Book Talks • Et. Seq: The Harvard Law School Library Blog

Book Talk: The Futility of Law and Development: China and the Dangers of Exporting American Law, Tue., Oct. 3, at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of The Futility of Law and Development: China and the Dangers of Exporting American Law (Oxford Univ. Press, 2015) by Jedidiah J. Kroncke, Professor, FGV Sao Paulo School of Law.  Copies of The Futility of Law and Development will be available for sale and Professor Kroncke will be available for signing books at the end of the talk.  This talk is co-sponsored with East Asian Legal Studies program at Harvard Law School and with the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession.

Futility of Law and Development poster

Tuesday, October 3, 2017 at noon, with lunch
Harvard Law School Room WCC 2019 Milstein West B (Map & Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA

About The Futility of Law and Development: China and the Dangers of Exporting American Law

“For all the attention paid to the Founder Fathers in contemporary American debates, it has almost been wholly forgotten how deeply they embraced an ambitious and intellectually profound valuation of foreign legal experience. Jedidiah Kroncke uses the Founders’ serious engagement with, and often admiration for, Chinese law in the Revolutionary era to begin his history of how America lost this Founding commitment to legal cosmopolitanism and developed a contemporary legal culture both parochial in its resistance to engaging foreign legal experience and universalist in its messianic desire to export American law abroad. Kroncke reveals how the under-appreciated, but central role of Sino-American relations in this decline over two centuries, significantly reshaped in the early 20th century as American lawyer-missionaries helped inspire the first modern projects of American humanitarian internationalism through legal development. Often forgotten today after the rise of the Chinese Communist Party in 1949, the Sino-American relationship in the early 20th century was a key crucible for articulating this vision as Americans first imagined waves of Americanization abroad in the wake of China’s 1911 Republican revolution.

Drawing in historical threads from religious, legal and foreign policy work, the book demonstrates how American comparative law ultimately became a marginalized practice in this process. The marginalization belies its central place in earlier eras of American political and legal reform. In doing so, the book reveals how the cosmopolitan dynamism so prevalent at the Founding is a lost virtue that today comprises a serious challenge to American legal culture and its capacity for legal innovation in the face of an increasingly competitive and multi-polar 21st century. Once again, America’s relationship with China presents a critical opportunity to recapture this lost virtue and stimulate the searching cosmopolitanism that helped forge the original foundations of American democracy.” — Oxford University Press

Panelists

Jedidiah J. Kroncke

 

 

Jedidiah J. Kroncke, Professor, FGV Sao Paulo School of Law (Brazil)

 

David Armitage

 

 

David Armitage, Harvard University Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History

 

Xiaoqian Hu

 

 

Xiaoqian Hu, Harvard Law School

 

William P. Alford

 

 

William P. Alford, Vice Dean for the Graduate Program and International Legal Studies, Henry L. Stimson Professor of Law, Director, East Asian Legal Studies Program, and Chair, Harvard Law School Project on Disability

More About The Futility of Law and Development: China and the Dangers of Exporting American Law

“Kroncke recovers a wide-ranging legal cosmopolitanism as the least appreciated, if not outright ignored, of our Founders’ shared commitments. Using transnational sources wholly unappreciated to date, he artfully reveals through the Sino-American relationship how this virtue was lost through interwoven transformations in American legal, religious, and diplomatic history. A work whose lessons need by heeded by all those concerned with preserving American law’s historical vibrancy in the contemporary era, or with how we conceive of America’s role in the international world.” — William E. Nelson, Edward Weinfeld Professor of Law, New York University School of Law

“Beautifully written, The Futility of Law and Development is bracing, erudite, and genuinely original. Even those familiar with development or Sino-American relations will be astonished at how much they learn. Jedidiah Kroncke is not only one of the most important and insightful China scholars of his generation, but also of comparative law and legal globalization. A tour-de-force of international legal history with urgent implications for modern American legal culture.” — Amy Chua, John M. Duff, Jr. Professor of Law, Yale Law School

“Americans keep hoping that projects to export our law will be the key to spurring economic growth and liberal rights in developing countries. The projects keep failing, yet the hope always revives. Kroncke’s brilliant exploration of two centuries of American lawyers’ engagement with China helps to explain why: the missionary-lawyers are the direct secularized heirs of lawyer-missionaries, just as confident in the universal validity of their models and impervious to the true lessons of their experiences. He recovers a time when a more cosmopolitan America was willing to learn from other societies, even while aspiring to be an exemplar of republican democracy.” — Robert Gordon, Professor of Law, Stanford University and Chancellor Kent Professor of Law and Legal History, Yale University

