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Hugh Calkins 45, the youngest member of the Corporation and a Cleveland lawyer, yesterday accused Harvard law students of oversimplifying by seeking quick solutions to social problems.
Speaking at a Law School forum on the public responsibility of the private law firm. Calkins used the pollution problem in Cleveland to show the complexity of social issues.
He said that although the pollution in the Cayoga River could be eliminated, it would be at tremendous expense to industries which use the river. The financial burden would probably shut down the Republic Steel Company, he claimed, causing a wave of unemployment throughout the Cleveland ghettos. "Is this in the public interest?" Calkins asked.
James Lorenz '60, a California lawyer and another panel member, accused Calkins of using the same type of reasoning that produced Vietnam. The argument that the war- or pollution- is necessary to keep the economy going is no excuse, he said.
In restating his position, Calkins said, it is important that lawyers "pursue in theirown way efforts to change the political, economic, and social structure of the United States." However, the problems are not as simple as many law students believe, he added.
Calkins said that law firms- like universities- "lose their effectiveness" when they back social change as an institution. Instead, they should encourage individual firm members to provide their legal services to social causes, he said.
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