Alex Cottingham
J.D. ’20, Harvard Law School

Professor Alford was one of the first faculty members that I met during my ASW weekend. I remember that I was immediately struck by how friendly and genuinely open that he was. He gave me his card and, a few days after I returned home, I gave him a call to talk to him more about my decision process before the May 1st deadline of deciding which law school to choose. Professor Alford helped me weigh my options, and he intrigued me with his discussion of the amazing comparative law opportunities at HLS. 

In the spring of my 1L year, I took Professor Alford’s China Law class. Taking this class was one of the best experiences I have had in law school. Professor Alford’s approach to comparative law is both refreshing and thoughtful. When Professor Alford led discussion, he makes a genuine effort to not be just an outside observer of a foreign country’s legal system. He takes you into the history and foundation of a culture, history, and legal system. This bottom-up approach, deeply rooted in primary sources and the minds and context that developed the law that we studied, was a sensitive and open approach to learning about a place different from what we were familiar with. Professor Alford resisted the urge I found that many American professors can have to compare everything to the United States when conducting comparative studies. 

Professor Alford greatly impacted my three years in law school as a dedicated mentor, intellectual inspiration, and great person dedicated to seeing other succeed.