continuing vitality of the Supreme Court’s initial affirmation of students’ expressive rights. Placing these battles in their social and historical context, Ross introduces us to the young protesters, journalists, and artists at the center of these stories.

Lessons in Censorship highlights the troubling and growing tendency of schools to clamp down on off-campus speech such as texting and sexting and reveals how well-intentioned measures to counter verbal bullying and hate speech may impinge on free speech. Throughout, Ross proposes ways to protect free expression without disrupting education.” — Harvard Univ. Press

It is a revealing book about judicially sanctioned censorship… Well-argued and well-researched… Turn the pages of Lessons in Censorship and you will discover what it means for students to think freely and how courts have fashioned baseless arguments designed to squelch such thinking… Lessons in Censorship is a book that should be read and discussed by school officials at all levels of education. It is a work that should be pored over by school board officials and lawyers who represent school districts and college campuses. And its message should carry over into the memoranda and briefs that lawyers file to inform judges.—Ronald K. L. Collins, Concurring Opinions

Immensely informative… Ross also demonstrates that many school administrators have censored student speech, even in instances when they could not point to any tangible risk of disruption… As Ross illustrates, striking the right balance between order and free speech will not be easy. But action is urgently needed.—Glenn Altschuler, The Conversation

We teach our children to celebrate freedom of speech but what freedom do they have when their schools too often punish them for exercising it? Catherine Ross’s powerful and lucid exposé of the increasingly routine censorship of student speech is well worth our attention and concern.—Floyd Abrams, Cahill Gordon & Reindel, LLP

A magnificent book. Catherine Ross has given us a beautifully written and original contribution to our understanding of the nexus of constitutional law, lower courts, and everyday life in our public schools. She persuasively demonstrates that schools and judges too often teach ‘lessons in censorship’ that threaten the First Amendment and our vital culture of democracy.—Erwin Chemerinsky, University of California, Irvine School of Law

Bloomberg BNA Write-on Competition 2016

Bloomberg BNA’s annual write-on competition is on!

Pick a topic impacting the legal landscape and write a brief article (1,000-1,600 words) examining the issue in a relevant, impactful way. Ten winners will be chosen to have their articles published in a national Bloomberg BNA Law Report and receive $2,500.

For more details, visit Bloomberg BNA. Submit your entry by February 17.

Work in the Main Reading Room, January 7, 2016

Work will take place in the main Reading Room on Thursday, January 7, 2016, between 8am and 5pm. We will try to keep disturbances to a minimum. However, there may be occasional noise disruption and staff will need access to many of the study carrels on the south side of the room. Signs will be posted on the corresponding carrels. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.

852 RARE: Open for Research: The Records of the Community Legal Assistance Office

Historical & Special Collections is pleased to announce the opening of a new modern manuscript collection for research — the Records of the Community Legal Assistance Office.

In October 1966, Harvard Law School opened a neighborhood law office in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Community Legal Assistance Office (CLAO), with John M. Ferren (HLS ’62) serving as Director. The mission blended service and education providing:

  • clinical legal services to indigent and low-income Cambridge residents;
  • legal education for the poor and underrepresented minorities;
  • contributions to law reform in the areas of housing, community-based municipal government, and civil rights.

CLAO also played a role to the expansion of clinical legal education at the Law School, and promoted curricular and extra-curricular training opportunities for Harvard Law School students in the fields of poverty law and clinical legal services.



Flyer produced by the Community Legal Assistance Office listing services offered. The Records for the Community Legal Assistance Office, Box 6, folder 1, Historical & Special Collections, Harvard Law School Library.

Financial support came in the form of a grant from the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), the agency that, following the approval of the Economic Opportunity Act (1964) by the United States Congress, became responsible for administering the local application of President Johnson’s Great Society legislation. Harvard Law School contributed an additional 10 percent, in order to permit representation of criminal defendants that would be otherwise have been prohibited under the terms of the OEO federal grant. The ability to represent both civil and criminal defendants distinguished CLAO from other OEO-funded neighborhood law offices, which provided legal assistance only for civil issues.

Working out of their office at the corner of Windsor and Broadway CLAO was heavily involved in the Cambridge community assisting with, for example, the drafting of the Cambridge Model Cities Program, which was another OEO funded program for urban renewal, housing and building projects. Additionally, in 1968, Governor of Massachusetts John A. Volpe signed two bills presented by CLAO with reference to housing, tenant rights, and leases. And in 1969 CLAO obtained the release of a young marine by order of the Federal Court on a petition for writ of habeas corpus, after the Marine Corps had rejected his request for a hardship discharge. The opinion established a new precedent by expanding the scope of review of such Marine Corps decisions.

In 1971, CLAO merged with the other OEO-funded neighborhood law office in Cambridge, the Cambridge Legal Services (CLS), which had opened in 1967, in order to form the Cambridge and Somerville Legal Services (CASLS), which is still in existence.

The Records of the  Community Legal Assistance Office is open to all researchers. Anyone interested in using the collection should contact Historical & Special Collections to schedule an appointment.

Posted on behalf of Lidia Santarelli by Edwin Moloy.

Work in the Main Reading Room, December 21, 2015

Over winter break portions of the main Reading Room will be painted. Preparations for this project will take place Monday, December 21, 2015, from 8am to 5pm. We will work to keep disturbances to a minimum. However, there may be occasional noise disruption and staff will need access to several of the study carrels. Signs will be posted on the corresponding carrels. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.

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