Harvard Law School


Harvard Square

Cultural Importance of the New Harvard Law School Dean: John Manning

August 04, 2017

The disconnect between the legal academy and the world it prepares students for can be stark. By one estimate, only 13% of professors at top-100 law school are conservative. By comparison, approximately 45% of federal circuit judges were appointed by Republicans, with more to come (137 seats lie open to President Trump to fill.) This has more real-world consequences than the political imbalance of, say, your average sociology department: a law school grad appearing before a Bush-appointed judge, who is not thoroughly familiar with originalist or conservative thinking, will not be best able to represent their client.

It was therefore a welcome surprise when, in early June, Harvard Law School named a conservative as its next dean. That HLS did this at a moment of increasingly acute partisan divide on campuses and in the country at large only underscores the importance, and boldness, of the move.

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