Announcements • Et. Seq: The Harvard Law School Library Blog

Summer 2017 and alumni access to legal research databases

Summer is coming! And with that, questions about access to our databases. Read on for answers for both continuing students and those of you who will soon be alumni!

BLOOMBERG LAW
For summer: if your workplace has a Bloomberg Law account, you are expected to use that, but there are no restrictions on your HLS Bloomberg accounts over the summer. Need an account? Just sign up with your HLS email address.

For new alumni: graduating students will have access to Bloomberg Law for a six month post-graduation grace period, ending November 30, 2017.

For questions and assistance with Bloomberg Law, please contact our rep, Rebecca Schwartz.

LEXIS
For summer
: Harvard Law students have free, unlimited summer access, regardless of their summer position, to Lexis Advance for the summer of 2017. Students can use their Harvard Law student account regardless of whether they are getting paid to work this summer. Please note that some employers may ask that students not conduct work related legal research on their school ID. So long as a student has a current, active Lexis Advance account, they do not need to sign-up for anything to take advantage of summer access.

For new alumni: graduating students will have free, unlimited access to Lexis Advance through their HLS accounts until June 2017. In July 2017, Lexis Advance student IDs will automatically transition to Graduate IDs. Graduate IDs are not affiliated with the law school and expire on December 31, 2017. Graduate IDs offer recent graduates the opportunity to continue to do free, unlimited research on Lexis Advance while studying for the bar and becoming more confident with their legal research skills.

For questions and assistance with Lexis, please contact our rep, Reeves Gillis.

WESTLAW
For summer: You can use Thomson Reuters products, including Westlaw and Practical Law, over the summer for non-commercial research. You can turn to these resources to gain understanding and build confidence in your research skills, but you cannot use them in situations where you are billing a client. Examples of permissible uses for your academic password include the following:

  • Summer coursework
  • Research assistant assignments
  • Law Review or Journal research
  • Moot Court research
  • Non-Profit work
  • Clinical work
  • Externship sponsored by the school
  • Pro bono work required or encouraged by the school

You do not have to do anything to gain access to these tools over the summer.

For new alumni: you have access to Thomson Reuters products, including Westlaw and Practical Law, for six months after graduation. Your “Grad Elite” access gives you 60-hours of usage on these products per month to gain understanding and build confidence in your research skills. While you cannot use it in situations where you are billing a client, Thomson Reuters encourages you to use these tools to build your knowledge of the law and prepare for your bar exam.

For questions and assistance with Westlaw, please contact our Thomson Reuters Academic Account Manager, Mark Frongillo.

OTHER DATABASES
Continuing students have full access over the summer to most other library resources at Harvard simply using your HUIDs and PINs. So if you need JSTOR, HeinOnline, Academic Search Premier or most other databases, you’re all set!

New alumni continue to have access to some databases, including HeinOnline’s Law Journal Library and the CQ Press Library, a great source for information and data on government and politics. Click through to our guide to Library Services for HLS Alumni for information about how to claim your Harvard Key and get access, plus learn about other resources for alumni and how to stay connected from afar.

QUESTIONS?
If you have questions about summer access, alumni access, or any research-related questions over the summer and beyond, you can always contact the library. Our full contact details are available at Ask a Librarian.

Changes in Library Fines and Loan Rules Policies

We have some changes to report on library loan periods and fines at Harvard–and we think you’ll like them!

Changes that took effect April 1:

  • The loan period has been standardized so that all Harvard-ID-holding faculty, staff, and students will enjoy semester loans on regular loan items from Harvard’s libraries.
  • HL will no longer charge the $0.50 per day standard overdue fines for regular loan items. Fines for long-overdue/lost material and reserve/media/equipment items will remain the same.

Beginning on May 1, in order to further encourage the return of items that are in demand by other library users, Harvard Library is raising its fee for overdue recalled material from $2.00 to $3.00 per day.

For more detail and explanation, please visit the Harvard Library post Changes in Library Fines and Loan Rules Policies.

