Jacques Sales

Jacques Sales at the Trevi FountainWhen presenting newly elected HLSA President Jacques Salès LL.M. ’67 to alumni assembled in Rome, Dean Clark aptly described Salès as both a French practitioner "with infinite savoir-faire" and "a citizen of the world with a magnanimous spirit."

Salès is founding partner of the Paris-based law firm Salès Vincent & Associés, with 12 partners, 50 attorneys, and corporate clients worldwide; a French citizen born in Haiti who earned his HLS degree in the program that annually attracts over 150 students from more than 50 countries; and now HLSA president with an ambitious agenda that includes outreach to Latin America. In both his personal and professional history, Salès reflects the growing international dimension of Harvard Law School, and of legal education and practice generally.

"Lawyers today cannot afford to be local," Salès says. "As this world continues to shrink, interaction between American and foreign lawyers will increase every day. The fact that I was elected president —an LL.M. and a non-American—demonstrates the determination of the Alumni Association leadership to support the Dean’s commitment to ensuring that internationalization is fully taken into account at the School."

On the one hand, Salès notes, it is important for American law students to be internationally minded—to learn, for example, in their Civil Procedure course that discovery is conducted quite differently in other legal systems. On the other hand, recalling his own experience as an LL.M. student, Salès believes that foreign students educated at Harvard Law School "are in the best position to get things moving in their home countries. I think that training foreign lawyers at Harvard has beneficial consequences both for their countries and, by fostering harmonious relations, the world at large."

Also the first non-American ever elected to the HLSA leadership council, in 1990, Salès believes the School "has barely tapped the huge potential for alumni in many countries to work on its behalf." He plans to collaborate with classmate Emanuele Turco, head of the International Section, and Mexican graduates to form a local association in Mexico City, with the goal of a future pan-Mexican association. "We’ll then think of other countries where we can do the same," he says. Likewise, the new president is eager to launch special programs to rekindle less active associations in U.S. cities and states.

Contents Next Segment