A Founder's Retrospective: The Journal at 30 Years

By Abraham, Spencer | Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Winter 2008 | Go to article overview

A Founder's Retrospective: The Journal at 30 Years


Abraham, Spencer, Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy


As the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy celebrates its 30th anniversary, a brief reflection upon the Journal's history and achievements seems appropriate.

The environment at Harvard and most law schools in the mid-1970s was very different than it is today. Not surprisingly, liberal philosophical viewpoints dominated the HLS community at that time. Unlike today, however, there were virtually no sources of alternative argumentation. Few law professors or students were acknowledged moderates and even fewer would admit to conservative inclinations. Consequently, conservative legal thinkers had virtually no receptive legal periodicals in which to publish. At the time, Harvard offered its students the chance to work on a variety of law journals, each advancing one or another form of liberal legal analysis.

Against this backdrop, a small group of conservative Harvard students began meeting during the 1976-77 academic year to try to address the absence of diversity in the Law School's legal publications. The students were dismayed by the lack of balance in the general legal discussion on campus and frustrated that conservative students seeking to gain legal writing experience could only pursue their interests by helping to edit and publish liberal opinions.

Talk led to action and the group ultimately decided to seek Law School funds to launch a journal aimed at presenting conservative and libertarian views on legal and public policy matters. Predictably, others did not share the organizers' zeal. They were told by then-Dean Albert Sachs that Harvard funds would not be made available for the publication of a law journal that openly advocated a particular philosophical viewpoint.

Asked to explain Harvard's support for the Law School's liberal law reviews, the students were informed that those publications were facially neutral and distinguished by subject matter, not philosophy. The fact that very liberal senior editors--who had long dominated such journals--selected only likeminded younger staffers for leadership positions, and published only ideologically-acceptable articles, was treated as sufficient grounds to separate Harvard from responsibility for the unbroken liberal slant to those periodicals.

In response, a fellow student, Steven Eberhard, and I decided to move ahead without Harvard's financial support and establish an independent publication. By the following school year we had found a benefactor willing to help us publish an initial volume and our group--newly constituted and numbering about ten--met again with the Dean.

The reaction was chilly. We were told that, of course, we could publish our own journal, but that we would not be allowed to use the Harvard name in its title because our content might in some way embarrass the institution. In response, we made a compelling argument that Harvard's failure to challenge the use of its name in conjunction with numerous other independently-funded, quasi-scholarly efforts (as well as pizza parlors, liquor stores, and other such entities), largely undermined their current position. Ultimately, we carried the day.

In the spring of 1978 the first volume of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy was published. Our masthead consisted of a handful of HLS students and an advisor who had no connection to the University, because at the time we could not persuade any members of the faculty to openly associate their names with our venture. That first volume contained some 200 pages of mostly public policy content written by individuals largely more famous in political and policy circles than legal ones. Nonetheless, several hundred law libraries bought subscriptions and we were launched.

Financing our first few years' efforts was an ongoing challenge, so I remained in place as Publisher and chief fundraiser for the Journal after I graduated in 1979. All editorial decisions, though, remained in student hands and were executed effectively. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Founder's Retrospective: The Journal at 30 Years
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.