Nuremberg Trials Project Recipient of NEH Award

The Harvard Law School Library’s Nuremberg Trials Project is pleased to announce its selection as a recipient of a Humanities Collections and Reference Resources grant from the National Endownment for the Humanities in the amount of $97,326 to continue its work of making Web-accessible its archive of all 13 Nuremberg Trials.  Specifically, the award is earmarked for the processing and Web-posting of the materials from Case 9, the trial dealing with the prosecution of crimes committed by Nazi SS Einsatzgruppen (mobile death squads) during WWII.  The award period runs from May 2017 through April 2018, and will support the in-depth analysis and description of the Case 9 trial materials, conversion of the Case 9 transcript to machine-readable format, and the posting of these materials and attendant document images as well as related background information to the project’s publicly accessible website: http://nuremberg.law.harvard.edu

With the addition of Case 9 to the currently available Cases 1-4 and 7, the Project website will have added an important new thematic area to its online materials, another milestone as it continues its goal of making accessible to the public the materials from all 13 trials over the course of the next few years.

The National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed on the Nuremberg website do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

 

Bluebook drop-in sessions available in April!

HLS students, do you have bluebook questions? If so, the library is here to help you. We will be holding bluebook drop-in sessions beginning Monday, April 3rd and running through Wednesday, April 26th.

Drop-in sessions will be held in Room 524 of the library (5th floor conference room), from 12-1pm on the following dates:

Monday, April 3rd
Wednesday, April 5th
Friday, April 7th
Monday, April 10th
Wednesday, April 12th
Friday, April 14th
Monday, April 17th
Monday, April 24th
Wednesday, April 26th

If you have bluebook questions, but these times are inconvenient, you can also schedule an appointment by filling out the request to meet with us on our Ask a Librarian page, and noting that it is for a bluebook consultation: .

Please bring your laptop with you to the drop-in sessions or a scheduled session so we can work on your questions, on your paper, in real-time.

Book Talk: James Forman, Jr., Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, Thursday, Apr. 13 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of James Forman, Jr.’s recently published book titled Locking Up Our Own:  Crime and Punishment in Black America (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Apr. 18, 2017).  James Forman, Jr. is a Professor of Law at Yale Law School. Copies of Locking Up Our Own will be available for sale and Professor Forman will be available for signing books at the end of the talk.  This talk is co-sponsored by The Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School and by the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management, Harvard Kennedy School.

Thursday, April 13, 2017 at noon, with lunch
Harvard Law School WCC 2019 Milstein West A/B  (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge

Locking Up Our Own poster

 

About James Forman, Jr.

James Forman Jr. is a Professor of Law at Yale Law School. He is a graduate of Atlanta’s Roosevelt High School, Brown University, and Yale Law School, and was a law clerk for Judge William Norris of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the United States Supreme Court.

After clerking, he joined the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C., where for six years he represented both juveniles and adults charged with crimes.

During his time as a public defender, Professor Forman became frustrated with the lack of education and job training opportunities for his clients. So in 1997, along with David Domenici, he started the Maya Angelou Public Charter School, an alternative school for school dropouts and youth who had previously been arrested. A decade later, in 2007, Maya Angelou School expanded and agreed to run the school inside D.C.’s juvenile prison. That school, which had long been an abysmal failure, has been transformed under the leadership of the Maya Angelou staff; the court monitor overseeing D.C.’s juvenile system called the turnaround “extraordinary.”

Professor Forman taught at Georgetown Law from 2003 to 2011, when he joined the Yale faculty. At Yale, he teaches Constitutional Law, a seminar on Race and the Criminal Justice System, and a clinic called the Educational Opportunity and Juvenile Justice Clinic. In the clinic, Professor Forman and his students represent young people facing expulsion from school for discipline violations, and they work to keep their clients in school and on track towards graduation.

Professor Forman teaches and writes in the areas of criminal procedure and criminal law policy, constitutional law, juvenile justice, and education law and policy. His particular interests are schools, prisons, and police, and those institutions’ race and class dimensions.

More About Locking Up Our Own:  Crime and Punishment in Black America

“In recent years, America’s criminal justice system has become the subject of an increasingly urgent debate. Critics have assailed the rise of mass incarceration, emphasizing its disproportionate impact on people of color. As James Forman, Jr., points out, however, the war on crime that began in the 1970s was supported by many African American leaders in the nation’s urban centers. In Locking Up Our Own, he seeks to understand why.

