Campus & Community

University’s general counsel to step down

3 min read

Anne Taylor intends to step down as the University’s vice president and general counsel by early fall, she announced Wednesday (June 5).

One of Harvard’s five vice presidents, Taylor has served as a member of the Office of General Counsel (OGC) for nearly two decades. For the past six years, she has led the OGC, Harvard’s in-house law office, as well as overseeing the University’s police and security operations.

“I have loved my nearly 20 years at Harvard,” Taylor said in announcing her decision, “especially the chance to collaborate with so many of you. The opportunity does not often come to say so, but I could not imagine a more stimulating group of colleagues to work with on such a fascinating array of issues. Life in the General Counsel’s Office has never been dull, and I have learned more than I can say from the experience.

“I have had the opportunity to work closely with three remarkable Harvard presidents – Derek Bok, Neil Rudenstine, and Larry Summers – each of whom has taught me a great deal,” she added. “A year or so after Neil took office, the University’s then-general counsel stepped aside, in the interests of allowing a new president to build his own team. I remember feeling at the time that that was the right thing to do, and I admired the graceful example set by my predecessor. Now it’s my time to follow it. I do so with the highest hopes for Harvard and for our new president’s success.”

“Anne Taylor has demonstrated an extraordinary capacity to grasp the practical and human aspects of complicated problems, and to move people toward creative and well-considered solutions,” said President Lawrence H. Summers. “The professionalism, integrity, and high-quality legal advice that have long characterized the OGC are a reflection of Anne’s leadership, collegiality, and wise counsel. I’m very grateful to her for all she has done to help me through my first year in Massachusetts Hall.”

A graduate of Connecticut College and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Taylor came to Harvard in 1983 as one of the original members of the expanded Office of the General Counsel. She was the OGC’s practice coordinator from 1993 to 1996. She became acting vice president and general counsel in 1996 and vice president and general counsel the following year.

Taylor taught at Boston College Law School in the mid-1970s. She was a staff attorney for the National Labor Relations Board, and went on to serve as a senior staff attorney and then general counsel for the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination from 1979 to 1981. For the following two years, she was general counsel to the Office of Inspector General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Summers said that he would soon begin a search for Taylor’s successor.