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  • Columbia Leads in Sending Grads into Big Law

    February 24, 2015

    ...Columbia Law School retained its place as the top provider of law graduates hired by those big firms, and the University of Pennsylvania jumped from fifth to second place on The National Law Journal's annual Go-To Law Schools list..."I think things are better," said Mark Weber, assistant dean for career services at Harvard Law School. "You can feel it. There is a healthy sense of cautious optimism, and that wasn't always the case."..."Harvard also saw a small increase in the percentage of graduates hired by large firms in 2014, Weber said. "I don't think we're back to the days of the early 2000s, but it's a much healthier picture than before," he said. "We're very fortunate that employers come to Harvard and hire our students, and they are hiring even more now."

  • Who should have the key to your messages? (audio)

    February 24, 2015

    Remember when UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, said that he wanted to pass a law that would compel messaging apps to provide a backdoor for security agencies? That would, in effect, ban encrypted software that has no key. President Barack Obama agreed with him. In response to that proposal, Jonathan Zittrain, a professor of internet law at Harvard University, wrote an open letter to Cameron, explaining why he thinks it’s a “very bad idea.” It’s one thing to try and regulate WhastApp, says Zittrain, because the government knows where Facebook “lives,” and the Silicon Valley company has assets that could be seized. But what happens when someone produces the next wildly popular messaging app? What if that someone happens to be, as Zittrain wrote in his letter, “two caffeine-fueled university sophomores?” They would be pretty hard to regulate, or even find, according to him. “You’re kind of stuck, which means you have to go double or nothing,” says Zittrain. “You now have to try to regulate the entire app ecosystem.”

  • Buju Banton Case: Special Prosecutor Appointed to Investigate Rogue Juror

    February 24, 2015

    Ever since Buju Banton, one of Jamaica's most talented and controversial reggae singers, was convicted of cocaine trafficking and gun charges in 2011, there have been signs his trial was not on the up-and-up...So is there a wider probe into potential misconduct that could move Banton a step closer to freedom? "I hope," says defense attorney Charles Ogletree, who heads Harvard Law School's Institute for Race and Justice. He has been representing Banton (real name Mark Myrie) for the past year. "Here we have a wildcat juror, somebody who's going way beyond their authority and doing things that were completely inappropriate. This undermined the search for truth, which resulted, I think, in the conviction of [Banton]."

  • Girls Dropping Math? Blame Teachers

    February 24, 2015

    An op-ed by Cass Sunstein. The U.S. has a pressing need to increase the number of well-educated graduates in science, technology, engineering and math, pretty much everyone agrees...But why, exactly, aren’t more girls focusing on math and science?...A new study...indicates that much of the problem lies with biased primary school teachers, who have major and enduring influences on female achievement. That’s really hard to prove, but Victor Lavy of the University of Warwick and Edith Sand of Tel Aviv University found a way by studying children in Israel.

  • After Controversial Attendance Study, Committee Will Discuss Privacy

    February 24, 2015

    After University President Drew G. Faust referred the discussion of news that researchers had photographed thousands of students last year without their knowledge to an electronic oversight committee, that body is discussing the broad implications related to privacy and expects to report back to her by the end of the term...“The committee has not been charged with investigating or reporting on the attendance study,” the chair of the group, Harvard Law School professor John C. P. Goldberg, wrote in an email last month. He added that the “study served as a springboard for general discussions among committee members about privacy interests that may be at stake when classrooms are observed.”

  • Lawyers are dealing with changing rules on college sexual assault

    February 24, 2015

    As colleges grapple with the recent publicity over campus sexual assaults and violence, so, too, are lawyers dealing with the complicated legal issues involved in filing and investigating grievances. The problem, some lawyers say, is that due process has been abandoned in campus disciplinary procedures that address student-on-student sexual misconduct claims...There’s a sense among some law school faculty that Harvard should have pushed back on the OCR finding, particularly regarding due process rights for the accused, says professor Elizabeth Bartholet, one of the signers. “There are many university leaders who have a problem with the policy. Harvard could have provided an important leadership role in terms of challenging the government. I think [universities] are very nervous and are acting incredibly timidly,” says Bartholet, who serves as faculty director of the law school’s Child Advocacy Program.