Forman shows us that the first substantial cohort of black mayors, judges, and police chiefs took office amid a surge in crime and drug addiction. Many prominent black officials, including Washington, D.C. mayor Marion Barry and federal prosecutor Eric Holder, feared that the gains of the civil rights movement were being undermined by lawlessness—and thus embraced tough-on-crime measures, including longer sentences and aggressive police tactics. In the face of skyrocketing murder rates and the proliferation of open-air drug markets, they believed they had no choice. But the policies they adopted would have devastating consequences for residents of poor black neighborhoods.

A former D.C. public defender, Forman tells riveting stories of politicians, community activists, police officers, defendants, and crime victims. He writes with compassion about individuals trapped in terrible dilemmas—from the men and women he represented in court to officials struggling to respond to a public safety emergency. Locking Up Our Own enriches our understanding of why our society became so punitive and offers important lessons to anyone concerned about the future of race and the criminal justice system in this country.” — Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Panelists

Ronald Sullivan, Jr.

 

 

 

Ronald S. Sullivan Jr., Clinical Professor of Law and Director, Criminal Justice Institute

 
Bruce Western

 

Bruce Western, Director of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice Policy & Professor of Sociology, Harvard University

 

 

Reviews of Locking Up Our Own
Locking Up Our Own is a pathbreaking examination of the ways that, over the past half century, African American policymakers, social justice activists, jurists, prosecutors, police officials, and ordinary folk have thought about and grappled with the administration of criminal justice. It is vivid, accessible, and full of illuminating insights. It is a brilliant distillation of deep research, disciplined thoughtfulness, and moral passion. In ongoing discussions about crime and justice in America, particularly its racial dimensions, no book will be more essential than Locking Up Our Own.” — Randall Kennedy, Michael R. Klein Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and author of For Discrimination and Race, Crime, and the Law

“The big spring book to argue about . . . Forman can catalogue more dysfunctional systems at close range than The Wire did.” — Boris Kachka, Vulture

“A sharp analysis . . . Forman shows how our nation has gotten to the point where so many citizens—primarily blacks—are imprisoned . . . Writing with authority and compassion, the author tells many vivid stories of the human toll taken by harsh criminal justice policies. He also asks provocative questions . . . Certain to stir debate, this book offers an important new perspective on the ongoing proliferation of America’s ‘punishment binge.'” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“James Forman Jr. masterfully explores why so many African Americans supported tough criminal laws over the past fifty years, and why, more recently, their attitudes began to shift. Combining dramatic stories from his work as a public defender with original historical research, Forman uncovers mass incarceration’s hidden history while documenting its human cost. Beautifully written, powerfully argued, and, most of all, deeply empathetic, Locking Up Our Own should be read by everybody who cares about race and justice in America.” Van Jones, author of The Green-Collar Economy and Rebuild the Dream

“An absolutely essential read for anyone who wants to understand the politics of crime, race, and incarceration.”— Chris Hayes, host of All In with Chris Hayes and author of A Colony in a Nation

Locking Up Our Own is an engaging, insightful, and provocative reexamination of over-incarceration in the black community. James Forman Jr. carefully exposes the complexities of crime, criminal justice, and race. What he illuminates should not be ignored.” — Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative

“James Forman Jr.’s frank and necessary history rings with the authentic voices of black Americans. By paying close attention to local conditions, he shows how well-meaning reforms snowballed into steadily harsher criminal justice policies in Washington, D.C. This is a very valuable and fascinating book—highly readable, engaging, and resolutely accurate about the urban realities it depicts. I recognized this world.” — Jill Leovy, author of Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America

“Forman’s compassionate narrative interweaves the complexities of racial and class dynamics, especially in how African-American political officials, police chiefs, judges and prosecutors came to support the punitive policies that now ravage poor communities of color more than anyone else . . . [Locking Up Our Own] should become required reading for students, citizens, activists and policy reformers interested in excavating how our system of hyper-incarceration was constructed incrementally over decades.” — Alex Mikulich, America

“James Forman Jr. tells the fascinating story of mass incarceration from the ground up. We see the heartbreaking stories of young people whose life prospects are diminished through tough-on-crime policies, the leaders in the black community whose limited choices led to support for harsh punishments, and the ways in which the legacy of racism still frames outcomes in the twenty-first century. Locking Up Our Own helps us to understand how the prison population exploded and what we need to do to create a more compassionate approach to crime and justice.” — Marc Mauer, Executive Director of The Sentencing Project and author of Race to Incarcerate

Justice Scalia’s papers donated to HLS Library–what’s next?

