Campus & Community

Harvard Law School Dean John Manning named interim provost

John Goldberg to serve as interim dean

7 min read
John Manning.

Photo by Jessica Scranton

Interim President Alan M. Garber ’76 announced today that John F. Manning ’82, J.D. ’85, Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law at Harvard Law School (HLS), will serve as interim provost beginning March 14. John C.P. Goldberg, Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence, will serve as interim dean of HLS.

As Harvard’s chief academic officer, Manning, who is taking a leave from his role as dean, will have oversight of University-wide academic priorities and activities, and will also lead several key initiatives, including exploring the considerations around institutional neutrality and continuing the University’s focus on fostering academic freedom and civil discourse. Garber, who served as provost since September 2011, was appointed interim president on Jan. 2 after Claudine Gay, 30th president of Harvard University, stepped down.

“An outstanding dean and eminent scholar of public law, John is also a valued colleague and a trusted adviser to me and to other leaders around the University,” Garber said in a message to the Harvard community announcing the appointment. “He is an ideal individual to advance several key University initiatives, including forthcoming efforts to explore institutional neutrality and how best to nurture an atmosphere of open inquiry, respectful dialogue, and academic freedom essential to academic excellence.”

“I am grateful to interim President Garber for the opportunity to serve Harvard as interim provost,” Manning said. “Harvard enabled me, as a first-gen student, to live a life that neither my parents nor theirs could have dreamed of. It feels so important at this critical time for those who love this institution to be there to help.”

“He is an ideal individual to advance several key University initiatives, including forthcoming efforts to explore institutional neutrality and how best to nurture an atmosphere of open inquiry, respectful dialogue, and academic freedom essential to academic excellence.”

Interim President Alan M. Garber

Recognized for his ability to listen carefully and without judgment to different points of view, Manning has worked to foster a culture of free, open, and respectful discourse within the School during a time of polarization within higher education and the wider society. In partnership with HLS colleagues, Manning developed initiatives to foster open discourse, such as the module on “difficult conversations” for all 1L students, adoption of a graduation requirement in negotiation/leadership, introduction of the Chatham House Rule for classroom discussions, and establishment of the HLS Rappaport Forum and other public conversations that model civil discourse among people with different points of view.

“A great university must be a place of great humility, curiosity, and openness, a place where we ask the hardest questions, where we learn from our disagreements, where vigorous discussion and debate across differences deepen human knowledge and understanding,” Manning said. “I look forward, in the weeks and months ahead, to learning from colleagues across the University as we work together to determine how best to nurture and protect a culture in which teaching, learning, and research can thrive in the years to come.”

Dedicated to expanding opportunity and access to legal education, under Manning’s leadership HLS has increased financial aid for students seeking public-interest careers and launched an opportunity grant scholarship program for the School’s highest-need students. Additionally, HLS has worked to introduce prelaw pipeline programs for prospective students from low-income and underrepresented backgrounds and will offer courses on law and its impact on learners around the world through the launch of the Harvard Law School Online initiative.

“John Manning is a person of deep integrity, wisdom, and experience who has served Harvard with distinction as well as distinguishing himself at the highest levels of the legal profession,” said Harvard Corporation Senior Fellow Penny Pritzker. “In John, President Garber has chosen an interim provost who will work tirelessly with passion and purpose to support and advance Harvard’s teaching and research mission and its foundational commitment to excellence and our commitment to learn and grow from these challenging times.”

In addition to his contributions to the Law School, Manning has served on various University-wide initiatives and committees, including on the University-wide Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging, the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning’s faculty advisory committee, and the HarvardX Faculty Committee. Additionally, he served as co-chair of a working group charged with refining the Non-Discrimination and Anti-Bullying Policy procedures. Currently, he is a member of the Dynamic Work Council, the Information Security Oversight Committee, and is co-chair of a working group to establish procedures for the University Committee on Rights and Responsibilities.

Manning has been a member of the HLS faculty since 2004. He was appointed deputy dean of HLS in 2013 and was named dean in 2017. Prior to joining Harvard, he was the Michael I. Sovern Professor of Law at Columbia Law School.

An expert in administrative law, federal courts, legislation and regulation, separation of powers, and statutory interpretation, Manning’s scholarly work is extensive as co-editor of the casebooks “Hart and Wechsler’s Federal Courts and the Federal System” and “Legislation and Regulation” and as a frequent author of articles published in prominent law journals.

Manning, a graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard College, also held various notable positions earlier in his career, including serving as a law clerk to the Hon. Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court of the United States and to the Hon. Robert H. Bork on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Additionally, he served as an attorney-adviser in the Office of Legal Counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice and as an assistant to the Solicitor General in the U.S. Department of Justice.

John Goldberg.

John Goldberg.

Photo by Martha Stewart

Goldberg, a leading scholar in tort law, private law, and legal theory, will begin his service as interim dean on March 14. A member of the faculty since 2008, Goldberg previously served as deputy dean from 2017 to 2022. In that time, he worked closely with Manning on overseeing curricular reform, developing the School’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and other initiatives.

“A member of the faculty since 2008, John is admired as much for his integrity, generosity, and compassion as for his extraordinary intellect, rigorous academic work, and broad institutional service,” Garber said. “I have benefited from John’s thoughtful counsel through his participation on the Provost’s Advisory Committee and look forward to collaborating with him more closely.”

Recognized for his dedication to teaching and mentoring, Goldberg has taught numerous first-year and upper-level courses including “Civil Procedure,” “Constitutional Law,” “Contracts,” “Criminal Law,” and “Torts.” The recipient of multiple teaching awards, he taught and served as associate dean for research at Vanderbilt Law School before joining Harvard’s faculty.

“It’s truly an honor to be asked by President Garber to serve as interim dean of the Law School,” said Goldberg. “During this period, I will, in the spirit of Dean Manning, do everything I can to support our amazing students, faculty, and staff.”

Goldberg’s administrative leadership experience is extensive, having served as the first chair of the University’s Electronic Communications Policy Oversight Committee and as a member of the Provost’s Advisory Committee — an informal group of faculty advisers from across the Schools. Within HLS, Goldberg has been a member of its Lateral Appointments Committee for 11 years, chairing it for three.

Outside of his teaching, Goldberg is an associate reporter for the American Law Institute’s “Fourth Restatement of Property,” an adviser to the “Third Restatement of Torts,” and a co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Legal Analysis, as well as a member of the editorial boards of the Journals of Tort Law and Legal Theory. Before entering the legal academy, Goldberg clerked for Judge Jack Weinstein of the Eastern District of New York and for Supreme Court Justice Byron White. He earned his B.A. from Wesleyan University, an M. Phil. in politics from Oxford University, an M.A. in politics from Princeton University, and his J.D. from New York University School of Law, where he served as editor-in-chief of the N.Y.U. Law Review.