  • A Case for Opening Schools to Worship

    February 23, 2015

    An op-ed by Noah Feldman. Can New York City bar religious worship in its school buildings? This very basic question about the First Amendment has been hotly contested in the courts for years -- and the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to announce Monday whether it will take the case. If it does, as I expect it will, the case will probably be a landmark in constitutional law. It poses perfectly the tension between the free exercise of religion on the one hand and the nonestablishment of religion on the other. Getting it right won't be easy for the court, because there's no one right answer.

  • Black Studies Matters

    February 23, 2015

    Will the Black Lives Matter movement succeed? The entire country waits with bated breath to hear that question answered. And although pundits and protestors alike have compared Black Lives Matter to the civil rights movement generally in order to evaluate and predict the future of the contemporary demonstrations, a specific branch of that earlier campaign deserves additional attention...Bradley sees some promise in smaller reforms that have been made in Ferguson’s municipal government, as well as in the few policy goals—like putting cameras on police officers—that have begun to emerge. McKenzie Morris [`15], president of the Harvard Black Law Students Association, expressed hope to the HPR that these policies would take hold. “The police cameras, in my opinion, are the first tangible step through which people are trying to get to the main goal, which is accountability,” she said. “That is the main policy goal out of all of this: a true checks and balances system that does not currently exist.”

  • Texas County Refuses To Accept Federal Checkpoint Drug Cases

    February 23, 2015

    A border county in Texas with two U.S. Border Patrol highway checkpoints is refusing to prosecute drug cases previously sent to it from those checkpoints. The county—and all four states bordering Mexico—wants funding from Washington, D.C. to handle cases that federal prosecutors decide to send to state courts...Jennifer Chacón at the University of California Irvine School of Law said the Texas case isn’t unfolding in a vacuum. “What we are seeing is part of a broader set of developments that have been caused by Congressional choices about funding law enforcement, particularly along the southern border,” she said...“It is telling that we see this in Hudspeth County, in the state of Texas, a state that has drug laws aligned with the federal government’s zero tolerance approach,” she said from Cambridge, Mass., where she is a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School.

  • Obama’s Expected Keystone Pipeline Veto Is Likely to Be the First in a Wave

    February 23, 2015

    Wielding the weapon of his pen, President Obama this week is expected to formally reject a Republican attempt to force construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. But in stopping the transit of petroleum from the forests of Alberta to the Gulf Coast, Mr. Obama will be opening the veto era of his presidency...Jody Freeman, director of Harvard’s environmental law program and a former senior counselor to the president, said there was no doubt that Mr. Obama would veto such an effort if Republicans got it through Congress.

  • Calpine, Harvard Law Professors Defend EPA Carbon Plan (registration)

    February 23, 2015

    Natural gas power company Calpine Corp. and a group of Harvard University law professors on Thursday told the D.C. Circuit that the EPA must be allowed to finalize its greenhouse gas reduction plan for existing power plants before any legal challenges may be decided. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan has been challenged by coal mining company Murray Energy Corp., along with a variety of states and other industry groups. They have alleged the agency lacks the authority to issue the rule and that the rule would harm their economic health. But in separate amici briefs, Calpine and Harvard law professors Richard Lazarus and Jody Freeman said the EPA is on firm ground.

  • Penn law professors join critics of university sexual assault policies

    February 23, 2015

    A group of professors from the University of Pennsylvania Law School have added their voices to the debate about how best to ensure fairness as universities strive to respond to sexual violence. The open letter by 16 professors acknowledges that sexual assault is a serious concern, but criticizes revised procedures adopted by the university Feb. 1...“More and more people are seeing that there are competing interests and values … that need to be brought into the discussion,” says Janet Halley, a Harvard Law professor who was among those who signed a similar letter in October objecting to revised policies at Harvard University.