Blog post by Meg Kribble, Research Librarian & Outreach Coordinator; Ed Moloy, Curator of Modern Manuscripts and Archives; and Jessica Farrell, Curator of Digital Collections.

We are very excited about the news that the family of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (HLS, ’60) will donate his Papers to the HLS Library.

It’s an honor for any library to be selected to preserve and make accessible the papers of a Supreme Court Justice, and we are grateful to the Scalia family for selecting the HLS Library. We look forward to sharing periodic updates on our progress and to making the collection available over the years to come.

Portrait of Justice Antonin Scalia by Nelson Shanks

Because the Supreme Court does not display portraits of sitting justices, Justice Scalia’s official portrait by Nelson Shanks resided in our Reading Room from 2008 until his death, when it was returned to the Court.

What happens next?

Justice Scalia served on the Court for nearly three decades. Prior to that, he practiced law, taught at the University of Virginia and the University of Chicago, and served as a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Throughout his career, he gave speeches, wrote articles, and received awards. Materials from all of these activities will likely be included in the collection.

Communication methods evolved over the course of the Justice’s career to include documents created on computers as well as traditional print materials. While his papers aren’t the first papers of a Supreme Court Justice to include electronic records, this will be the first time electronic records will be transferred from the Supreme Court to an archive. As you can see, Justice Scalia’s papers, like those of other Supreme Court Justices, are likely to be a large, complex collection that will take years to process.

Many papers of Supreme Court Justices come with restrictions on when they may be made accessible to researchers; Justice Scalia’s are no different. You can compare the restrictions on his papers (mentioned in the article link above) with the restrictions of some of his predecessors on the Court in Susan David deMaine and Benjamin J. Keele’s visual presentation, Access to Justice? A Study of Access Restrictions on the Papers of U.S. Supreme Court Justices.

What’s involved in processing a collection of this magnitude?

The first step is transferring the collection, both physically and electronically.

The method of physical transfer always depends on what’s in the collection–general movers and sometimes special art movers may be involved. Electronic material is either transferred over a secure connection using software that encrypts, virus checks, and establishes data integrity for the files; or it is sent physically in the form of a hard drive or whole device, such as a computer or tablet. This data is stored in a highly secure environment especially before a survey has been conducted to identify types and quantity of sensitive data that exist.

As for the processing itself, while some details are changing to adapt to the challenges of electronic files, the fundamental process remains unchanged:

  • First, a survey is done that provides an overview of a collection’s content. For electronic files, the survey is conducted using digital forensics techniques borrowed from the law enforcement community. Information about the files is extracted without altering the files in any way. If the content is on physical media, data is extracted using an arsenal of adapters and write-blockers.
  • In the next step, the survey information informs how a collection will be arranged, typically by broad record group (series) such as “correspondence” or “teaching material.” Digital forensics software helps identify topics across the electronic material without the need for opening individual files.
  • Arrangement of folders–electronic and physical–takes place guided by the established arrangement’s organizational structure.
  • During arrangement, some material is restricted or redacted based on the agreement with the donor, university records policies, and/or privacy concerns identified by the archivist. Again, for electronic material, software aids this process.
  • A finding aid is produced describing the scope and content of the collection, biographical information about the creator, information about each series, and an inventory typically broken down to the box and folder level. Researchers use finding aids to guide them to material relevant to their work.
  • A HOLLIS (Harvard Library catalog) record is created, which links to the finding aid. Digital content is deposited into Harvard’s Digital Repository Service (DRS) for long-term digital preservation and access. For files that can be released to the public, access links are included in the finding aid.

