Harvard Law School is now promoting “prison abolition work.” This is a bad idea, because some people need to be imprisoned to keep them from harming or killing other people. A classic example isKenneth McDuff, known as the “Broomstick Killer.” At the age of 19, after being released from prison on parole, McDuff kidnapped and killed three teenagers, raping and torturing one of them with burns and a broomstick before killing her. Three decades later, after being released from prison yet again on parole, he murdered at least six more women.
But a February 15 email from Assistant Dean Catherine Pattanayak and Associate Director Jillian Tuck says Harvard Law School is looking to hire “public interest fellows” in various areas, “particularly prison abolition work.” That email is below. It is very sad that an institution that once promoted the rule of law is now seeking to abolish prisons and release the dangerous inmates that are found there. Studies of countries with very low incarceration rates have found that letting criminals out early increases the crime rate, and that higher levels of incarceration are a good investment. Abolishing prisons would mean releasing dangerous inmates such as Albert Flick, who killed a woman, stabbing her at least 11 times while her twin sons watched. Before being released, he had previously been imprisoned for 25 years for killing his wife by stabbing her 14 times in front of her daughter.
The email from Harvard Law School to its alumni is below:
We hope this finds you and your families healthy and warm during these winter months.
The Wasserstein Public Interest Fellows Program
Applications for the 2023-24 Wasserstein Fellowship are now open. Wasserstein Fellows are practicing public interest lawyers who have shown a demonstrated facility for mentoring. They spend three days advising individual Harvard Law students, speaking to students in group settings, and assisting the OPIA staff in developing advising resources in their field of practice.
We seek applicants who have shown a long-standing commitment to public interest law and possess interpersonal qualities that will enable them to be effective career advisors. In particular, we aim to select a cohort of Fellows who reflect the diversity of HLS students and who work in practice settings and areas of law that are of particular interest to our current students.
We especially encourage applicants with the following backgrounds and identities:
Latinx, BIPOC, first-generation college and law students
Those working in labor law, anti-trust, health policy, racial justice, public defense and criminal justice reform (particularly prison abolition work), gun violence prevention, preserving democratic norms and institutions, and those working in private public interest or plaintiff’s side law firms.
In addition to our cohort of 10-12 domestic, three-day Fellows, OPIA will select three international law practitioners to spend a full week in residence at Harvard Law School advising students on pathways to international public service at nonprofit organizations and intergovernmental institutions. International Fellows can expect to meet with a high volume of LLMs, as well as JD students. We especially encourage applicants engaged in transitional justice, human rights litigation, digital rights, democratic erosion, and global climate work to apply.
We encourage you to apply for the Fellowship, and/or circulate the opportunity widely among your public interest networks. If you know a colleague, mentor, or mentee that would make a fantastic Wasserstein Fellow, send us their name and email address, and we will invite them to apply.
The application deadline is April 3, 2023.
Any questions about the Wasserstein Fellowship program can be emailed to Jillian Tuck, Associate Director for J.D. and LL.M. Advising, Programs, and Community Building.
The Public Service Venture Fund
This past May, the Public Service Venture Fund (PSVF) selected 20 students and alumni as public interest grant recipients. The Fund awards up to $1.1 million each year in seed money to students and alumni for startup nonprofit ventures and in salary support to graduating J.D. students and judicial law clerks for postgraduate work at nonprofit or government agencies in the United States and abroad.
Public Interest Advising and Clinical Program Updates
In 2021-2022, OPIA conducted 2,218 individual advising appointments and counseled nearly 1,000 individual students and alumni, including approximately 55 percent of the 1L class.
The Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs reports that during the 2021-2022 academic year, there were 1,067 clinical placements among eligible students. As you may be aware, students become eligible for clinic work once they have finished their first year. Students’ participation in winter term clinical placements off campus is returning again after the pandemic where they gain hands-on experience both domestically and around the world. In addition to clinical work, there were 761 placements in volunteer student practice organizations, which students can participate in as early as their 1L year. Students in the class of 2022 performed 378,379 pro bono hours, bringing the total number of student hours to 6,001,401 since the HLS pro bono requirement began with the class of 2005.
This past summer over 400 students took summer public service jobs funded by Harvard Law School’s guaranteed Summer Public Interest Funding (SPIF). They worked in 21 different countries and 34 states, in addition to Washington, D.C.
OPIA has been tracking postgraduate and post-clerkship placement of recent graduates (class years from 2012-2022), and the statistics show, on average, that 20 percent of recent graduates are entering public service work at graduation or after clerking.
We hope that you will continue to help us encourage and enable students and alumni to pursue careers that incorporate public service. Please remember to use our online job submission form to submit any job announcements (including volunteer summer internship positions).For questions about services for alumni, please reach out to Rachel Pemstein, OPIA’s Assistant Director for Alumni Advising. Finally, if you would like to be added to the OPIA alumni email listserv, please email us with your name and graduation year. Our office sends weekly alumni job digests to a growing listserv of over 2,400 alumni.
With warm regards,
Catherine Pattanayak Assistant Dean for Public Service & Director
Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising
Jillian Tuck, Esq. Associate Director for J.D. and LL.M. Advising, Programs, and Community Building
Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising
Promoting and defending liberty, as defined by the nation’s founders, requires both facts and philosophical thought, transcending all elements of our culture, from partisan politics to social issues, the workings of government, and entertainment and off-duty interests. Liberty Unyielding is committed to bringing together voices that will fuel the flame of liberty, with a dialogue that is lively and informative.
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