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Abstract

In their seminal article, Alfred Konefsky and John Henry Schlegel saw institutional histories of law schools as the graveyard of academic reputations. So why write institutional histories? Due to the leadership of Robert Kaczorowski and William Nelson, and the generosity of Fordham University School of Law and New York University School of Law, an important conference took place between July 2 and July 4, 2018, at New York University’s Villa La Pietra outside of Florence. The purpose was to encourage good institutional history and to define its value. We had recently published the first volume of a new history of Harvard Law School, On the Battlefield of Merit: Harvard Law School, the First Century (“On the Battlefield of Merit”) and are completing another volume, The Intellectual Sword: Harvard Law School, the Second Phase (“The Intellectual Sword”). This has been a massive undertaking, supported by hundreds of oral histories, invaluable student papers, and colleagues in the ongoing Harvard Law School History Project.

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