While you’re waiting for the year 2020, when Justice Scalia’s papers begin to become available, we encourage you to learn about the other collections of Supreme Court Justices that the HLS Library holds:

  • Louis D. Brandeis (HLS class of 1877), Papers, 1881-1966 Finding Aid
  • Opinions of Benjamin R. Curtis (HLS class of 1831), 1858-1860 HOLLIS (Contains opinions of Curtis on a variety of topics some of which were made outside of his position on the bench. Also contains some correspondence to him requesting his opinion on different issues.)
  • Felix Frankfurter (HLS class of 1906), Papers, 1900-1965 Finding Aid
  • The John G. Palfrey collection of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Papers, 1715-1938 Finding Aid | Digital Suite
  • Joseph Story (HLS Dane Professor of Law, 1829-1845), Papers, 1796-1844 Finding Aid | Digital Suite

Book Talk: Gish Jen’s The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap, Wed., Mar. 29 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of Gish Jen’s recently published book titled The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap (Knopf, Feb. 28, 2017).

Copies of The Girl at the Baggage Claim will be available for sale and Gish Jen will be available for signing books at the end of the talk.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 at noon, with lunch


Harvard Law School WCC 2019 Milstein West A/B  (Directions)

1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge

The Girl at the Baggage Claim poste

More About Gish Jen

The author of six previous books, Jen has published short work in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and dozens of other periodicals and anthologies. Her work has appeared in The Best American Short Stories four times, including The Best American Short Stories of the Century, edited by John Updike.  Nominated for a National Book Critics’ Circle Award, her work was featured in a PBS American Masters’ special on the American novel, and is widely taught.

Jen is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  She has been awarded a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, a Guggenheim fellowship, a Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study fellowship, and numerous other awards.  An American Academy of Arts and Letters jury comprised of John Updike, Cynthia Ozick, Don DeLillo, and Joyce Carol Oates granted her a five-year Mildred and Harold Strauss Living award; Jen delivered the William E. Massey, Sr. Lectures in the History of American Civilization at Harvard University in 2012. Her most recent book is The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap.

More About The Girl at the Baggage Claim

“A provocative and important study of the different ideas Easterners and Westerners have about the self and society and what this means for current debates in art, education, geopolitics, and business. Never have East and West come as close as they are today, yet we are still baffled by one another. Is our mantra “To thine own self be true”? Or do we believe we belong to something larger than ourselves—a family, a religion, a troop—that claims our first allegiance? Gish Jen—drawing on a treasure trove of stories and personal anecdotes, as well as cutting-edge research in cultural psychology—reveals how this difference shapes what we perceive and remember, what we say and do and make—how it shapes everything from our ideas about copying and talking in class to the difference between Apple and Alibaba. As engaging as it is illuminating, this is a book that stands to profoundly enrich our understanding of ourselves and of our world.” — Alfred A. Knopf, Penguin Random House

Panelists

Joseph W. Singer

 

 

 

 Joseph W. Singer, Bussey Professor of Law

 

Mark Wu

 

 

 

Mark Wu, Assistant Professor of Law

 

Yvonne Hao

 

 

 

Yvonne Hao, COO and CFO, PillPack

 

Reviews of The Girl at the Baggage Claim

“Gish Jen turns her novelist’s eye to the exploration of the centuries-old enigma of why people in the East and the West see themselves, others, society, and culture so differently…[As Trump] butts heads with China, it behooves us to consider just how shallow is our understanding of China…[making] this book both timely and extremely important.” –  Washington Post

“VERDICT: An excellent and engaging read, sure to appeal to readers interested in cross-cultural communication, cognitive science, and the experiences of Asian Americans in the United States” – Library Journal

“[Jen] unpacks tough subjects, such as racism and prejudice in America, with sophisticated insight [and] articulates the complexities of culture with a novelist’s command of language.” –  Publishers Weekly

Book Talk: Alexandra Lahav’s In Praise of Litigation, Mon., Mar. 27 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of Alexandra Lahav’s recently published book titled In Praise of Litigation (Oxford Univ. Press, Feb. 1, 2017).  Professor Lahav is the Ellen Ash Peters Professor of Law at the University of Connecticut School of Law.

Copies of In Praise of Litigation will be available for sale and Professor Lahav will be available for signing books at the end of the talk.

