Law Students

Harvard 2L is remembered with acts of kindness by more than a thousand people

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More than a thousand people have recorded their acts of kindness to honor a second-year Harvard Law School student who lost his battle with depression on New Year’s Eve.

Thomas “Tommy” Bloom Raskin left a note when he died by suicide that is being honored by people listing their good deeds in his honor, the Washington Post reports. The note read: “Please forgive me. My illness won today. Please look after each other, the animals, and the global poor for me. All my love, Tommy.”

Acts of kindness noted in Raskin’s memory include making charitable donations, reaching out to friends in need of comfort, and volunteering time to help others. They are being recorded on a Google document created by Kari McDonough, who is spearheading the Acts of Goodness in Honor of Tommy Raskin project.

“Tommy was beloved, and all descriptions of him showcase his kindness and his compassion,” McDonough wrote on Facebook. She urged her Facebook followers to show Raskin’s parents that his “legacy of kindness and compassion lives on.”

Raskin is the son of Democratic U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Sarah Bloom Raskin. In a statement, the couple said Raskin was an anti-war activist, a passionate vegan, a gifted writer, and a friend to others.

Raskin was a summer associate for Mercy for Animals, where he “found a knack for actual lawyering,” his parents wrote.

At Harvard Law School, Raskin became a teaching assistant.

“He loved his students, and they loved him back,” Raskin’s parents wrote. “Not content with giving half of his teaching salary away to save people with malaria by purchasing mosquito nets with global charities, when the semester was over and after his grades were in and the student evaluations were complete, he made individual donations in each of his students’ names to Oxfam, GiveDirectly and other groups targeting global hunger.”

Raskin thought Harvard Law School was leaving out the moral philosophy component of legal education.

“Rather than read endless lists of long cases, why not have students read clear comprehensive statements of what the law is and then talk about what the law should be?” the Raskins wrote, describing their son’s view.

Rep. Raskin told the Washington Post that the Acts of Goodness in Honor of Tommy Raskin project was magical and a gift to his family and the community.

“When I read about the remarkable good deeds these people are doing, I keep thinking about how much our dear Tommy would have loved the whole thing,” he told the Washington Post.

In an interview with NPR, Rep. Raskin said his family “will keep Tommy very close to our heart. And we will fight for every single thing he asked us to.”

See also:

ABA Journal: “Attorney suicide: What every lawyer needs to know”

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