Announcements •

Faculty Book Talk: I. Glenn Cohen’s, Identified Versus Statistical Lives, Wednesday, March 11 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invites you to attend a book talk and panel discussion in celebration of  Professor I. Glenn Cohen’s recently published book with co-editors Norman Daniels and Nir Eyal, Identified Versus Statistical Lives:  An Interdisciplinary Perspective.

Free download of the introduction from SSRN!

Wednesday March 11, 2015, 12:00 noon.

Harvard Law School, Room WCC 2012. (Directions).

Sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library.

Lunch will be served.  

Four copies of the book will be given away during this book talk.

I. Glenn Cohen is Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and Director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics. He is one of the world’s leading experts on the intersection of bioethics (or medical ethics), and the law, as well as health law. He also teaches civil procedure. Prior to becoming a professor, he served as a law clerk to Judge Michael Boudin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and as a lawyer for U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, Appellate Staff, where he handled litigation in the Courts of Appeals and in the U.S. Supreme Court. He was selected as a Radcliffe Institute Fellow (2012-2013) and by the Greenwall Foundation to receive a Faculty Scholar Award in Bioethics. He also leads the Ethics and Law initiative as part of the multi-million dollar NIH funded Harvard Catalyst for The Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center program. Professor Cohen is the author of more than 60 articles and chapters, and his award-winning work has appeared in leading legal law review journals including: Stanford, Cornell, and Southern California; medical journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, and JAMA; bioethics journals including the American Journal of Bioethics, the Hastings Center Report; and for public health, the American Journal of Public Health. He is the editor of The Globalization of Health Care: Legal and Ethical Issues (Oxford University Press, 2013).

Identified Versus Statistical Lives  Poster

“On August 5, 2010, a cave-in left thirty-three Chilean miners trapped underground. The Chilean government embarked on a massive rescue effort that is estimated to have cost between ten and twenty million dollars.  There is a puzzle here. Many mine safety measures that would have been more cost effective had not been taken in Chile earlier, either by the mining companies, the Chilean government or by international donors. The Chilean story illustrates a persistent puzzle: the identified lives effect. Human beings show a greater inclination to assist persons and groups identified as those at high risk of great harm than to assist persons and groups who will suffer — or already suffer — similar harm but are not identified as yet. The problem touches almost every aspect of human life and politics: health, the environment, the law.  What can social and cognitive sciences teach us about the origin and triggers of the effect? Philosophically and ethically, is the effect a “bias” to be eliminated or is it morally justified? What implications does the effect have for health care, law, the environment and other practice domains?  This volume is the first book to tackle the effect from all necessary perspectives: psychology, public health, law, ethics, and public policy.”  — Oxford University Press

Book talk panelists include:

Norman Daniels

 

 

Professor Norman Daniels is Mary B. Saltonstall Professor of Population Ethics and Professor of Ethics and Population Health, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health.

Nir EyalProfessor Nir Eyal is Associate Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine (Bioethics) at the Harvard Medical School. He is also appointed at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health Department of Global Health and Population, and at the Harvard University Program in Ethics and Health.

 

 

Coming soon: a new roof for Langdell Hall!

IMG_7059Close observers may have noticed the scaffolding and yellow clips around the top of Langdell Hall. We’re excited to share the news that the reason for them is that the Library is planning for a new acquisition this summer in the form of a new roof for Langdell Hall. We’re very much looking forward to having a fresh covering to keep both our collection and our patrons well protected.

Construction will begin right after Commencement and is projected to finish around Thanksgiving. As you might guess, there will be some noise disruption involved with this project. As we get closer to the start of the project, we’ll post additional information about noise mitigation measures.

Faculty Book Talk: Lani Guinier’s The Tyranny of the Meritocracy: Democratizing Higher Education in America, Wed. Feb. 25 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invites you to attend a book talk and panel discussion in celebration of  Professor Lani Guinier’s recently published book, The Tyranny of the Meritocracy:  Democratizing Higher Education in America. 

Wednesday February 25, 2015, 12:00 noon.

Harvard Law School, Room WCC 2012. (Directions).

Sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library.

Lunch will be served.

