The Spring Ahead – Harvard Law Today

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Harvard law students bring unique experiences to law school, and all have tailored their academic careers to explore their individual interests, while contributing to the community in a myriad of ways. As they prepare to graduate, several members of the Harvard Law School Class of 2022 reflect on the interests they brought — and the experiences and lessons they will draw — from their time at Harvard Law.


“I felt so strongly that this was the right place”

Credit: Lorin Granger

Jackson Beard ’22 has known she’s wanted to be a lawyer since she was 14 – and she remembers the exact moment that put her on the path to Harvard Law School and her future career.

It was during high school history class, when Beard’s teacher was giving a lesson on international war crimes and the International Criminal Court. “I remember being shocked and horrified by what had happened in the past and what was still happening,” she says. “I approached my teacher and said, ‘Well, what do we do about it? We know who is responsible for much of what happened, so what are the consequences? »

Beard, who will graduate on May 26, says his professor told him the courts are one way to hold war criminals accountable – but justice can still sometimes be elusive. For Beard, that was not enough. “That’s when I knew I wanted to be a lawyer. I thought that would put me on the right track to do something about it. Read Jackson’s story


Inspired by aiga and community

JV Langkilde, wearing a blue patterned shirt and necklace, sits in a chair outside the Harvard Law School campus.

Credit: Lorin Granger

For JV Langkilde ’22, it’s all about community.

“Growing up in American Samoa, I lived close to a lot of family,” he says. “We had land where my mother and her children lived, her brother and her children, and their sister and their children. That’s pretty typical for Samoan families – not only do we live next to each other, but sometimes we even have intergenerational and interfamily households.

Born in Hawaii and raised in American Samoa, Langkilde says his background, coupled with the Samoan accent on aiga – his family – instilled in him a deep appreciation for the connection between people. It is this passion for building and nurturing relationships that Langkilde says has defined much of his life – including his time as a student at Harvard Law School, from which he will graduate on May 26.

“It’s such an important part of Samoan culture, the importance of community, of helping others,” he says. “It still shapes me today.” Read the JV story


A focus on empowerment

A woman in a white blazer stands in a doorway on the campus of Harvard Law School.

Credit: Lorin Granger

Four years ago, Jesselina Rana LL.M. ’22 was studying for the bar in Nepal and seeking employment after earning a law degree from the National Law University in Delhi, India, where she focused on women’s rights and human rights. His then acquaintance, Shubhangi Rana, a civil engineer, was also looking for a job, and while they were sitting over coffee in Kathmandu, they had an idea.

In India, universities and some other public places had vending machines for sanitary napkins, but there was nothing similar in Nepal. The two friends decided to create a social enterprise that would generate income, but also have a significant social impact by providing women with a much needed service. They decided to start with a small project by importing ten vending machines to Nepal, and very quickly their business, Pad2Go, was born.

“We weren’t just selling a product, but creating a market for a product that never existed,” said Rana, who while graduating from Harvard Law School this year continued to focus on women’s rights and human rights. “In Hindu culture, at least in Nepal, menstruation is considered impure.” During their menstrual cycles, women are often expected to sleep separately from their husbands, or even, in rural areas, to sleep outside the house in a stable. “We thought it would be a big challenge to create a market in a taboo concept like menstruation.” Read Jesselina’s story


Engage in a Good Faith Discussion

A man in a blue blazer stands in front of a building on the campus of Harvard Law School.

Credit: Lorin Granger

Harvard Law School graduate student Jacob Richards ’22 says he is pleased with how his conservative views have been accepted by his colleagues on campus over the past three years.

“I went into law school wondering if I would be rejected for expressing conservative views,” said Richards, president of the Harvard Federalist Society. “Instead, I’ve found that most of my peers are willing and willing to engage in a good faith discussion about difficult issues. And the size and strength of HLS’s conservative network means center-right students don’t feel socially isolated here as they might at smaller schools.

The first law student in his family, Richards grew up in Phoenix and grew up looking up to Arizona Republicans like former senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, who strayed somewhat from the conservative mainstream. And he learned early on to enjoy a bit of fiery political speech. Read Jacob’s Story


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