  • Judge Issues No Final Decision on Divest Lawsuit

    February 23, 2015

    A Massachusetts Superior Court judge on Friday did not issue a final decision on motions by Harvard and the state Attorney General’s office to dismiss a lawsuit suing the University to divest from fossil fuels...The student complainants, for their part, said they were optimistic for their case. “I feel like we definitely presented the case in the way we intended,” plaintiff and Harvard Law School student Joseph E. Hamilton [`16] said after the hearing. “We are optimistic [the judge] will rule in our favor.”

  • Lawsuits’ Lurid Details Draw an Online Crowd

    February 23, 2015

    Intimate, often painful allegations in lawsuits — intended for the scrutiny of judges and juries — are increasingly drawing in mass online audiences far from the courthouses where they are filed...“It’s not clear that lighting a match and dropping it in the public sphere is going to be a reliable way to bring closure,” said Jonathan Zittrain, a Harvard professor of Internet law who compared the practice to the old campus tactic of scrawling the names of alleged rapists on women’s bathroom walls.

  • Smells Like Cyberspace Spirit

    February 20, 2015

    An op-ed by Josephine Wolff, a Ph.D. candidate at MIT and a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society: oted nerdy songwriter and mathematician Tom Lehrer has written dozens of popular comedic scientific ditties, including that staple of high school chemistry classes: the periodic table of elements set to the tune of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Major-General’s Song.” (You may also be familiar with “New Math” and “Who’s Next,” an ode to nuclear proliferation). Among his lesser works is a satirical homage to the former Atomic Energy Commission (“where the scenery’s attractive, and the air is radioactive”). But writing theme songs for secretive government agencies isn’t the exclusive domain of parodists, as we learned last week when the Cyberspace Administration of China released its earnest musical number, “Cyberspace Spirit.” According to the Wall Street Journal’s English translation of the Chinese lyrics, the administration’s well-rehearsed chorus, costumed in tuxedoes and matching red dresses and arranged in orderly rows at the center of a brightly lit stage, trumpets the “clarity and brightness” of the Chinese Internet as a “beam of incorruptible sunlight,” reminding listeners that “the Web is where glorious dreams are!” To reiterate: This is not a parody.

  • Q&A With Lani Guinier: Redefining The ‘Merit’ In Meritocracy

    February 20, 2015

    As a high school student, Lani Guinier wrote a letter to the College Board over a math question on the SAT that she found problematic. When she got to Harvard's Radcliffe College, her roommate announced that she was worried about something: With her perfect SAT score she'd have trouble finding someone to marry. "Her bragging ... and my nagging," were two sparks of a lifelong interest in what Guinier calls "the testocracy." Now a professor at Harvard Law School, she has written a book, The Tyranny of the Meritocracy, that calls for a rethinking of who gains admission to schools like Harvard. You talk in the book about the correlations between SAT scores and family incomes. But some people argue that the SAT is more meritocratic than the networks of influence that it replaced. Most of the students admitted to competitive colleges are not poor or working class. There may be a few but it's very few.Part of the reason that upper middle and upper class students are more likely to get admitted is because they're more likely to do well on the SAT.

  • An Interview with Kenneth W. Mack, Inaugural Lawrence D. Biele Professor of Law

    February 20, 2015

    Today’s interview is a guest post by Liah Love Caravalho, a program specialist in the Office of Legislative and External Relations of the Law Library of Congress. Below, Liah provides an interview with Kenneth W. Mack, inaugural Lawrence D. Biele Professor of Law at Harvard University. Prof. Mack was a speaker at the 2013 Library of Congress National Book Festival, where he discussed his book, Representing the Race: The Creation of the Civil Rights Lawyer. He is also the co-editor of The New Black: What Has Changed–and What Has Not–with Race in America. Please share your educational and academic background and specifically what made you decide that law was your true vocation? I started my professional life as an electrical engineer, designing computer chips at Bell Laboratories in the late 1980s after my graduation from Drexel University. I went to law school because I wanted to try something different. I liked technology, but I didn’t feel as though it was my life’s passion. This was, of course, before the development of the World Wide Web, social media, bio-engineering and other fields that now make technology seem like the place to be. I thought that law was my true calling almost from the day I started Harvard Law School. We seemed to be grappling with problems of inequality, politics, economics, policy and history–although we were doing it using lawyers’ tools. It was one of the most exciting periods in my life, and it just seemed completely different than engineering.

