Campus & Community

Harvard Law School campaign surpasses goal

3 min read

The largest campaign in the history of legal education exceeded its $400 million goal by more than $50 million earlier this spring.

The success of the campaign — which will officially conclude on June 30 — can be attributed in large part to significant involvement of the Law School’s Dean’s Advisory Board, including leaders such as campaign chairman Finn M.W. Caspersen and co-chairs Gus Hauser, Rita Hauser, John F. Cogan Jr., and Bruce Wasserstein, each of whom made extraordinary gifts. During the course of the campaign, the School also raised more than $60 million in smaller, unrestricted gifts to the Harvard Law School (HLS) Fund.

“By reaching, and now exceeding, our ambitious goal, we are able to press ahead with a series of initiatives designed to transform legal education at Harvard,” said Dean Elena Kagan, who became dean at the launch of the campaign’s public phase in the summer of 2003. “I’ve said many times that Harvard Law School did not get where it is by resting on past greatness. The campaign gives us the resources we need to continue pushing the envelope on every possible front — to enhance our faculty, modernize our curriculum, internationalize our activities, foster public service, and improve our facilities. I am enormously grateful to all of the alumni who made this success possible. Now, I hope we harness this momentum and keep going!”

The campaign’s objectives were based on a comprehensive strategic planning process conducted by the HLS faculty. As a result, resources have been raised in a targeted fashion to support and strengthen financial aid, faculty expansion, research programs, and efforts to further internationalize the School. During the course of the campaign, the Law School established, among other initiatives, new research centers focusing on environmental law and health law policy; a range of new student exchange programs with foreign universities; and new initiatives that encourage students to pursue public service. The campaign has also helped to support a dramatic expansion of hands-on clinical education programs, which are costly to run, but critical to preparing students for modern legal practice.

Proceeds from the campaign have also supported a significant expansion of the faculty, which is now the largest in the Law School’s history. This expansion — which will continue in the years ahead — has further reduced the student/faculty ratio, and adds important depth and breadth to the curriculum.

When the campaign began, it was unclear if the Law School would remain in Cambridge or move to Harvard’s new Allston campus. With the decision to remain on its current site settled during the campaign, an important priority became raising funds to support construction of the Law School’s Northwest Corner complex, which will house a student center and both classroom and clinical facilities. Several significant gifts have now been secured for the Northwest Corner, and raising additional funds for this project will continue to be a major focus after the campaign concludes later this month.