Former Chief Justice of Liberia Cllr. Gloria Musu has joined a small group of Liberians to have graduated from the prestigious Harvard Law School (HLS) of Harvard University. Cllr. Scott was recently part of HLS 2017 graduating class upon completing the prescribed courses for obtaining an LL.M degree.
Cllr. Scott served as Chief Justice of Liberia’s Supreme Court from 1997 to 2003. Prior to and after that post she was a practicing lawyer, a Senator, and most recently, the chair of Liberia’s Constitutional Review Committee.
She might have reached the highest peak of the legal profession in Liberia, but an elated Scott Cllr. Scott, who walked out of the walls of HLS on May 25, told Harvard Law Today (HLT) days to her graduation that for the past year she has been eager to be a student again. “If you come here thinking you know,” she insists, “then you won’t learn.”
The importance of a good education—and the conviction that an educated woman can accomplish anything she wants to—is something that was instilled in her from childhood by a family who made sure she went to the best schools that Liberia had to offer, (HLT) writer, Audrey Kunycky, said about the renowned Liberian female Lawyer.
But it was looking at the lives led by her mother and grandmother, and the inequalities they faced, that led her to study economics and law, to join student government, and to begin to participate in the political process in Liberia.
In a Mother’s Day message to her deceased mother, Cllr. Scott dedicated her newest achievement to her mom, who she said helped instill in her hard work, dedication, resilience and love of education.
“HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, Ma Gertrude! This is for you. The seed you planted in my mind with your words are true. Education makes a woman’s life ‘different’. Thank you. I wish you were here to see that your vision is still alive and without boundaries or limitations. Sleep on with our God who has granted you eternal bliss. Ma Gertrude, I miss you,” she wrote on Facebook.
Early in her career, Cllr. Scott was very instrumental in the formation of the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia. The organization still exists, providing legal aid to indigent women and girls. Later, she convinced the few women serving with her in the legislature to form a caucus that would serve as a platform for women’s issues.
In spite of the many challenges Liberia faces, Cllr. Scott remains optimistic about a brighter future for Liberia. “I know that Liberia has a lot of problems. The situation with our lands, and the inequality, has existed for 200 years. How do we solve it? We need some deep thinking.” She told HLT.
“So that’s why I came—to know what is happening in the world, what makes the U.S. the way it is, or Europe? What is the philosophy, the guiding principles? I guess I wanted the rigor of taking my mind to another level.”
Scott has been further inspired by her research and writing at Harvard coupled with her classes, which included Poverty, Civil Rights and Development, Systemic Justice, Environmental Law, and a reading group on Poverty and Democracy. “Coming here, reading the law, going back into history, I saw that there was a system in place that bred inequality,” she noted. “I’ve learned a lot. The different ways that you can use the law to alleviate poverty, the different models…I’m taking that back with me.”
She is expected back home soon to work with law schools, and as well urge them to add environmental law to their curricula and to explore how environmental protections could benefit Liberia and the region.