James Barr Ames, a specialist in negotiable instruments and legal history and eventual Dean of the Harvard Law School, was the principal faculty supporter of the students who founded the Harvard Law Review in 1887. At the time, Ames enjoyed a unique reputation as the "best friend" of the students; predictably, perhaps, his support was deemed critical to their enterprise. A founding editor later recalled that one student's response to the suggestion that a law review be established was simply "Let's consult Mr. Ames. If he approves, we'll do it." Ames wrote the law review's first leading article ("Purchase for Value") and, in the words of another founding editor, Joseph Beale, "became the chief advisor and helper of the editors throughout his life."
- Joseph Beale, "James Barr Ames His Life and Character," 23 Harv. L. Rev. 325 (1910)
- Michael I. Swygert and Jon W. Bruce, "The Historical Origins, Founding and Early Development of Student-Edited Law Reviews," 36 Hastings L. Rev. 739 (1985)