Professor Guinier is the Bennett Boskey Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. She became the first woman of color appointed to a tenured professorship at the Harvard Law School. Before her Harvard appointment, she was a tenured professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School where she had been on the faculty for ten years. Professor Guinier worked in the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice and then headed the voting rights project at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in the 1980s. Professor Guinier has published many scholarly articles and books that are accessible to a more general audience, including The Tyranny of the Majority (1994); Becoming Gentlemen: Women, Law School and Institutional Change (1997) (with co-authors Michelle Fine and Jane Balin); Lift Every Voice: Turning a Civil Rights Setback into a New Vision of Social Justice (1998); The Miner’s Canary: Enlisting Race, Resisting Power, Transforming Democracy (2002) (co-authored with Gerald Torres).  In her scholarly writings and in op-ed pieces, she has addressed issues of race, gender, and democratic decision-making, and sought new ways of approaching questions like affirmative action while calling for candid public discourse on these topics. Professor Guinier’s leadership on these important issues has been recognized with many awards and by ten honorary degrees, including from Smith College, Spelman College, Swarthmore College and the University of the District of Columbia. Her excellence in teaching was honored by the 1994 Harvey Levin Teaching Award from the graduating class at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the 2002 Sacks-Freund Award for Teaching Excellence from Harvard Law School.

poster Lani Guinier book talk

“Standing on the foundations of America’s promise of equal opportunity, our universities purport to serve as engines of social mobility and practitioners of democracy. But as acclaimed scholar and pioneering civil rights advocate Lani Guinier argues, the merit systems that dictate the admissions practices of these institutions are functioning to select and privilege elite individuals rather than create learning communities geared to advance democratic societies. Having studied and taught at schools such as Harvard University, Yale Law School, and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Guinier has spent years examining the experiences of ethnic minorities and of women at the nation’s top institutions of higher education, and here she lays bare the practices that impede the stated missions of these schools.

Goaded on by a contemporary culture that establishes value through ranking and sorting, universities assess applicants using the vocabulary of private, highly individualized merit. As a result of private merit standards and ever-increasing tuitions, our colleges and universities increasingly are failing in their mission to provide educational opportunity and to prepare students for productive and engaged citizenship.

To reclaim higher education as a cornerstone of democracy, Guinier argues that institutions of higher learning must focus on admitting and educating a class of students who will be critical thinkers, active citizens, and publicly spirited leaders. Guinier presents a plan for considering “democratic merit,” a system that measures the success of higher education not by the personal qualities of the students who enter but by the work and service performed by the graduates who leave.

Guinier goes on to offer vivid examples of communities that have developed effective learning strategies based not on an individual’s “merit” but on the collaborative strength of a group, learning and working together, supporting members, and evolving into powerful collectives. Examples are taken from across the country and include a wide range of approaches, each innovative and effective. Guinier argues for reformation, not only of the very premises of admissions practices but of the shape of higher education itself.” – Beacon Press

 

“This little book is an answer to the big question ‘Why is our so-called meritocracy so blatantly unfair?’ With characteristic brilliance and insight, Lani Guinier not only answers the big question but points the way toward a more just and inclusive conception of education in a democratic society.  Her transformative vision offers a hopeful alternative to our modern ‘testocracy,’ which values standardized test scores (which measure little more than access to privilege) over the values and qualities that will contribute to a genuinely thriving, collaborative democracy.  Tyranny of the Meritocracy is a must-read for all those who have guessed, but could not prove, that our hypercompetitive approach to higher education—which rewards those with the most wealth and privilege and blames the rest for their plight—not only makes a mockery of the term ‘meritocracy’ but endangers our democracy.”
–Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow
 
“A visitor from Mars might wonder why—in assigning opportunity to individuals and status to higher education institutions—we  rely so heavily on a highly imperfect operationalization of merit—the standardized test—or at least why there is so little debate about this practice. In this compelling, beautifully written book, Lani Guinier, one of our nation’s greatest legal minds, launches this debate anew. Hear! Hear!”
–Claude Steele, executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of California–Berkeley

“Lani Guinier has written a new book that digs deep into the issue of meritocracy . . . a very powerful report on how we are to look at meritocracy and think about it in the twenty-first century. This book has something for every generation:  students, professors, and business leaders.  I recommend it with great enthusiasm. Read it and learn, but also be one who looks very carefully at the issue of meritocracy and what it means today.”
–Charles J. Ogletree Jr., author of The Presumption of Guilt and All Deliberate Speed

