Zhang Yiran 
LL.M.’16 and S.J.D. candidate, Harvard Law School

Professor Alford has always been an inspiring mentor, a devoted teacher, and a spectacular vice dean. His various contributions to the HLS community sometimes overshadow another major one – humor. My intense LL.M. year started with a good laugh of Professor Alford’s personal story of class note sharing in law school with an unexpected twist at the end. His encountering with Ming Yao at the Special Olympics International closing ceremony has been an all-time classic. The fake Mickey Mouse neckties he circulated in Why Law? Lessons from China course brought distant legal issues into the classroom in a funny, touchable form. Beyond spreading laughs, his anecdotes have been adding diverse human faces to cold, abstract, and sometimes highly contested fields like international relations and international law. They constantly remind me of the individual human beings that abstract legal concepts tend to hide.