“What an impressive read! Kroncke’s book is comparative law at the best of its potential. History, thick explanation, critique, and new possibilities. The reader will realize how the missionary precursors of the Wilsonian era reshaped the very nature of American comparative law and, ever since, American law’s problematic relationship with the international world. Understanding our disciplinary shortcomings is the best medicine for overcoming them.” — Ugo Mattei, Alfred and Hanna Fromm Professor of International and Comparative law, UC Hastings

“[Futility] is a sophisticated critical dissection of the drawbacks of American legal export…a much a loss for the U.S. as for the world, because it has foreclosed the willingness of politicians and lawyers to see such complexity as an invitation for U.S. internal domestic experimentation and renewal. The book offers a beautiful reconstruction of the American legal imagination and approach to China…a provocative retelling of the history of American legal export, one that no doubt will generate fruitful debate and will have to be reckoned with by legal historians, legal comparativists, and scholars of U.S. foreign policy.” — Aziz Rana, JOTWELL

“Although The Futility of Law and Development is primarily a historical work, its contemporary significance is clear. It is a crucial time to reflect on the rocky record of America’s engagement with China’s legal system. U.S.-China relations stand at a critical juncture with simultaneous substantial interdependence and palpable tension. Members of the U.S. government, nongovernmental organizations, and academia whose work involves China’s legal system would be wise to take pause and put The Futility of Law and Development on their bedside tables.” —  Mary K. Lewis, Seton Hall University, China Review International

 

 

Book Talk: The Indian Legal Profession in the Age of Globalization, Thur. Sept. 28, at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of The Indian Legal Profession in the Age of Globalization: The Rise of the Corporate Legal Sector and its Impact on Lawyers and Society (Cambridge Univ. Press, May, 2017) edited by David B. Wilkins, Vikramaditya S. Khanna, and David M. Trubek. Copies of The Indian Legal Profession in the Age of Globalization will be available for sale and Professors Wilkins and Khanna will be available for signing books at the end of the talk.  This talk is co-sponsored with the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession and the Harvard University South Asia Institute.

Thursday, September 28, 2017 at noon, with lunch
Harvard Law School Room WCC 2036 Milstein East A/B (Campus Map & Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge

About The Indian Legal Profession in the Age of Globalization

“This book provides the first comprehensive analysis of the impact of globalization on the Indian legal profession. Employing a range of original data from twenty empirical studies, the book details the emergence of a new corporate legal sector in India including large and sophisticated law firms and in-house legal departments, as well as legal process outsourcing companies. As the book’s authors document, this new corporate legal sector is reshaping other parts of the Indian legal profession, including legal education, the development of pro bono and corporate social responsibility, the regulation of legal services, and gender, communal, and professional hierarchies with the bar. Taken as a whole, the book will be of interest to academics, lawyers, and policymakers interested in the critical role that a rapidly globalizing legal profession is playing in the legal, political, and economic development of important emerging economies like India, and how these countries are integrating into the institutions of global governance and the overall global market for legal services.” — Cambridge University Press

Panelists

David Wilkins

 

David B. Wilkins
Lester Kissel Professor of Law, Faculty Director of the Center on the Legal Profession, Vice Dean for Global Initiatives on the Legal Profession, Harvard Law School. He is also a Senior Research Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a Fellow of the Harvard University Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics.

 

Vikramaditya Khanna

 

Vikramaditya S. Khanna
William W. Cook Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School, Faculty Director of the Directors’ College for Global Business and Law, and co-director of the Joint Center for Global Corporate and Financial Law and Policy, at the University of Michigan Law School

 

Commentator

Tarun Khanna

 

 

Tarun Khanna
Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School; Director, South Asia Institute, Harvard University

Book Talk: Law, Religion, and Health in the United States, Wed. Sept. 27, at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of Law, Religion, and Health in the United States (Cambridge Univ. Press, June 30, 2017) edited by Holly Fernandez Lynch, I. Glenn Cohen, and Elizabeth Sepper.  Copies of Law, Religion, and Health in the United States will be available for sale and Professors Cohen and Sepper will be available for signing books at the end of the talk.  This talk is co-sponsored with The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School.

