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Faculty Profile

William B. Harvey
The Michigan Alumnus 319

In his ninth floor office high
 above the Gothic splendor of 
the Law Quadrangle, one of Mich
igan's youngest full professors,
 William B. Harvey, contemplates 
the vast reaches of the law.

Neither an extreme specialist 
nor a dilletante, Prof. Harvey 
likes to probe deeply, but doesn't
 like to stay in a rut. He has taught 
or written on contracts and con
tract remedies, anti-lynch legis
lation, insurance, rights of resi
dents near airports, criminal pro
cedure and evidence problems.

Prof. Harvey was born in 
Greenville, S.C., in 1922, and remained in the South through un
dergraduate school at Wake For
est, where he received an A.B. in 
English in 1943. His plans to go
 on for a Ph.D. in philosophy had 
to be modified when he enlisted in 
the U.S. Navy and served as 
a lieutenant with the amphibious forces at Normandy and in
 various areas of the Pacific.

No doubt his academic and
 naval careers had much to do
 with the fact that he speaks with
 taut precision, hitting every idea
 right on the head with the first 
blow—and without the faintest 
trace of a Southern accent.

The years since the war have 
been tightly packed. Even before 
getting his J.D. from The Univer
sity of Michigan in 1949, he was 
a lecturer in law in the School of 
Business Administration. Upon
 graduation he joined the law firm 
of Hogan and Hartson in Wash
ington, D.C., where he concen
trated on federal tax cases and taught on the side at George
 Washington University. Having
 completed his stint of practical 
law work, he joined the Michigan 
faculty as Assistant Professor and
 Admissions Officer of the Law
 School and went through a rapid 
series of promotions until in 1957,
 at the age of 34, he became a full

Though all this has been ac
complished with remarkable dispatch, he has not kept his nose to
 one grindstone. With Prof. John
 P. Dawson of Harvard he has authored a widely used text, Cases
On Contracts And Contract Rem

But it looks as if Prof. Harvey 
is about to settle down, intellectu
ally, to a sustained—and fascinat
ing—philosophical study. As he
 explains it, most instruction in
 "jurisprudence" — the traditional 
term for general, systematic 
thinking about law—has been de
voted to analyzing the terms and
 concepts of the existing legal sys
tems. Too little attention has been
 given to the study of value judgments in the legal order, how they 
are made and implemented by 
legal techniques.

Now, Prof. Harvey concedes 
that all legal studies ought to be 
as scientifically oriented as pos
sible, that the facts of what actu
ally happens in legal activity 
ought to be meticulously deter
mined and arranged in meaning
ful patterns—no easy task, to be 
sure. But at that point most legal 
scholars lapse into silence, giving 
little attention to bases for evalu
ating, making ethical judgments
 of the law itself. Prof. Harvey,
 however, feels that this barrier of
 silence must be broken and that 
legal philosophers must go be
yond legal positivism to probe in to the moral implications and con
sequences of any given legal system.

Toward that end he has chosen to study the development of law in the new independent African state of Ghana. During this com
ing summer he plans to travel through Ghana, laying out the basis for an empirical study of the dominant value positions ex-
pressed by its leaders and re
flected in its laws.

After gathering empirical data
in the summer of 1961, he plans to spend the academic year 1961-
62 at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London before following up his researches in Ghana in the summer of 1962. He hopes the study will throw light on the ethical bases of this devel
oping legal order.