  • NSA or Not, Surveillance Malware Endangers Internet

    February 19, 2015

    Malware linked with the National Security Agency that has been used to spy on computers around the world​​​​​​​​​​ threatens to ma​​​ke the Internet less safe by spreading sophisticated infections that are increasingly difficult to remove. ... The Equation group's malware has infected a broad range of targets, including government and military organizations, telecom and energy businesses, banks, nuclear researchers, the media and Islamic activists, according to Kaspersky. Malware has targeted most of these groups in Iran, along with Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria, the cybersecurity firm reports. The U.S. may not be on that list, but the malware is a threat to the entire Internet because “everything depends on everything else” in our interconnected digital world, according to a blog post by Bruce Schneier, a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. “We need to figure out how to maintain security in the face of these sorts of attacks, because we're all going to be subjected to the criminal versions of them in three to five years,” Schneier said.

  • Something Is Going Right: Net Neutrality and the FCC

    February 19, 2015

    An op-ed by Lawrence Lessig: Imagine that when you plugged something into an electrical outlet, the outlet queried the device and demanded identification. Was it a Sony TV or Panasonic? Was it a Dell or an Apple? And then based on that identification, different levels of quality or reliability of electricity were served at different prices. No doubt such a regime would benefit utility companies. I've not yet met anyone who thinks it would benefit innovation. Thus, it would be something possibly good for network providers, but plainly bad for the market generally. As I've watched the amazing progress that proponents of "network neutrality" have made, I've been astonished both by their success, and by how long this debate has been going on. I first drew the analogy to the electrical grid in testimony before John McCain's subcommittee more than a dozen years ago. Mark Lemley and I tried to lay the issue out, as it applied to the then-raging battle over "open access," almost 15 years ago. ... Defenders of the status quo are now frantically filling the tubes with FUD about the FCC's decision. But as you work through this FUD, keep one basic fact clear. Relative to practically every other comparable nation, America's broadband sucks. Seriously, sucks. Even France beats us in cost and quality. And as the genius Yochai Benkler established in the monumental report by the Berkman Center commissioned by the FCC after Obama was elected, the single most important reason our broadband sucks is the sell-out regulatory strategy of the prior decade at least.

  • Gov. Kitzhaber: Your Job Is Not Yet Done

    February 19, 2015

    An op-ed by Charles Ogletree and Rob Smith: Governor Kitzhaber has given 35 years of steadfast service to the people of Oregon. His tirelessness and courage have helped to forge a State that is the envy of the nation -- a community as strong and prosperous as it is just and fair. But the job is not yet done. In his last few hours in the Capitol Building, Governor Kitzhaber has the opportunity to undertake perhaps the most courageous act of his career, one that would create his most enduring legacy -- the Governor can commute the death sentences of the 34 men and one woman on Oregon's death row. A decision to commute the death sentences would align with contemporary standards of decency in Oregon, and increasing it aligns with the norms of the nation. A recent poll in the Oregonian showed that 74 percent of respondents would support a Kitzhaber decision to commute all existing death sentences. This same sense of decreasing support for capital punishment resonates throughout the country.

  • Group from Mass. helped shift net neutrality fight

    February 19, 2015

    From a stuffy attic in this former industrial city, Tiffiniy Cheng and her friends hatched plans to save the Internet. Fight for the Future, the name they later bestowed on their group of 30-something idealists, stirred an online advocacy movement that swayed President Obama, influenced the Federal Communications Commission, and helped defeat the telecommunications industry, one of the mightiest lobbying powers in Washington. ...  A report released last week by Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society concluded the “networked public space played a central, arguably decisive, role in turning around the Federal Communications Commission policy on net neutrality.” It cited BattleFor-TheNet.com as one of the most influential forces.