Poster for Law, Religion, and Health book talk

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at noon, with lunch

Harvard Law School Room WCC 2019 Milstein West A (Map & Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge

About Law, Religion, and Health in the United States

“While the law can create conflict between religion and health, it can also facilitate religious accommodation and protection of conscience. Finding this balance is critical to addressing the most pressing questions at the intersection of law, religion, and health in the United States: should physicians be required to disclose their religious beliefs to patients? How should we think about institutional conscience in the health care setting? How should health care providers deal with families with religious objections to withdrawing treatment? In this timely book, experts from a variety of perspectives and disciplines offer insight on these and other pressing questions, describing what the public discourse gets right and wrong, how policymakers might respond, and what potential conflicts may arise in the future. It should be read by academics, policymakers, and anyone else – patient or physician, secular or devout – interested in how US law interacts with health care and religion.” — Cambridge University Press

Panelists

Glenn Cohen

 

 

 

I. Glenn Cohen (editor)
Professor of Law and Faculty Director, Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology & Bioethics, Harvard Law School

 

Diane L. Moore

 

 

 

Diane L. Moore
Director of the Religious Literacy Project, Lecturer on Religion, Conflict, and Peace, and Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard Divinity School

 

Elizabeth Sepper

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth Sepper (co-editor)
Professor of Law, Washington University School of Law)

 

Moderator

Intisar A. Rabb

 

 

 

Intisar A. Rabb
Professor of Law and History; Director of the Islamic Legal Studies Program, Harvard Law School; Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor, Harvard University Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

 

More About Law, Religion, and Health in the United States

‘Health care – in particular, care related to sexuality and procreation – has become the epicenter of the struggle to define religious liberty in America. From insurance mandates to professional autonomy, from refusing reproductive care to ‘treating’ homosexuality, and from defining life to defining death, Law, Religion, and Health in the United States is essential reading.’ — R. Alta Charo, Sheldon B. Lubar Distinguished Research Chair and Warren P. Knowles Professor of Law and Bioethics, University of Wisconsin, Madison

‘This timely volume addresses a wide array of deep religious, ethical, legal, and technological quandaries that swirl around the increasingly complex world of health care in the United States. Bringing together top scholars from divergent disciplines and perspectives, this book will be essential reading for those who wrestle with power over life and death in a divided country where there are no one-size-fits-all answers.’ — Sarah Barringer Gordon, Arlin M. Adams Professor of Constitutional Law and Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania

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

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

Book Talk: Leia Castañeda Anastacio’s The Foundations of the Modern Philippine State: Imperial Rule and the American Constitutional Tradition in the Philippine Islands, Tue. Feb. 14 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of The Foundations of the Modern Philippine State: Imperial Rule and the American Constitutional Tradition in the Philippine Islands (Cambridge Univ. Press, Aug. 2016) by Leia Castañeda Anastacio, LL.M. ’96, S.J.D. ’09, Research Fellow, Harvard Law School’s East Asian Legal Studies Program. This event is co-sponsored with the Harvard Law School East Asian Legal Studies Program.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017 between noon and 1:30 pm, with lunch
Harvard Law School Room Lewis 214A  (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge

Leia Castañeda Anastacio book talk poster

 

More About The Foundations of the Modern Philippine State: Imperial Rule and the American Constitutional Tradition in the Philippine Islands:

“The US occupation of the Philippine Islands in 1898 began a foundational period of the modern Philippine state. With the adoption of the 1935 Philippine Constitution, the legal conventions for ultimate independence were in place. In this time, American officials and their Filipino elite collaborators established a representative, progressive, yet limited colonial government that would modernize the Philippine Islands through colonial democracy and developmental capitalism. Examining constitutional discourse in American and Philippine government records, academic literature, newspaper and personal accounts, The Foundations of the Modern Philippine State concludes that the promise of America’s liberal empire was negated by the imperative of insulating American authority from Filipino political demands. Premised on Filipino incapacity, the colonial constitution weakened the safeguards that shielded liberty from power and unleashed liberalism’s latent tyrannical potential in the name of civilization. This forged a constitutional despotism that haunts the Islands to this day.” — Cambridge Univ. Press

About Leia Castañeda Anastacio

Leia Castañeda Anastacio is an independent scholar affiliate of Harvard Law School’s East Asian Legal Studies program. Placing first in the 1993 Philippine Bar Examinations, she was awarded Harvard Law School’s Yong Kim ’95 Memorial Prize in 2008 and the American Society of Legal History’s William Nelson Cromwell Foundation Dissertation Prize in 2010.

