Mass Historical Society: On the Battlefield of Merit: Harvard Law School, the First Century


Wednesday, June 15, 2016, 6:00pm to 7:00pm


1154 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02215

Reception at 5:30pm

Daniel Coquillette and Bruce Kimball, Harvard Law School

$20 (free for MHS members)

Harvard Law School is the oldest and, arguably, the most influential law school in the nation. During its first century, Harvard Law School pioneered revolutionary educational ideas, including professional legal education within a university, Socratic questioning and case analysis, and the admission and training of students based on academic merit. But the school struggled to navigate its way through the many political, social, economic, and legal crises of the century, and it earned both scars and plaudits as a result.On the Battlefield of Merit offers a candid, critical, definitive account of a unique legal institution during its first century of influence. Daniel R. Coquillette and Bruce A. Kimball examine the school’s deep involvement in the Civil War, its reluctance to admit minorities and women, its anti-Catholicism, and its financial missteps at the turn of the twentieth century. Currently working on the second volume that will bring the story to the present, the authors will also relate this history to recent challenges faced by the school including questions of the relation of its seal to a fortune made on the backs of slaves.