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Honoree Bios

Law Day 2015

 

RUTH-ARLENE W. HOWE ’74

Professor Ruth-Arlene W. Howe retired from active teaching duties in the Fall of 2009. Professor Howe first arrived at BC Law as a student in 1970. More than 40 years later, her hard work, passion, and commitment to diversity and social justice as a student, alumna, and faculty member have helped shape BC Law into what it is today.

Professor Howe has spent much of her life working for social justice. Calling upon her life experiences as a daughter, wife, mother, and community activist, Professor Howe dedicated her career to further the best interests of children, especially African-American youth. As the first and only African-American female faculty member to achieve tenure and the rank of full professor in the history of BC Law, Professor Howe enjoyed a distinguished and varying academic career, teaching a variety of courses and seminars in family law, elder law, legal interviewing and counseling, and professional responsibility. Professor Howe was a founding faculty advisor to the Third World Law Journal, now the Journal of Law and Social Justice, and an advisor to the Black Law Student Association.

Professor Howe received her A.B. from Wellesley College, her M.S.W. from Simmons College and her J.D. from Boston College.

 

PROFESSOR ROBERT  M.  BLOOM ’71

Bob Bloom a 1971 graduate of the law school has taught at the law school for forty years. He often points out that he has had something to do with the training of almost 7000 lawyers. Upon graduation from law school he received a Reginald Heber Smith Fellowship which took him to Savannah Georgia where he practiced civil rights law. In 1973 he was asked by then Dean Richard Huber to join the BC Legal Assistance Bureau as a staff attorney. He has taught clinical courses as well as civil procedure and criminal procedure. He has also taught at Boston University Law School and at a Temple University Law School program in Rome, Italy.

Prof. Bloom has lectured on comparative criminal procedure and the American jury trial in Tomsk, Russia, Japan, France, Italy, and Ireland. Next year he will be a distinguished scholar at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. He is a frequent media commentator on matters involving infamous cases such as the Whitey Bulger case and the Boston Marathon case. He is the author or co-author of 14 books and well over thirty articles, mostly in the area of criminal procedure and civil procedure. At the law school he has served on and chaired numerous committees, but is most proud of his work as chair of the admission committee at a time when the school increased its minority population significantly. He is the recipient of numerous awards including: the Ruth-Arlene W. Howe Award from Black Law Student Association, Professor of the Year from the Public Interest Law Student Association, and the Emil Slizewski Award for Teacher of the Year, voted by the students, which he received for the second time at the graduation award ceremonies in 2014.

 

DAVID SCHOEN ‘84

Following his graduation from Boston College Law School in 1984, David Schoen went to Montgomery, Alabama to serve as a law clerk for a federal judge.  He chose the Deep South at the suggestion of his mentor and BC Law class of 1984 commencement speaker, the Honorable A. Leon Higginbotham, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, who knew of his longstanding interest in civil rights. Mr. Schoen had accepted a position with a large Washington, DC law firm for after the clerkship; but the law firm agreed to release him from his commitment so that he could stay in Alabama and pursue his interest in civil rights litigation.  In 1985, Mr. Schoen opened his own law practice devoted exclusively to civil rights and criminal defense litigation. In 1995, the American Bar Association honored his work with its national pro bono publico award, writing that according to several federal judges interviewed in connection with his nomination for the award, litigation Mr. Schoen brought through the years was responsible for more change in public institutions in the South, including prisons, jails, public education, foster care, indigent defense and others, than the work of any other lawyer in this era.

Today, Mr. Schoen practices law all around the country, but primarily in Alabama and New York City, focusing on civil rights litigation in the former and federal criminal defense work, including white collar and other complex cases, in the latter.  During the past few years, he also has served as lead counsel in some actions brought in U.S. courts by American victims of terrorism under the Anti-Terrorism Act, traveling overseas to take the depositions of some arch terrorists and otherwise seeking to hold accountable those who provide material support for terrorism against Americans. He was on the losing side of the Voting Rights Act case at the U.S. Supreme Court last year, filed an amicus brief in the Jerusalem Passport case at the U.S. Supreme Court this term, and has had several landmark decisions in various courts.  He has been litigating cases under the Anti-Terrorism Act for American victims of terror the past several years, and is involved in a police misconduct case in Florida which will be the subject of an feature piece in the NY Times.

Mr. Schoen also holds LL.M. degree from Columbia and has taught as an adjunct professor at Seton Hall Law School. 

 

HONORABLE LESLIE E. HARRIS ’84

Judge Leslie E. Harris is a retired Associate Justice of the Suffolk Juvenile Court, appointed September 10, 1994. Judge Harris received his Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University, his Masters of Arts from Boston University, and his Juris Doctorate from Boston College Law School. He has taught third and fourth grade, high school and college courses. He served as a street worker for the Chicago Community Centers, working with street gangs and as a camp counselor. He has been a probation officer for Suffolk Superior Court, a licensed Social Worker, and a Hearing Examiner for the Brookline Rent Control Board and a Public Defender at the Roxbury Defenders Office of the Committee for Public Counsel Services and Chief of the Juvenile Division of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office for District Attorney Ralph Martin. He has served on many commissions, boards, and advisory groups for the courts and the community. He is the recipient of many honors and awards, including the Wendell Phillips High School Hall of Fame, the Distinguished Alumni Award from Boston University, the David Nelson Public Interest Award from Boston College Law School, Service Award from the Ten Point Coalition, the Hero Amongst Us Award from the Boston Celtics and Herald News Paper, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Boston College Law Student Association and an award from the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps. Judge Harris is a frequent speaker at community events and graduations. He and his wife, Beverly, are the proud parents of three wonderful children and make their home in Roxbury.