Commentators:

Gerald Neuman, Harvard

 

 

Professor Gerald Neuman, J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law, and the Co-Director of the Human Rights Program, Harvard Law School

 

Chris Capozzola, MIT

 

 

 

Professor Chris Capozzola, Associate Professor of History at MIT

 

Book Talk: Heidi Gardner’s Smart Collaboration: How Professionals and Their Firms Succeed by Breaking Down Silos, Mon. Jan. 30 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of Smart Collaboration: How Professionals and Their Firms Succeed by Breaking Down Silos (Harvard Business Review Press, Jan 3. 2017) by Heidi K. Gardner, Lecturer on Law and Distinguished Fellow in the Center on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School.  Copies of Smart Collaboration will be available for sale and Professor Gardner will be available for signing books at the end of her talk.

Heidi Gardner Book Talk Poster

Monday, January 30, 2016 at noon, with lunch
Harvard Law School Room WCC 2019 Milstein West A (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge

More About Smart Collaboration: How Professionals and Their Firms Succeed by Breaking Down Silos

“Not all collaboration is smart. Make sure you do it right. Professional service firms face a serious challenge. Their clients increasingly need them to solve complex problems–everything from regulatory compliance to cybersecurity, the kinds of problems that only teams of multidisciplinary experts can tackle. Yet most firms have carved up their highly specialized, professional experts into narrowly defined practice areas, and collaborating across these silos is often messy, risky, and expensive. Unless you know why you’re collaborating and how to do it effectively, it may not be smart at all. That’s especially true for partners who have built their reputations and client rosters independently, not by working with peers. In “Smart Collaboration,” Heidi K. Gardner shows that firms earn higher margins, inspire greater client loyalty, attract and retain the best talent, and gain a competitive edge when specialists collaborate across functional boundaries. Gardner, a former McKinsey consultant and Harvard Business School professor now lecturing at Harvard Law School, has spent over a decade conducting in-depth studies of numerous global professional service firms. Her research with clients and the empirical results of her studies demonstrate clearly and convincingly that collaboration pays, for both professionals and their firms. But Gardner also offers powerful prescriptions for how leaders can foster collaboration, move to higher-margin work, increase client satisfaction, improve lateral hiring, decrease enterprise risk, engage workers to contribute their utmost, break down silos, and boost their bottom line. With case studies and real-world insights, “Smart Collaboration” delivers an authoritative case for the value of collaboration to today’s professionals, their firms, and their clients and shows you exactly how to achieve it.” — Harvard Business Review Press

About Heidi K. Gardner

Heidi K. Gardner, PhD, is a Distinguished Fellow in the Center on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School.  She also serves as a Lecturer on Law and the Faculty Chair of the school’s Accelerated Leadership Program executive course.  She was previously on the faculty at Harvard Business School.  Gardner has also been awarded an International Research Fellowship at Oxford University’s Said Business School.

Dr. Gardner’s research focuses on leadership and collaboration in professional service firms, and her book Smart Collaboration: How Professionals and Their Firms Succeed by Breaking Down Silos will be published by Harvard Business Press in January 2016.  Her research received the Academy of Management’s prize for Outstanding Practical Paper with Implications for Management. She has authored or co-authored more than fifty book chapters, case studies, and articles in scholarly and practitioner journals, including the Academy of Management Journal, Administrative Science Quarterly, and Harvard Business Review.  Her first book, Leadership for Lawyers: Essential Strategies for Law Firm Success was co-edited with Rebecca Normand-Hochman and published in 2015.

Dr. Gardner has lived and worked on four continents, including positions with McKinsey & Co. and Procter & Gamble, and as a Fulbright Scholar. She holds a BA in Japanese Studies from the University of Pennsylvania (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa), a masters degree from the London School of Economics (with honors), and a second masters and doctorate in organizational behavior from London Business School.