Monday, March 27, 2017 at noon, with lunch


Harvard Law School WCC 2019 Milstein West B  (Directions)


1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge

In Praise of Litigation poster

About Alexandra Lahav

Alexandra D. Lahav is an expert on civil procedure, complex litigation and mass torts. Her research primarily focuses on procedural justice and the limits of due process in class actions and aggregate litigation and on the role of litigation in American democracy. In recent articles she has explored the justifications for innovative procedures such as statistical sampling and bellwether trials in mass tort litigation, what role principles of equality should play in litigation, and how courts can better manage multi-jurisdictional litigation. Her work has been cited in Federal Appellate and District Court opinions, academic articles and treatises and she regularly presents to academics and practitioners. She is co-author of the fifth edition of the popular civil procedure casebook, Civil Procedure: Doctrine, Practice, and Context.  Her book defending the role of litigation in American democracy, In Praise of Litigation, will be published by Oxford University Press in early 2017.

Professor Lahav received her B.A. in history from Brown University and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. She clerked for Justice Alan Handler of the New Jersey Supreme Court and practiced with a boutique civil rights firm in New York City, now called Emery, Celli, Brinckerhoff & Abady LLC. She was a teaching fellow at Stanford Law School before joining the UConn faculty in 2004 and has also taught at Columbia, Harvard and Yale.

More About In Praise of Litigation

While the right to have one’s day in court is a cherished feature of the American democratic system, alarms that the United States is hopelessly litigious and awash in frivolous claims have become so commonplace that they are now a fixture in the popular imagination. According to this view, litigation wastes precious resources, stifles innovation and productivity, and corrodes our social fabric and the national character. Calls for reform have sought, often successfully, to limit people’s access to the court system, most often by imposing technical barriers to bringing suit.

Alexandra Lahav’s In Praise of Litigation provides a much needed corrective to this flawed perspective, reminding us of the irreplaceable role of litigation in a well-functioning democracy and debunking many of the myths that cloud our understanding of this role. For example, the vast majority of lawsuits in the United States are based on contract claims, the median value of lawsuits is on a downward trend, and, on a per capita basis, many fewer lawsuits are filed today than were filed in the 19th century. Exploring cases involving freedom of speech, foodborne illness, defective cars, business competition, and more, the book shows that despite its inevitable limitations, litigation empowers citizens to challenge the most powerful public and private interests and hold them accountable for their actions.

Lawsuits change behavior, provide information to consumers and citizens, promote deliberation, and express society’s views on equality and its most treasured values. In Praise of Litigation shows how our court system protects our liberties and enables civil society to flourish, and serves as a powerful reminder of why we need to protect people’s ability to use it.

The tort reform movement has had some real successes in limiting what can reach the courts, but there have been victims too. As Alexandra Lahav shows, it has become increasingly difficult for ordinary people to enforce their rights. In the grand scale of lawsuits, actually crazy or bogus lawsuits constitute a tiny minority; in fact, most anecdotes turn out to be misrepresentations of what actually happened. In In Praise of Litigation, Lahav argues that critics are blinded to the many benefits of lawsuits. The majority of lawsuits promote equality before the law, transparency, and accountability. Our ability to go to court is a sign of our strength as a society and enables us to both participate in and reinforce the rule of law. In addition, joining lawsuits gives citizens direct access to governmental officials-judges-who can hear their arguments about issues central to our democracy, including the proper extent of police power and the ability of all people to vote. It is at least arguable that lawsuits have helped spur major social changes in arenas like race relations and marriage rights, as well as made products safer and forced wrongdoers to answer for their conduct.

In this defense, Lahav does not ignore the obvious drawbacks to litigiousness. It is expensive, stressful, and time consuming. Certainly, sensible reforms could make the system better. However, many of the proposals that have been adopted and are currently on the table seek only to solve problems that do not exist or to make it harder for citizens to defend their rights and to enforce the law. This is not the answer. In Praise of Litigation offers a level-headed and law-based assessment of the state of litigation in America as well as a number of practical steps that can be taken to ensure citizens have the right to defend themselves against wrongs while not odiously infringing on the rights of others.

