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Happy Two Hundred Years Harvard Law
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Harvard Law

Summary: Harvard Law School is celebrating its 200th year with three big events throughout the school year.

Harvard Law School has made quite an impact on the legal industry and world since its establishment two hundred years ago. The law school has trained presidents, CEOs, senators, and even six of the nine sitting Supreme Court justices.


In celebration of its beginning in 1817, Harvard Law will be having three events over the course of the school year. Professor Richard Lazarus explained that each event has been designed to “show what an interesting place [Harvard] is by doing interesting things, rather than talking about how interesting we are.” Lazarus is the faculty chair of the bicentennial planning committee.

The first birthday event, “HLS in the Arts” will take place at the beginning of the school year to celebrate their involvement in culture. The event will be a festival on September 15 and 16 with film screenings and performances by staff, students, faculty, and alumni as well as conversations with alumni in the arts. Harvard Law has a number of actors, screenwriters, producers, composers, company presidents, and authors that will be participating, including WWE star David Otunga, Lionsgate president of business and legal affairs Patricia Laucella and Pulitzer Prize winner Annette Gordon-Reed.

Lazarus said, “It’s not what you think Harvard Law School would do.” The event “underscores the reach of the law school in different ways that are surprising, and also fun.”

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The main celebration will take place during the annual reunion weekend in October. On the 26th, “HLS in the World” will take place to bring thousands of people together for “a jamboree of intellectual discussion and debate.” The event will feature over 60 seminars where students can engage with alums, faculty, and others in discussions of impeachment law, entertainment law, human rights, and more. Some of the notable speakers joining in this event are Senators Tim Kaine and Elizabeth Warren, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and former ambassador Samantha Power.

Professor John Goldberg said there has been a “real effort to bring people in from far and wide; people from the Boston community, and from the legal community. We don’t want this to be a kind of navel-gazing exercise where we talk about ourselves to ourselves. We want it to be an occasion where we open ourselves up to participation from a wider range of people.”

The last celebration will be a spring alumni weekend in April. This event, “HLS in the Community,” will serve as a “public interest, public service forum with alums.” They plan to “highlight the political education of the law school” but do not have speakers or a schedule planned yet.

Goldberg added, “I think the goal is to stop for a moment and both appreciate what’s been accomplished, which is a lot, but also take note of the things that have gone badly or we should’ve done differently or that are not proud moments in our history. It’s an occasion to both celebrate and critically self-examine.”

Who would you like to see speak or participate in Harvard Law’s celebration events? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn about some things Harvard Law is not so proud of, read these articles:



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