HLS homeNews & EventsAbout the BulletinBack IssuesSend Us Your NewsSearch

 HomeBriefsSchool NewsLettersGalleryClass NotesIn MemoriamClosing


An Exceptional Teacher
I have just read of Professor Chayes’s death and offer this modest contribution.

Those of us who, as his students, encountered Abe Chayes early in his teaching career still remember his astonishingly quick intelligence, which was, however, much more than just mental agility. With probing wit and equal charm, he challenged us to think in new ways. You have to belong to my generation to appreciate how apt was the sobriquet of “Shadow” Chayes, affectionately conferred on him, for in our youth, the Shadow had the advertised ability in a nightly radio program “to cloud men’s minds so that they cannot see him.”

Yet, for all his brilliance (a word he would no doubt disdain my using), I will treasure another memory of Abe Chayes. It was his understanding of the varying capacities of lawyers-to-be to absorb this rigorous instruction. In December 1957, when the members of his first-year class in civil procedure were about to depart during the holiday period for what some of them regarded as essential escape, he too decided that relief was in order. He entertained us with a highly inflected reading from Bleak House, illustrating that not all litigation was meant to be expedited. And at the end of the year, he tried to reassure the skeptical that, while grades might seem all-important, they would not be the ultimate determinants of professional success and satisfaction.

As I enter retirement some 42 years later, I pay the warmest tribute possible to an exceptional teacher of the law and of lawyers.
David Maxey ’60
Philadelphia, Pa.

A Trust with Animals
On the Issue of Animals' Rights [Letters, Bulletin, Summer 2000], it was the jurist Jeremy Bentham who posed the one question whose answer matters: "Do animals suffer?"

Of course, the answer to Bentham's question is an emphatic "yes". Our fellow creatures, however lowly in intellect, can and do suffer, and they do so more or less in the same way that we humans suffer. They sense and smart from pain, they feel loneliness, they languish when neglected, and bound about with joy when loved and comforted, etc.

But unlike humans, animals cannot express themselves in any language that we find intelligible, even though many if not most of them have been shown to have non-human languages of their own.

Since non-human animals cannot state their case in human language, the issue is not whether we should establish specified rights that they presumably could invoke, but whether and to what extent they are entitled to protection and guardianship from us, who can and have caused them so much unjust suffering.

Perhaps each human should have standing to allege that another human has breached the trust--the human guardianship of other species--by anti-social behavior that has wrongly caused unjust suffering to a non-human animal. It is clearly in this direction that animal rights law should evolve.

By the way, this is not a "leftist" issue--it is a humanitarian one that kind people everywhere should be obliged to consider and act upon.
William A. Markham '87
Santa Cruz, Ca.

back to top

contents send feedback about this article

 Contact: bulletin@law.harvard.edu - 617.495.3118
 © 2005 The President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved.