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Welcome 1Ls!

August 3rd, 2009 · No Comments

Dear 1Ls,

The Harvard Legal Theory Forum welcomes you to HLS!

What is the Harvard Legal Theory Forum?
The Harvard Legal Theory Forum is an organization that was founded last fall to provide a venue to discuss legal theory and philosophy of law. The Harvard Legal Theory Forum provides a venue for students at Harvard Law School, graduate students at other schools in Harvard, and other scholars, to discuss legal theory and provide feedback to each other on their ideas about legal theory. The Forum provides a home for legal theory that does not fit neatly within other legal fields and is open to anyone interested in discussing or learning about legal theory.
“Legal theory” is an ecumenical term. The terminology of law and philosophy is often used in Anglo-American academia to connote a very methodologically narrow field. Many people are not particularly interested in “philosophy of law” in this sense but are interested in meta-accounts of law that draw from Continental philosophy, feminist or queer theory, literary theory and criticism, history, political science, economics, or of other fields. The Forum accommodates these approaches to legal theory, as well as “law and philosophy.”
Therefore, the Harvard Legal Theory Forum promotes the study of legal theory at Harvard Law School by holding regular meetings of reading groups to discuss texts on legal theory and hosting colloquia for students and/or professors to present works in progress on legal theory.

Who we are:
The organization represents students at the law school interested in legal theory and philosophy of law, including JDs, LLMs, and SJDs. We provide a venue for any students who wish to do so to workshop their work on legal theory.

What we do:
• Reading Groups: We meet biweekly to discuss law review articles on legal theory. These meetings are open to the entire Harvard community. Last year, we read articles from David Kennedy and Terry Fisher’s The Canon of American Legal Thought.
• Workshopping Papers: We provide a venue for researchers or students to workshop papers that they are working on that are related to legal theory. Two authors did so last spring, and many more students will have the opportunity to do so this year.
• Faculty Speakers: We arrange talks by faculty members on topics in legal theory. Cass Sunstein gave a talk last fall, and and Christine Desan gave one in the spring. We also co-sponsored a panel on proportionality with HELA last fall. This year, in addition to arranging talks by HLS faculty members, we plan to bring speakers from other universities to campus to deliver talks on legal theory.

Want more information?
You can join or mailing list by emailing, or find more information on our website, at

Jonathan Gingerich
Chair, Harvard Legal Theory Forum

Tags: Administration