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News@Law, 05/04/2017

News@Law is a selection of the day's news clips regarding Harvard Law School.
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Today's News

The New York Times
Harvard Law Expands Deferral Program, Pushing Students to Gain Work Experience
Harvard Law School, expanding a pilot program for Harvard undergraduates, said Wednesday that it would allow juniors accepted from any college to defer admission as long as they finish college and spend at least two years working, studying or pursuing research or fellowships...Harvard Law’s latest step allows college graduates to broaden their experience while knowing they have a secure law school berth, said Jessica L. Soban, the school’s associate dean for admissions and strategic initiatives. “This allows students to go and do something they love, and not to feel they have to build their résumé,” Ms. Soban said...“By offering admission to the most promising college juniors, we can encourage them to pursue important and fulfilling experiences without concerns about effects on a later application to law school,” Martha Minow, the law school’s dean, said in a statement.
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The Atlantic
The Age of Misinformation
An op-ed by Jonathan Zittrain. There are two big problems with America’s news and information landscape: concentration of media, and new ways for the powerful to game it. First, we increasingly turn to only a few aggregators like Facebook and Twitter to find out what’s going on the world, which makes their decisions about what to show us impossibly fraught. Those aggregators draw—opaquely while consistently—from largely undifferentiated sources to figure out what to show us. They are, they often remind regulators, only aggregators rather than content originators or editors. Second, the opacity by which these platforms offer us news and set our information agendas means that we don’t have cues about whether what we see is representative of sentiment at large, or for that matter of anything, including expert consensus.
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The Chronicle of Higher Education
Why More Historians Are Embracing the Amicus Brief
Can historians make their work count in the courts without compromising on their academic principles? It’s a question more scholars now have reason to grapple with. Historians say they feel that they are being asked to write or sign amicus briefs in Supreme Court cases more frequently...Ms. [Tomiko] Brown-Nagin is a strong proponent of historians’ playing an active role in court. She says worrying about whether a position in one case will hurt an argument in another "assumes a consistency and coherence in law that is just not there." Furthermore, there’s a growing need for people with a firm grasp of the facts to weigh in on consequential cases, she said. "We’re in an era where there’s skepticism of expertise," Ms. Brown-Nagin said. "It’s important for historians and others to assert their authority and push back."
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Huffington Post
The Most Powerful Lawyer In Florida Is Keeping Criminal Justice Reform At Bay
An op-ed by Ronald Sullivan. Who is Buddy Jacobs, and how does he block criminal justice reform in Florida?...For almost 50 years, Jacobs has served as General Counsel and Lobbyist for the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association – an organization that includes the 20 elected prosecutors for every district in Florida. Jacobs, now in his late 70s, started lobbying on behalf of the FPAA just a few years out of law school. The FPAA sees itself as primarily educational, and its voice is particularly strong in the state capital as it advises the legislature on criminal justice issues. Florida’s prison population increased by more than 1000% and correction spending increased 98% ― 1.1 billion dollars ― between 1994 and 2014. During that time, Jacobs has been a stalwart advocate for retro superpredator-era pro-carceral policies. Indeed, Buddy Jacobs is one of the most powerful forces keeping the state stuck in the past.
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Montgomery Adviser
A quick death in Alabama
An op-ed by Ronald Sullivan. Alabama recently took a small but important step forward in reforming its criminal justice system when the legislature voted to eliminate judicial override in capital cases last month, but all of that progress could come to a screeching halt if the “Fair Justice Act” is allowed to pass. The deceitfully named bill (it is neither fair nor just) would shorten the time for appeals and reduce already inadequate resources that death row prisoners have when appealing their convictions. Alabama has clearly put its head in the sand and is ignoring its own disgraceful experience with wrongful convictions and the death penalty, as well as current recommendations from other states.
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Sun Journal
Maine should ban cruel elephant acts
An op-ed by Delcianna Winders. The Kora Shrine Circus’ recent stint at Androscoggin Bank Colisee serves as a stark reminder of the importance of LD 396 — a bill being considered by the Maine Legislature that would ban the use of elephants in traveling acts. The Hamid Circus — the notorious company that puts on the Kora Shrine Circus — exemplifies the need for this kind of legislation. Hamid has partnered with an elephant exhibitor who racked up hundreds of animal welfare violations, including repeatedly chaining an elephant so tightly she could barely move. According to a whistleblower’s report to the federal government, this trainer also “turned off the lights and beat” his elephant while she “was staked down by all four legs” and “directed others to take part in that by using other objects such as [a] sledge hammer and shovel handles.”
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The Washington Post
It’s now possible to get accepted into Harvard Law before the end of junior year and take a few years off
Beginning this fall, juniors in college can apply to Harvard Law School through a deferred-admissions program intended to encourage students to pursue another experience for a couple of years before starting their legal education. School officials particularly hope to lure students interested in science, technology, engineering and math fields to consider the law, since advanced technical knowledge and skills are in demand. “It’s incredibly valuable to have your attorney understand the underlying biology or the underlying coding systems or the underlying physics that are driving the legal questions,” said Jessica Soban, associate dean for admissions and strategic initiatives.
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The National Law Journal
Harvard Law Will Save Undergrads a Spot—Terms and Conditions Apply
College juniors around the globe will soon have the chance to snag a seat at Harvard Law School—with a catch. They must first graduate and work for two years before showing up on the law campus. The school announced Wednesday that it is expanding a three-year-old pilot program that allows juniors at Harvard College to apply and gain early admission with the agreement that they work, study, complete a fellowship or conduct research for at least two years after finishing their undergraduate degrees and before starting their legal studies. Beginning in the fall, juniors from any college or university, as well as their international equivalents, are eligible for the school’s Junior Deferral Program. It’s believed to be the first program of its kind at a U.S. law school, said Jessica Soban, associate dean for admissions and strategic initiatives...Legal employers are increasingly looking to hire law students with some work experience, Soban said, and those experiences make for richer classroom discourse. “Having someone who can draw on their real-world experiences or who can draw on a difficult client situation, that’s something that’s really valuable and makes the classroom discussion much more robust,” she said.
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