On Monday. opening arguments begin in what could be the game-changer in the procedures, politics, and power of elite academic institutions.
Yes, it has the potential reach of the 1978 "University of California v. Bakke."
As Raychel Lean reports in Law.com, both sides are represented by brandname law firms. The plaintiff side includes Bartlit Beck and on the defense is WilmerHale.
The lawsuit is "Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College and Board of Overseers." Here is a copy of the complaint.
The Department of Justice is supporting the plaintiff. So are some members of the Federalist Society.
Just like the gender discrimination lawsuit "Pao v. Kleiner Perkins," this one will give the world a peek into how powerful organizations operate.
And that's exactly why smart organization get the litigation tossed or settled before a trial. A courtroom is no place for confidential supposed best practices.
In "Pao v. Kleiner," what was obvious was that the leadership at venture capital firm Kleiner was not comfortable having to turn over and make public the underbelly of operations. Yes, the jury acquitted the defendants but part of the firm's history will always be that high-profile trial.
The same dynamic will play out beginning tomorrow morning. It is great theatre and fun to observe the power players look not at ease. A good cross by plaintiff lawyers can knock them out of their comfortable zones. That's despite all the coaching in the world.
Tonight there will be those at the top of the Harvard food chain who will not sleep well. In Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part II is the line: "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown." There could come a time when they enter the courtroom appearing downright haggard.
Full Disclosure: I was admitted to Harvard Law School - on my first try.
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