Book Talk: Norm Champ’s Going Public: My Adventures Inside the SEC and How to Prevent the Next Devastating Crisis, Wed. Nov. 30 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of Going Public: My Adventures Inside the SEC and How to Prevent the Next Devastating Crisis (McGraw-Hill Education, March 17, 2017) by Norm Champ, Lecturer in Law, former Director of the Division of Investment Management at the SEC, and currently a partner in the Private Funds Group at Kirkland & Ellis.  This book talk is co-sponsored by the Harvard Tax Law and Financial Regulation Students Association.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 at noon, with lunch



Harvard Law School Room WCC 2036 Milstein East B (Directions)

1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge

blog-champMore About Going Public: My Adventures Inside the SEC and How to Prevent the Next Devastating Crisis

“In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the U.S. stock market went through seismic ruptures that destroyed businesses and damaged millions of lives. Daily revelations about an overly leveraged investment sector and endless scandal only underlined the vulnerability of the U.S. financial system. Facing its own ineptitude, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had to shape up, but how would that be possible in a dysfunctional agency riddled with bureaucratic bungling, soul-killing work rules, and civil service privileges that defied common sense?

In Going Public, Norm Champ details his time spent as the Director of the Division of Investment Management at the SEC. He offers a rare examination inside a major federal agency during a crisis, and his insights and accounts illuminate conditions in our economy today. His narrative is supported by:

  • Explanations on the inner workings of hedge funds, economic policy and politics, investing, and inefficient federal agencies;
  • Recommendations for policy changes to create healthy, corruption-free markets and help prepare Americans for future crises;
  • First-hand account of how players such as Ben Bernanke and Elizabeth Warren battled to shape Wall Street and financial reform; and
  • Exploration of a string of narrowly averted financial disasters that were hidden from the world including one that has never been made public.

Though there are signals that we are recreating prime conditions for another crisis, Champ shows how policymakers can avoid triggering these events, strengthen America’s financial system, and through commonsense regulation and increased financial literacy, make the U.S. the world’s most vibrant market.” — McGraw-Hill Education

About Norm Champ

Mr. Champ is a lecturer on investment management at Harvard Law School. He began teaching in the fall of 2015, having just completed a term as Visiting Scholar.  He joined Kirkland & Ellis LLP Investment Funds Group as a partner in February 2016. Mr. Champ is the former Director of the Division of Investment Management at the SEC. Under his leadership, the SEC adopted a new rule in July 2014 to reform money market mutual funds.

While at the SEC, Mr. Champ led the creation of the Division’s Risk and Examination Office which monitors the investment management industry to understand risks that regulations should address.  He was the leader of the SEC’s interactions with the Financial Stability Oversight Council as the Council turned its attention to designating asset management firms as “systemically important.” He also worked on crisis management efforts at securities firms to protect customers of those firms. Mr. Champ also headed the creation of Guidance Updates and Senior Level Engagement, initiatives created to provide transparency to the industry and to engage with boards and senior managements of asset management firms, respectively. Mr. Champ also recommended that the Commission adopt the portion of the Volcker Rule covering private funds and other matters. For his service in the Division at the SEC, Mr. Champ received the Chairman’s Award for Law and Policy in 2014, the Chairman’s Award for Labor Management Relations in 2014 and the Chairman’s Analytical Methods Award in 2013.

Prior to becoming the Director of the Division of Investment Management, he was the Deputy Director of the SEC’s Office of Compliance, Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) and the Associate Regional Director for Examinations in the SEC’s New York Regional Office. In that capacity he supervised examinations of broker-dealers, investment advisers/investment companies, exchanges, clearing agencies and credit rating agencies.  While at OCIE in 2011, Mr. Champ received the Chairman’s Award for Law and Policy and the Chairman’s Award for Labor-Management Relations.

Mr. Champ participated in the SEC’s Technical Assistance program in Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong. He is a frequent and seasoned speaker having spoken on securities law topics at SEC programs, Princeton University’s Bendheim Center for Finance, the Practicing Law Institute, ICI, SIFMA, MFA, the Saudi Central Bank, the New York City Bar Association, the International Bar Association, the ACA Compliance Group and others.

Before joining the SEC in 2010, Mr. Champ was Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Chilton Investment Company, an investment adviser to long/short equity hedge funds and managed accounts. Prior to joining Chilton in 1999, Mr. Champ was at the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell.  From 1990 to 1992, Mr. Champ clerked for the Honorable Charles S. Haight, Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Mr. Champ has an A.B., summa cum laude, in History from Princeton University and a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School.  He was a Fulbright Scholar at King’s College London where he received his M.A. in War Studies.

 

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