Harvard Law Weighs In

Martha MinowMartha Stewart/Courtesy of Harvard Law School

As legal education and the profession face substantial change—with law graduates’ careers developing in increasingly varied, often global, contexts—Harvard Law School (HLS) kicked off its “Campaign for the Third Century” on October 23, becoming the last school to unveil its fundraising ambitions within the University’s $6.5-billion capital campaign. At the celebratory dinner following afternoon speeches and panel discussions that hinted at transformations in practice and pedagogy, campaign co-chair James A. Attwood Jr., J.D.-M.B.A. ’84, announced a $305-million campaign goal—and revealed that the development staff had not been idle during the protracted “silent phase” of fundraising: $241 million (79 percent) had already been given or pledged.

HLS priorities include financial aid and clinical education, both deemed critical to the school’s mission of advancing justice, increasingly among the underserved. Since her appointment in 2009, Dean Martha Minow said in an earlier interview, the school has nearly tripled spending on financial aid and loan forgiveness. Meanwhile, clinical education, which gives students hands-on experience, often through work with low-income clients, has become more important in the curriculum, despite the added expense of its low student-to-faculty ratios.

Increasingly, graduates enter fields outside the legal profession.

Increasingly, graduates enter fields outside the legal profession. As if to illustrate, U.S. senator Mark Warner, J.D. ’80, of Virginia, a businessman (he was an early investor in Nextel) and later a politician, kicked off the launch-day luncheon by saying, “I’ve never practiced a day of law.” After lunch, the assembly of alumni, faculty, and students broke up to attend presentations on international human rights, corporate governance, the making of a civil-rights lawyer, and the school’s veterans legal clinic (founded in 2012 with twin goals of pedagogy and service). TED-type faculty talks, 10 minutes or less each, followed. In the evening, President Drew Faust touched on HLS’s history (its bicentennial is in 2017) and future, noting its impact in producing presidents, senators, Supreme Court justices, and CEOs. “We need the Law School and the extraordinary leaders it creates,” she said. “We need the clarity that it brings to confusing and divisive times. We need its capacity to civilize, and we need lawyers wise in their calling.”

Noting the school’s growing number of international students, Dean Minow touted the global reach of its skills-based curriculum. “The value of high-quality legal education, the need for legal order, have never been more apparent. The hunger for justice around the world has never been greater….We do and we must include the imperative of advancing justice in our core mission, in our reform efforts, and our preparation of students” so that they can “solve hard problems and imagine better worlds.”

For more on the campaign launch, and the challenges facing law schools, see “Harvard Law Launches $305-Million Campaign”.


The Campaign, Comprehensively

With HLS’s goal now public, the nominal allocation of objectives under The Harvard Campaign’s umbrella lines up this way: Faculty of Arts and Sciences (including nonbuilding priorities for engineering and applied sciences), $2.5 billion; Business School, $1.0 billion; Medical School, $750 million; Kennedy School, $500 million; School of Public Health, $450 million; HLS, $305 million; Graduate School of Education, $250 million; Graduate School of Design, $110 million; Radcliffe Institute, $70 million; Divinity School, $50 million, Dental School, $8 million—a total of nearly $6 billion.

That would make the central administration parts of the campaign, and goals not otherwise associated with a school, a half-billion dollars. These include priorities such as the engineering and applied sciences complex in Allston—some part of which might well be funded with debt; financial aid and other critical support for schools with alumni largely clustered in lower-paying professions; cross-school scholarly and pedagogical collaborations; and projects such as the conversion of part of Holyoke Center into Smith Campus Center.

Since the last progress report (“$6 Billion-Plus,” November-December 2015, page 20), two other schools have detailed their results. The Kennedy School said it had secured gifts totaling $460 million as of last September 30; its extensive campus expansion, previously reported as budgeted at about $125 million (for which fundraising was to have been completed before breaking ground), now is shown as having realized $90 million in support toward a goal of $155 million. The medical school reported fundraising of $475 million as of September 30—63 percent of the goal. Gifts and pledges to support research and discovery, the largest campaign aim at $500 million, have reached $318 million; some $37 million has been realized toward the $160 million sought for “education,” as the school implements its new M.D. course of study (see “Rethinking the Medical Curriculum,” September-October 2015, page 17). The campaign’s conclusion, it was disclosed in November, will rest with a new dean.


Klarman, Cabot, and Library Largesse

Meanwhile, the fruits of donor support continue to appear. The business school—with Tata Hall open and Chao Center construction well along (both are focused on executive education)—has filed the plans for Klarman Hall and the associated “G2 Pavilion.” The two-part project will yield a new 1,000-seat auditorium, with contemporary communications and media gear (81,100 square feet of new construction). Once that is built, 18,000 to 24,000 square feet of meeting and classroom space will be erected separately, in part on the site of Burden Hall, the 1971 auditorium designed by architect Philip Johnson ’27, B.Arch. ’43. The naming gift, from Seth Klarman, M.B.A. ’82, and Beth Klarman, was announced in June 2014. The work will also yield an enlarged central campus green. Construction is tentatively planned from early this year until August 2018—preceding the engineering and science center across Western Avenue. The latter complex, simpler and smaller than the four-building design being pursued before the financial crisis, has been shorn of meeting and conference facilities, so Klarman Hall represents another possible synergy between the business and engineering schools.


Back to brick: a rendering of the Business School’s Klarman Hall
Courtesy of Harvard Business School

In Cambridge, the faculty group responsible for reenvisioning the undergraduates’ Cabot Science Library has unveiled a “design brief” for redoing the first floor of the Science Center, integrating the library, Greenhouse Café, and courtyards “to create a dynamic, 24-hour student commons and a technology-integrated library,” complete with “mobile discovery bar.” Construction is to begin after Commencement; the work is funded by Penny Pritzker ’81, who was slated for a leadership role in the campaign before her appointment as U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

Cabot Science Library and environs, reimagined for today’s student researchers
Rendering by Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects

The library system more generally is also in campaign mode. Sarah Thomas, vice president for the Harvard Library and University Librarian, reported to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in early November that the system had weathered the difficult and even demoralizing transition to a shared administrative system, new financial model, and unitary collecting and services begun in 2012. According to figures provided by the library system, its fiscal year 2009 and 2015 expenditures and full-time equivalent staffing were $123 million and $111 million, and 1,094 people and 741, respectively. Those changes reflect both the transfer of functions (human resources, technology, and so on) to other parts of the University, and consolidations, retirements, and downsizing. Expenditures on materials were $46.5 million in the earlier year, and $45.9 million last year—a rising share of the budget. Now, the library system is pursuing a $150-million campaign aimed at collections, spaces, staff, digitization, and preservation; $52 million has been secured, Thomas reported. She is proceeding on projects ranging from the Cabot makeover and information services for the new engineering complex to a prospective purchase of space in a depository facility in Princeton shared with that university, Columbia, and the New York Public Library; given its continuing acquisitions, Harvard’s library system contemplates exhausting the storage space in its own Massachusetts depository within the next several years.

Read more articles by Jonathan Shaw or John S. Rosenberg

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