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Bar News - October 17, 2008

Dean of Harvard Law School Gives King Lecture


David G. Snyder, Mary Susan Leahy, Dean John Hutson, Dean Elena Kagan, Justice John Broderick, Jr., and Susan Duprey.

Elena Kagan, the Dean of Harvard Law School and a leading scholar of administrative law, was the guest speaker for this yearís John W. King Lecture Series presented by the NH Supreme Court Society at the NH Supreme Court on Oct. 6. Kagan, the Charles Hamilton Houston Professor of Law, has served as Dean of Harvard Law School since 2003.

She was introduced by Mary Susan Leahy, president of the NH Supreme Court Society. Also speaking briefly were Society members Hon. Philip S. Hollman, chair of the NH Bar Foundation, Justice John T. Broderick Jr., Chief Justice of the NH Supreme Court, and Dean John D. Hutson, president and dean of Franklin Pierce Law Center.

Dean Kagan spoke about Harvard Law Schoolís groundbreaking changes in curriculum implemented last year. For more than 130 years, Harvardís curriculum has been modeled on the case method of legal instruction pioneered by Dean Christopher Columbus Langdell in 1882. Indeed, the case method continues to serve as the foundation for most law school instruction.

Shortly after taking the helm, Dean Kagan spent "a lot of time talking to alumni and faculty who felt that our curriculum needed to catch up with the changing nature of the law in the world." A nine-member committee was formed, including Kagan, seeking to answer, "What are the attributes and goals of great law schools in the 21st century?"

"How we train lawyers has a ripple effect," Kagan said. "It has an effect far beyond both lawyers and the legal profession, extending to every one of you and in fact, to everyone in this country and the world beyond it."

At Harvard, there was agreement among all those consulted that change was needed in three key areas: providing students with an international perspective, providing more training in the legislative and regulatory process, and guiding students in shaping their upper-level studies so they can develop a particular focus without being narrowed into specialists.

The King Lecture was funded by the New Hampshire Bar Foundationís Advancement of Justice Fund. To listen to Dean Kaganís lecture, visit the Press Room page on the New Hampshire Bar Foundationís website:


Supreme Court Rule 42(9) requires all NH admitted attorneys to notify the Bar Association of any address change, home or office.

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