Professor Daryl Levinson was awarded the prestigious Sacks Freund Award for excellence in teaching during Class Day exercises on Wednesday, June 4. He marked the occasion with some humorous remarks, giving the class of 2008 a “review session” of the “ten ideas that explain virtually all of law.”
“This award means more to me than anything else that has happened or, as far as I can imagine, could happen in my professional life,” Levinson said. “Teaching Harvard students is far more challenging and far more rewarding than teaching anyone else anywhere anything. You guys are brilliant, demanding, opinionated, contrarian, and relentless, which is to say, you’re the best students any teacher could hope to have.”
Levinson proceeded to help the graduates “recollect [the] three years of knowledge” they learned in law school. Joking that “class participation is how [we] stretch these few minutes of material out to three years,” he touched upon some of the major themes of the law, including rules vs. standards, collective action problems, and agency.
In closing his remarks, Levinson reminded the students there would be no more books, exams, or classes.
“I regret to inform you, class of 2008, that law school is now over,” he said. “But, that’s ok, because our work here is done. With these ideas under your belt, or wherever your soul is located, you can rest assured that you received every bit of the first-rate legal education that you paid, and paid dearly, for.”
A constitutional law scholar, Levinson joined the Harvard Law faculty in 2005 and was appointed Fessenden Professor of Law last year. He is leading the Law School’s effort to create a more structured program for students who are interested in becoming legal academics. Levinson holds a B.A. from Harvard University and a J.D. and M.A. from the University of Virginia.