Panelists

John C.P. Goldberg

 

 

 

Professor John C.P. Goldberg, Eli Goldston Professor of Law

 

Mark Tushnet

 

 

 

Professor Mark V. Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law

 

Reviews of In Praise of Litigation

“In the face of the widespread popular perception that lawsuits are inimical to American society, law professor Lahav is persuasive in demonstrating that litigation ‘is a social good and promotes democracy,’ even if it is a far from perfect tool. Her contention is bolstered by her well-reasoned analyses that perfectly balance detail with brevity, making this work fully accessible to non-lawyers and readers unversed in the debates about access to justice and tort reform.” — Publishers Weekly

“In a culture where it has become fashionable to bash lawyers and the lawsuits they file, Alexandra Lahav reminds us, in forceful, engaging, and compelling prose, that litigation plays an essential role in our democracy. Her clear-eyed analysis engages the criticisms of litigation honestly and persuasively, and makes a powerful case for its role in a justice-seeking society.” – – David Cole, Professor, Georgetown Law, National Legal Director, ACLU, and author of Engines of Liberty

“An important contribution to the ongoing debate over the role of litigation in promoting a just society. Alexandra Lahav convincingly demonstrates how and why American style litigation-‘a form of political activity’-remains critical to our Nation’s future.” — Kenneth R. Feinberg, Former Special Master of the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund

“The central message of In Praise of Litigation is a powerful one: the benefits of lawsuits (and the harms from improperly restricting them) go far beyond the parties and their lawyers. The book is a tour de force in which Alexandra Lahav draws on a dazzling array of examples, from cases involving slaves seeking freedom in the 1850s to cases involving e. coli in fast-food hamburgers, and from little-noticed suits involving individuals to iconic Supreme Court decisions like Brown v. Board of Education, that stretch across both doctrinal boundaries and American history. Every law student and every lawyer should read In Praise of Litigation not just to understand more fully how litigation actually works today, but also to arm themselves better to defend equal access to the courts as a critical aspect of our democracy.” — Pamela S. Karlan, Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law and Co-Director, Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, Stanford Law School

Book Talk: Cass Sunstein’s #Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media, Wed., Mar. 22 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of Cass Sunstein’s recently published book titled #Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media (Princeton Univ. Press, Mar. 14, 2017).

Copies of #Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media will be available for sale and Professor Sunstein will be available for signing books at the end of the talk.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at noon, with lunch
Harvard Law School WCC 2019 Milstein West A/B  (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge

Cass Sunstein #republic poster

About Cass R. Sunstein

Cass R. Sunstein is Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard University, Massachusetts. 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, and he is the author of many articles and books, including the best-selling Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness (with Richard H. Thaler, 2008), Simpler: The Future of Government (2013), Why Nudge? (2014), Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas (2014), Wiser: Beyond Groupthink to Make Groups Smarter (2014), Valuing Life: Humanizing the Regulatory State (2014), Choosing Not to Choose: Understanding the Value of Choice (2015), Constitutional Personae: Heroes, Soldiers, Minimalists, and Mutes (2015), and The World According to Star Wars (2016).

More About #Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media

“As the Internet grows more sophisticated, it is creating new threats to democracy. Social media companies such as Facebook can sort us ever more efficiently into groups of the like-minded, creating echo chambers that amplify our views. It’s no accident that on some occasions, people of different political views cannot even understand each other. It’s also no surprise that terrorist groups have been able to exploit social media to deadly effect.

Welcome to the age of #Republic.

In this revealing book, Cass Sunstein, the New York Times bestselling author of Nudge and The World According to Star Wars, shows how today’s Internet is driving political fragmentation, polarization, and even extremism–and what can be done about it.

Thoroughly rethinking the critical relationship between democracy and the Internet, Sunstein describes how the online world creates “cybercascades,” exploits “confirmation bias,” and assists “polarization entrepreneurs.” And he explains why online fragmentation endangers the shared conversations, experiences, and understandings that are the lifeblood of democracy.

In response, Sunstein proposes practical and legal changes to make the Internet friendlier to democratic deliberation. These changes would get us out of our information cocoons by increasing the frequency of unchosen, unplanned encounters and exposing us to people, places, things, and ideas that we would never have picked for our Twitter feed.

