Ryan Goldstein
J.D. ’98, Harvard Law School

Professor Alford is an inspiration.  Very few people are so accomplished and yet so approachable and friendly.  I think that combination is woefully underappreciated.  As a student, that approachability meant so much to me.  He was always willing to talk about ideas and research or just catch up.  I wanted to work harder and do better just to earn his respect.  His accomplishments speak for themselves.  I felt lucky to have the ability to spend time with a professor who is so highly-respected the world over.  It drove home just how special HLS is.  Every interaction.  The fact that he was so friendly and genuinely excited about what we were doing as students is one of my favorite memories from HLS.  I focused on Japan more, yet he took just as much interest in what I was doing as he did with students working exclusively with him.  That left a deep impression of how treating people nicely and genuinely, every day and every interaction, can really inspire them to more.  When I returned to Harvard to visit, he was the same Professor Alford as ever, and those few hours together are also very important to me.  It is hard to come up with words for someone who so appreciably stands out as an example of what a professor should be.  He probably does not even understand how he has made thousands of us into better academics, lawyers, judges and people (I realize these are not mutually exclusive designations, and some of us can be good people and good lawyers!).