As we reported, a wide range of Harvard Law School students, represented by over a dozen student groups, issued a set of demands to HLS administrators in light of the failures of grand juries to indict police officers in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

One of the demands was to delay exams, like happened at Columbia University Law School.

HLS did not relent, although it did issue some statements of concern and sympathy.

I have it from reliable sources that law students at Harvard are, as we write, being subjected to the oppression of having to take final exams as scheduled.

Here’s my position:

“The decision of Columbia Law School to allow students selectively to postpone exams as a result of emotional upset over the Ferguson and Garner grand jury decisions shows, once again, how far law schools have strayed from their mission.

Few if any of the students complaining talk about the evidence, the forensics, the law that might have justified the grand jury rulings. Instead, it’s all about them and their emotions. Are we training students to think and act as lawyers, or emotional activists?

If we are training students to be lawyers, we should insist that they act like lawyers, and understand that there will be decisions with which we disagree, but that cannot interfere with our professional obligations.

Cry if you want to, but keep representing your clients, complying with court deadlines, and pushing forward under adversity.”

The mythical Professor Kingsfield from The Paper Chase reportedly was based on the late Harvard Law professor Clark Byse, whose Administrative Law course I took, and who was a wonderful and inspiring curmudgeon.

Here’s how the real and the mythical Kingsfield might have dealt with the demand:

(Language Warning)

Old school and tough love still work.


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