The Harvard Law Review is a prestigious legal journal that examines high profile legal cases, including many from the U.S. Supreme Court. In publication for 127 years, it adds 46 new members annually to its board of editors, selected through a painstaking writing and review process from among 200 of Harvard’s most talented rising “second years.” This renowned crop of high achievers writes, edits, and publishes the monthly, 300-to-400 page Review.
The Review also happens to feature a disproportionate number of Patrick Henry College grads: five PHC alumni have served on the board of editors, including past ACMA Moot Court Champion Matthew du Mée (’05) and Lindsay See (’07). This year three former students serve on the board of editors: Alex Harris (’12, also an ACMA Moot Court Champion), who joined in July 2013, and James Nelson (’13) and Evelyn Blacklock (’11), who both joined the Harvard Law Review in July 2014. The editors are among seven Patrick Henry College graduates currently enrolled at Harvard Law School–ten total since 2005–constituting a significant presence “that has not gone unnoticed here at Harvard,” says Harris.
Along with his twin brother Brett, Alex published the bestselling book Do Hard Things and launched the national Rebelution “movement against teenage apathy” as a high school student. Together the brothers won the 2011 ACMA Moot Court Championship, and today Alex serves as the Supreme Court Chair for the Review. Recently recognized in the Business Insider as one of “18 Incredibly Impressive Students at Harvard Law School,” Harris’s role as the Review’s Supreme Court Chair has him collaborating with constitutional scholars, including Professor John Manning, a leading conservative scholar on statutory and constitutional interpretation.
That so many Review editors hail from Patrick Henry College, says Harris, a school much smaller and lesser known than the alma maters of some other editors, speaks to the quality of a Patrick Henry College education.
“There are many, much larger schools that have fewer people make it on the [Harvard Law Review],” he said. “People have noticed that there are three editors from Patrick Henry College, despite its age and size. That didn’t just happen by accident.”More than halfway through Harvard Law, Harris has completed Supreme Court appellate litigation in D.C and has also secured a post-graduation clerkship with Judge Neil Gor such on the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Denver.
“I feel incredibly blessed and grateful,” he says. For their part, Nelson and Blacklock spend large portions of the second year writing and editing articles for the November Review, fighting crushing deadlines, drafting lengthy analyses of new legislation, and penning comprehensive legal essays called “notes.”
“It’s a huge investment of time and it’s an emotional investment too,” said Black lock, who will clerk this summer with Judge Brett Kava naught on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. “It’s great to be part of an institution that helps shape the ideas that come out of the legal academy.” She says her Patrick Henry College rhetoric, logic, philosophy, and constitutional law classes were a “tremendous asset,” teaching her how to think and write well.
By any measure, editing the Harvard Law Review carries a singular prestige, affording students priceless networking and career advantages while forging them into world-class legal writers and scholars. Yet other top law schools have also seen many Patrick Henry College graduates serve as law review editors, a clerk with esteemed judges, and begin their ascent at elite law firms.
“Others have been as, or more, successful,” observed Harris, mentioning, among many others, friends Nicole Frazer (’12), near the top of her class at the University of Virginia School of Law, editing the Virginia Law Review, a 2014 John Marshall Fellow and clerking for Judge Jeffrey Sutton in the Sixth Circuit, and Tyler Stockton (’13), excelling at the University of Montana School of Law.
The numbers of Patrick Henry College graduates who have seen success in law school and now serve as attorneys, judges, and high-level counselors for myriad organizations and ministries, are too numerous to mention here. The following is a brief, far from the exhaustive, overview of some of the many deserving attention for how God is blessing their efforts:
Aidan Grano (’10), graduated from Columbia Law in 2013, served on the Columbia Law Review, was a James Kent Scholar and moot court champion, clerked with Judge Wesley of the Second Circuit, and is currently an attorney with Simpson, Thacher, and Bartlett, LLP, in New York City.
Kyle Pousson (’05), a 2008 graduate of Duke Law School, is presently the Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina.
James Barta (’10), a 2013 graduate of Georgetown Law School, clerked with Judge Stephen Murphy of the Eastern District of Michigan and Raymond Keth-ledge of the Sixth Circuit and was a 2013 John Marshall Fellow.
Galen Thorp (’04), graduated from George town Law in 2007, published an article in the Journal of Supreme Court History and is today an attorney for the Department of Justice, Civil Division, Federal Programs Branch.
Lindsay See (’07), a 2011 graduate of Harvard Law School and editor of the Harvard Law Review, served with the International Justice Mission and Department of Justice, clerked with Thomas Griffith in the D.C. Circuit, and is an attorney with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in D.C.
Matthew du Mée (’05), graduated from Harvard Law School in 2010, served as an editor with the Harvard Law Review, clerked with Judge Andrew Hurwitz of the Arizona Supreme Court, and is now an attorney with Perkins Cole in Phoenix, Ariz.
Eric Lansing (’10), graduated from Regent University School of Law in 2013, served as managing editor of Regent University Law Review and as law school chaplain, worked for the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) and for the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia, and is today a Virginia Magistrate
in Petersburg, Va. Rachel Baer (’06), a 2009 graduate of the Regent University School of Law, served as Assistant Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Virginia, and today heads the Law Office of Rachel Baer in Alexandria, Va.
Aaron Thomas Noble (’05), a 2009 graduate of Texas A&M Law School, serves as an attorney with the Air Force JAGS Corps.
Justin Jenkins (’09), who plans to graduate from Wake Forest University School of Law in 2014, clerked with Judge Roy Moore in the Alabama Supreme Court and wrote a successful oral argument in the Eleventh Circuit.
The Goodness of God By Dr. Steven Hake
Last May my wife has diagnosed with stage four cancer. We were in deep anguish, but the entire Patrick Henry College community surrounded us with love and prayers. Recently, a full-body scan revealed no cancer left in her body. God is good!
I have seen His goodness in many ways. As a professor at Patrick Henry College since its 2000 founding, I’m sometimes asked how the College has changed. What most encourages me are the ways it has not changed. The qualities that I so enjoyed in those first students 14 years ago still characterize my students today. They’re bright, energetic and godly—they care. As professors, we’ve all taught in other places, and there are always at least a few students who care and who really want what you have to give. We teach those students. But at Patrick Henry College virtually all the students care deeply, not just a few. It’s like cooking for people with a ravenous, rather than an anemic, appetite. Because I see how much it means to my students, because they so appreciate all that I bring to each class, I’m very motivated as a professor to keep growing.
I recently turned 60 and now strongly sense that I must focus on the things that matter most, the contributions that God has uniquely called me to make. I have designed a biblical studies course called, “The Christian Life,” and am working on a four-year discipleship plan through which I hope to pour my life into a small group of young men at Patrick Henry College. I’ve also designed two “Christian Renaissance Camps” and a Christian Renaissance Conference for high school-aged young people, in the hope that many of them will end up at Patrick Henry College. Finally, I am also beginning to reach out to home school and classical Christian school journals and magazines. Today, I am more excited about my work than I have ever been to before. God is good!
I share the writer’s sentiment in 111 John 4, that “I have no greater joy than to hear that my [former students] are walking in the truth.” Some are active in missions, in Italy, Hungary, Tunisia, China, and India. Some are in graduate programs, in English, Classics, and other fields. Some are serving churches, and many are teachers. One young couple in the area is raising a five-year-old who speaks in “full, carefully punctuated sentences.” I still honestly believe that given time and the blessing of God, these young people will write the big books that turn our culture around, that spark the Christian Renaissance for which I have prayed for many years. God is indeed very good.