#Republic need not be an ironic term. As Sunstein shows, it can be a rallying cry for the kind of democracy that citizens of diverse societies most need.” — Princeton University Press

Reviews of #Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media

“I . . . found myself shocked at how relevant Sunstein’s account was to my own life and the ways I seek out and encounter information, which is in a way the value of the book–it gets you to reflect on the role of your information habits on your view of the world around you. And if you want to know how important that is, well, you should read Sunstein’s book.”  — Annie Coreno, Publishers Weekly (staff pick)

“America’s leading legal academic gives us a way to address democracy’s leading challenge–preserving a public informed enough to govern itself. Drawing on an incredible range of scholarship and experience, this book could not be more timely. Or urgently needed.” Lawrence Lessig, Harvard Law School

Endorsements:

“What went wrong with social media and also with democracy? Here’s the guy who saw it coming, and yes he does have all the answers.”Tyler Cowen, author of The Great Stagnation

“The Internet has surely enhanced our democracy, with greater access to information and fewer barriers to connecting with each other. However, we’re seeing the opposite today with more narrow-minded online platforms and communities, as evidenced by the impact of fake news on this past election. #Republic pointedly captures the risks of the ongoing evolution of social media to our democratic ideals.” Stephanie Cutter, former Senior Aide to President Barack Obama and Partner, Precision Strategies

All about PLI PLUS: treatises, program transcripts, and more!

PLI PLUS logoHave you checked out PLI PLUS lately? If so, you may have noticed its clean and updated user interface. But it has great content too! We recently had a library update with our PLI rep, and I’m here to share my notes again. If you’re a student, faculty member, or practitioner, read on for some highlights to help you get (re-)acquainted.

If you haven’t used PLI PLUS before, here’s some quick background:

The PLI PLUS platform provides a comprehensive library of treatises, course handbooks, and answer books from the Practising Law Institute (PLI), a nonprofit organization known for its accredited continuing legal and professional education programs delivered by volunteer faculty including lawyers, judges, corporate counsel, regulators and other professionals. Transcripts of its webcast programs and seminars are also available on PLI PLUS.

PLI’s seminars are up-to-the minute current. For example, last month it offered two seminars on immigration, Challenging Immigration Detention with Habeas Petitions on February 2 and Immigration Executive Orders: What You and Your Clients Need to Know on February 15.

Major content in PLI PLUS:

  • Over 100 treatises
  • Answer Books: these are Q&A style, useful for students new on clinics, and they also include case studies
  • Course Handbooks: these are often available before program, and also includes case studies
  • Program Transcripts from their seminars and webcasts (available for all programs except those by government speakers)
  • Forms: search, download, and edit over 3000 forms from across the platform

Narrow your search results: there is a narrowing function to focus your search results within only the books you think might be most useful.

PDF format: All titles on the platform (with the exception of some archived program books) are available in PDF by chapter.

More about PLI PLUS forms:

  • Forms open in RTF
  • Forms include full agreements/contracts, and clauses
  • You can click through to the book that is source of a form
  • You can pull up a list of all forms contained in any chapter on the platform

General features

  • Search across platform, book, and individual chapters
  • Book overview contains update information (like e-pocket parts)
  • Permalinks to sections and content areas are available
  • Course Books: related contents lnk will give the history of a title with related transcripts and forms
  • Full archive of material to 2000, some content goes back to 1980 or its origination date
  • Practice areas on immigration and privacy & cybersecurity
  • Login accounts – doesn’t work for basic answers (requires proxy) but for remote access for facstaff this can be set up

Create your own login account within the HLS access to use additional features:

  • Ability to make notes and highlights in content (plus option to include these when sharing content via email)
  • Create your own My Bookshelf and subshelves that you can add chapters and titles to, plus share links to your shelves with others (this could be useful for faculty assigning content, students working together on projects in clinics and other settings)
  • View all your notes and marks on one page
  • Note that creating your own login doesn’t work for getting remote access to PLI PLUS–you’ll still need to authenticate with a Harvard proxy link (or remember that you can always get to it by searching for PLI PLUS in the HOLLIS catalog).
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