“What I know is this:  we used to advertise for errand boys of ‘good German descent’ and we no longer do.  We don’t because we now know that merit lies not in ethnic descent but in other places—in the ideas we have, in the work we do.  It is quite clear than in another fifty years today’s systems of judging merit will seem to a new generation to be similar to our view of asking for a good German boy.  Lani Guinier, America’s leading civil rights theorist, makes us question the notion of merit today so that we may achieve our own aspirations of an enlightened citizenry.”
–Mahzarin R. Banaji, coauthor of Blind Spot: Hidden Biases of Good People

Israeli Supreme Court Decisions

English-language translations of opinions from the Israeli Supreme Court are popular with many legal researchers. The Harvard Law School Library has a quick guide on options for finding these at http://guides.library.harvard.edu/IsraeliSupremeCourt.

A new database of translated Israeli Supreme Court decisions, VERSA: Opinions of the Supreme Court of Israel, has recently been launched by Cardozo Law School.  This database provides free online access to “hundreds of translated cases.”  Cardozo’s Israeli Supreme Court Project (ISCP) will continue to provide additional translated opinions to the database.  VERSA also includes information about ISCP research projects and events.

VERSA

German Corporate Law: New Bilingual Resource

One of the law library’s newest bilingual acquisitions is Standardvertragsmuster zum Handels- und Gesellschaftsrecht: Deutsch-Englisch (German-English Standard Forms and Agreements in Company and Commercial Law), by Dr. Dieter Stummel.  It is available in print in the law library under the call number KK2052.2 .S78 2015.

The 2015 5th edition includes many examples of documents that modern companies need to conduct their business under Germany’s corporate laws. These include registration applications, distribution and licensing agreements, corporate agreements and documents, sales and purchase agreements, real estate agreements, loan agreements, and employment agreements.  It also includes a selection of sample arbitration clauses.

The book uses a dual-column format, with the German text in the left column and its corresponding English text directly next to it in the right column:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This helpful dual-column format can also be found in some online language sources.  A great example of this is the Linguee online legal dictionary.  This source, which is available for German and more than 20 other languages,  is especially helpful if you are trying to understand a legal term in a particular context.  When you search for a term, the results list includes excerpts from legal and other texts that include the term you entered.  A translation is provided for each excerpt directly in the corresponding column position.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out the law library’s German Law Research Guide for more information about researching the German law.

Faculty Book Talk: Cass Sunstein’s Wiser: Going Beyond Groupthink to Make Better Decisions, Wed. Feb. 11 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invites you to attend a book talk and panel discussion in celebration of  Professor Cass Sunstein’s recently published book with Reid Hastie, Wiser: Going Beyond Groupthink to Make Better Decisions, Wednesday February 11, 2015, 12:00 noon.

Harvard Law School, Room WCC 2012. (Directions).

Sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library.

Lunch will be served.

Professor 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 Republic.com (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).

Sunstein book talk poster

“Why are group decisions so hard? Since the beginning of human history, people have made decisions in groups–first in families and villages, and now as part of companies, governments, school boards, religious organizations, or any one of countless other groups. And having more than one person to help decide is good because the group benefits from the collective knowledge of all of its members, and this results in better decisions. Right? Back to reality. We’ve all been involved in group decisions–and they’re hard. And they often turn out badly. Why? Many blame bad decisions on “groupthink” without a clear idea of what that term really means. Now, “Nudge” coauthor Cass Sunstein and leading decision-making scholar Reid Hastie shed light on the specifics of why and how group decisions go wrong–and offer tactics and lessons to help leaders avoid the pitfalls and reach better outcomes. In the first part of the book, they explain in clear and fascinating detail the distinct problems groups run into: They often amplify, rather than correct, individual errors in judgment; They fall victim to cascade effects, as members follow what others say or do; They become polarized, adopting more extreme positions than the ones they began with; They emphasize what everybody knows instead of focusing on critical information that only a few people know. In the second part of the book, the authors turn to straightforward methods and advice for making groups smarter. These approaches include silencing the leader so that the views of other group members can surface, rethinking rewards and incentives to encourage people to reveal their own knowledge, thoughtfully assigning roles that are aligned with people’s unique strengths, and more. With examples from a range of organizations–from Google to the CIA–and written in an engaging and witty style, “Wiser” will not only enlighten you; it will help your team and your organization make better decisions–decisions that lead to greater success.” —  Harvard Business Review Press

