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Summer 2008

Visionary of the Visayan Sea

For the sake of the planet, a lawyer wins the right to sue on behalf of future generations
Deborah Williams ’87, photographed near Anchorage

Mercury Rising

To save a culture of cold, lawyers turn up the heat
Benjamin Thibault ’09

Jacobs’ Ladder

A new clinic lets students step up to environmental challenges—and onto the first rungs of their careers
Polar bears

What Will It Take?

Eleven leaders in environmental law and policy consider what can be done to slow global warming

Teaching & Learning

Startup for an Ailing Planet

Harvard Law School’s new program, and its faculty director, aim to change the way we think about environmental law

Inside HLS

  • Therese Rohrbeck ’08

    Taking Faith

    While in Guatemala this winter, Therese Rohrbeck touched what remains of The Dream of Pope Gregory IX.

  • Greiner trains litigators to get the most from number crunchers 3

    Greiner trains litigators to get the most from number crunchers

    Jim Greiner, an HLS assistant professor of law, created a unique course as a joint endeavor between HLS and the Harvard statistics department, where Greiner, who holds a Ph.D. in statistics, is an affiliate. The 13 law students will be taking and defending two depositions each, one involving a political redistricting hypothetical and the other involving an employment discrimination case.

  • War Crimes Through the Looking Glass

    This January, when the trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor resumed in The Hague, much of the world was watching. So were 11 Harvard Law students—from about 20 feet away.

  • Professor Kenneth Mack ’91

    The Slugfest, in Historical Perspective

    Some say the Clinton-Obama fight reflects a historical tension between blacks and women in the struggle for equality. A legal historian says the truth is not so simple—and far more interesting.

  • Elena Kagan


    The past five years have brought remarkable growth and change to Harvard Law School. Here, the Bulletin takes a time-out for a brief recap and puts five questions to Dean Elena Kagan ’86.

Mightier Than the S-word

Randall Kennedy knows what it’s like to be called a sellout. Throughout his 24-year career at Harvard Law School, Kennedy has developed a reputation as a professor who is not afraid to challenge orthodoxies—sometimes to the alarm of liberals and black Americans.

Filling in the Gaps

Most judges, faced with the task of interpreting unclear statutes, want to do the right thing, says Harvard Law School Professor Einer Elhauge ’86. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy.

A Labor of Love on Love’s Labors

As a 3L at Yale Law School in the mid-1960s, Charles Donahue studied a series of decisions by Pope Alexander III (1159-1181) that became the basis of marriage law in Western Europe for the next three centuries. At the time, he didn’t realize how they would come to rule his own life.

Sharia as Backlash

Professor Noah Feldman has done plenty of thinking about the intersection of religion and law, particularly in the Arab World.

Alumni Notes and Newsmakers

  • Steve Emery ’89 and Mark Van Norman ’86

    For the Next Generations

    Last summer, in South Dakota, when Steve Emery ’89 was made chief of the Prairie Dwelling Lakota, he was given the name Naca Wamni Omni (Chief Whirlwind). The name was meant to reflect his power with words, and the honor was the culmination of a career spent advocating for the sovereignty of his people—a mission he has shared with his brother, Mark Van Norman ’86.

  • Deborah Isser ’96

    Wanderlust for the Rule of Law

    In rural Liberia, locals have a method for determining if someone is guilty of witchcraft. They administer poison to the suspect. If he survives, he’s innocent. That’s the sort of anachronism that vexes Deborah Isser ’96, a senior program officer at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

  • Haitian woman

    Letter from Port-au-Prince: Can Human-Rights Law Feed Haiti?

    The graffiti started appearing in mid-February: “Aba Lavichè!” Lavi chè was Creole for la vie chère—the high cost of living. I should have realized. Rising prices for gas, basic foodstuffs and school fees had been the talk since I’d arrived last August to work for a small NGO that does human-rights law.

  • H. Marshall Sonenshine ’85

    A chat with H. Marshall Sonenshine ’85

    H. Marshall Sonenshine ’85 is chairman and managing partner of Sonenshine Partners, a New York-based investment banking firm, which has completed billions of dollars in M&A and restructuring deals in a broad range of industries worldwide.

  • Turf Wars and Muddy Waters

    When Becca O’Brien ’05 and Ommeed Sathe ’06 returned to HLS last October to talk about building partnerships in post-Katrina New Orleans, they gave a painstaking account of what should, but doesn’t, work.

  • Aiming for 55

    Nationwide, only 24 percent of all judgeships are held by women. In federal courts, women make up barely 20 percent of the bench. Massachusetts Appeals Court Judge Fernande “Nan” Duffly ’78 wants to see these numbers rise and is passionate about making it happen.