Law school

School Notes: Yale Law School
January/February 2021

Heather K. Gerken |

Advancing criminal justice reform

The newly created Millstone Fund for Criminal Justice Reform will advance all criminal justice reform activities at the Law School, including criminal justice–focused clinics where students tackle issues such as mass incarceration, juvenile justice, public defense, and impact litigation. Made possible thanks to a generous gift from Yale College alumni Jennifer Millstone ’00 and David Millstone ’99, the fund is part of their larger commitment to Yale University. The gift also establishes an endowment to support a summer fellowship, a postgraduate fellowship, and loan repayment assistance. 

A history of epidemics and the law in America

In American Contagions: Epidemics and the Law from Smallpox to COVID-19, Allen H. Duffy Class of 1960 Professor of Law John Fabian Witt ’94, ’99JD, ’00PhD, explores ways in which American law has shaped and responded to the experience of contagion throughout history. At the same time that disease prompts change in human patterns and in legal and political institutions, viruses evolve to take advantage of the world as it is. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, the US faces a choice, according to Witt. “We can use epidemics as occasions for addressing the glaring inequalities they illuminate,” he writes. “We can proceed intelligently into our unsettling future—but only if we grasp where we have been in our often disturbing past.”

A new way forward on gun control

In Weapon of Choice: Fighting Gun Violence While Respecting Gun Rights, William K. Townsend Professor of Law Ian Ayres ’81, ’86JD, and Frederick E. Vars ’99JD look for a new way forward for gun legislation. They argue that new kinds of interventions can empower people and expand individual freedom while saving lives. As a complement to existing regulations, they provide a plan to “make progress on gun violence without offending either the Supreme Court . . . or the general public’s sense of justice.” 

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