Book talk panelists include:

Martha Minow

 

 

 

Dean Martha Minow, Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

 

Screen Shot 2015-01-09 at 12.49.54 PM

 

 

Professor Max H. BazermanJesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

 

Louis Kaplow

 

 

 

Professor Louis KaplowFinn M. W. Caspersen and Household International Professor of Law and Economics

 

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Lawrence Summers, Secretary of the Treasury under President Clinton; Director of the National Economic Council under President Obama—

“No man is an island, and all important decisions are made collectively. This important book shows how they can be made better and so will make groups, crowds, and our society wiser and better. Anyone involved in making decisions that matter should read this book.”

John Engler, President, Business Roundtable—

“Drawing on academic research, real-world examples, and, in Sunstein’s case, White House experience, the authors identify the most common mistakes groups fall victim to and offer sensible ways to avoid those often-expensive errors. In Sunstein and Hastie’s recommendations, CEOs and managers alike will find much that leaves them, in a word, wiser.”

Claire Shipman, Correspondent, ABC’s Good Morning America; Author, The Confidence Code

“More minds aren’t always better, according to Cass Sunstein and Reid Hastie. In Wiser, they deftly lay out the unexpected perils of group decision making and provide smart, straightforward, and often surprising fixes. Utterly fascinating and counterintuitive, this book is an essential read for executives and managers—for anybody, actually, hoping to make an enterprise successful.”

Austan Goolsbee, Professor, University of Chicago Booth School of Business; former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Obama—

“There have been lots of books written on why and how individuals make bad decisions. But many of the most important decisions are made by committee, where normal problems get magnified. Finally, Sunstein and Hastie have provided crucial insights and lessons to help groups and teams avoid pitfalls and make effective decisions. Leaders everywhere should take these lessons to heart.”

Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize–winning presidential historian; Author, Team of Rivals and The Bully Pulpit

“This gem of a book is full of penetrating insight, sensible advice, and fascinating stories drawn from practical experience. Written with clarity and grace, it provides an invaluable road map for leaders and managers in both public and private life. I can think of dozens of historical decisions that might have been better made had our leaders followed these precepts.”

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To sign up, click the Subscribe to Et Seq. link in the red menu bar above. On days there are posts, you’ll receive a daily digest with all the day’s contents with the option to unsubscribe anytime.

New Library Exhibit: Where Mis’ry Moans

Where Misry Moans for webHistorical & Special Collections is pleased to announce that its new exhibit “‘Where Mis’ry Moans': Four Prison Reformers in 18th & 19th Century England” is now on view in the Caspersen Room on the fourth floor of Langdell Hall.

At the dawn of the eighteenth century English prisons were often dark, filthy, and rife with disease and suffering. Oversight was lax and inspections were rare at best. This exhibit focuses on four prison reformers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries—John Howard, George Onesiphorus Paul, Elizabeth Fry, and John T. Burt—who worked to make prisons more humane and reformatory.

Curated by Margaret Peachy and Mary Person, it will be on view in the Caspersen Room 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM through April 24, 2015. A companion website to this exhibit can be found here.

 

Announcing the Lexis Digital Library!

Harvard faculty, students and staff may check out titles that the HLS Library owns in print on the Lexis Digital Library platform hosted by Overdrive. The collection includes primary and secondary sources, study aid sources, and newsletters. Most but not all of our Lexis print material is now available in this format.

The basic principle works exactly like print books: one book (or eBook), one loan. You may either read checked out items in your browser using Overdrive Read or download the book to another device such as your laptop, Amazon Kindle, Adobe Digital Editions, or other readers that use ePub format. After you check out a book, you may make annotations, create bookmarks, and highlight text. Annotations made in Overdrive Read will still be available if you check the book out again. We recommend using Overdrive Read instead of downloading to a device for that reason.

Browse our collection, check out books, or create lists of books you’d like to read at the HLS Library Lexis E-Book Library. More detailed instructions are also available and of course you can also ask a librarian for assistance.

HLS Library 2015 Research Competition & Prizes

HLS students, have you entered the 2015 HLS Library Legal Research Competition yet?

Show off your legal research skills and win great prizes! This year’s prizes include e-readers, gift cards and movie tickets.

Get the competition questions and rules at our research competition guide.

Work solo or in pairs!