LOOKS AT THE
HARVARD LAW SCHOOL
LIFE was the leading twentieth-century magazine of photo-journalism, appearing weekly from 1936 until 1972. With its familiar logo displaying the title in white sans-serif type against a red rectangular background, the magazine dominated its market with a circulation that eventually reached 13.5 million copies a week. In 2008 Google Books digitized the complete file, and it is now a simple matter to obtain hundreds of images of the Harvard Law School, its students and faculty from this period.
The earliest “spread” on the School appeared in the November 1, 1937 issue, coinciding with the appointment of James Landis to the deanship:
LANDIS BECOMES A DEAN
James McCauley Landis gave up his job as chairman of the Securities & Exchange Commission to become dean of the Harvard Law School. This picture shows him in a characteristic pose, lecturing on “contracts” in the classroom where, as a student, he once dazzled professors with his nimble mind. No man could be a better model of the fierce intellectual effort which the Law School expects of its students.
With the title, “At the Harvard Law School the work is hard but the rewards are high/The Cambridge â€˜Incubator of Greatness’ has a new Dean but the same fierce scholarship,” the eight-page articles surveys the rigors of the School’s academic program from a definite “pre-Paper Chase” point-of-view.
STUDY, STUDY, STUDY, STUDY
This picture of furrowed concentration is Barring Hesse Coughlin, of Wilkes-Barre, Pa. In his Princeton University days, Coughlin was a star swimmer but at the Law School he is a proud “grind,” a ranking scholar in his class and a member of the Law Review. The afternoon light, streaming through a window of Langdell Hall, is softened by the green eyeshade, a gadget copied by hundreds of students from the Law School’s great, retired Dean Roscoe Pound.
A copy of the original article is currently on display in the Caspersen Room.
Posted by David Warrington, Librarian for Special Collections
Professor Robert Blomquist of Valparaiso Law (no that’s not him – that’s our own Christopher Columbus Langdell) has written “Thinking about Law and Creativity : On the 100 Most Creative Moments in American Law.”
From the abstract:
This article makes a bold new proposal—the articulation and ranking of America’s most creative legal moments—designed to energize and clarify our synoptic thinking about the nature of legal creativity. Starting with the opinions of numerous eminent legal historians on the most creative moments in Anglo-American law, we will explore the meaning of creative moments in law, and advance to analytically compare legal creativity with other kinds of creativity (corporate, artistic, military and rhetorical). Then we will heuristically entertain a ranking of the top hundred moments in American law and a justification for the ranking.
Coming in at number 17 (just above Oliver Wendell Holmes’ seminal monograph The Common Law) is Langdell’s case method for the study of law, invented right here at HLS, of course, complete with library as “laboratory.”
Blomquist is careful to call his list and ranking “tentative,” so feel free to disagree with him after perusing his rankings and the justifications that follow. But don’t even think of knocking Chris down below the top twenty…
Brian Leiter’s newest ranking of law school graduates on the teaching market (from 2006-08) is out – I see Harvard didn’t fare too badly.
Hat tip to the Law Librarian blog.
HLS 3L JosÃ© Klein has created the Learned Handmade Plates, a series of dishes commemorating significant U.S. Supreme Court decisions and current Justices of the Court.
The Learned Handmade Plates web site shows images of each of the 31 plates and includes detailed information about each case and judge that is depicted.
According to the HLS student newspaper, Klein’s work satisfied his 3L writing requirement.
The plates are available for purchase. Looks like there are also some magnets for sale.
If you’re considering a career in the legal academy, TaxProfBlog has posted an updated list of fellowships for aspiring law professors.
HLS has the largest number of different programs listed, with seven. (Woo hoo, one more than Yale or NYU!!) The post, by Univ. of Cincinnati Associate Dean Paul Caron, also includes a number of links to useful information about becoming a law professor.
Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, the conspirators offer this advice to would-be federal judicial clerks.
Some law schools may worry that their students can’t see the forest for the trees.
Not so at Vermont Law School, where they’ve designed a nice interactive map of various species of trees on the campus.
Red Oak (Quercus rubra) at VLS
The architecture column in today’s Boston Globe is all about the buildings at HLS, particularly the new Northwest Corner building.
The author’s description of “a pompous pile known as Langdell” is what caught my eye.
Send me your own alliterative characterization of our fair edifice, and I’ll post the best ones that I receive.
This article from the National Jurist shows what graduating law students will earn on average. Harvard grads are listed at $110,000/year.
TaxProf Blog has a list of the most overrated law schools among the top 14 in the latest U.S. News & World Report ranking. Harvard is #7. Below that is the latest SSRN ratings where Harvard is still #1.