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Harvard Law Will Gain New Dean after Academic Year
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Harvard Law School

Summary: After this academic year ends Harvard will find themselves without a law school dean, joining Yale Law School in the search for a new dean.

Dean of Harvard Law School Martha Minow will be stepping down at the end of the academic year. Minow has been the dean of the law school since 2009 when she took over for Elena Kagan. Kagan left to be a solicitor general and then an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.


Minow plans to return to teaching and advocacy as well as write a book about law and alternative ways to resolve disputes. The 62-year-old dean has been a member of the Harvard Law faculty since 1981.

In an interview Minow said, “My plan was to do five years. I’ve had the unbelievable privilege and good fortune since I was a young professor to be devoted to teaching and scholarship. I was surprised to be asked to be dean when Elena Kagan left for Washington. I was willing to step in at that time. Obviously, that was a time of transition for the school and a time of great challenges, given the economic crisis. I was glad to do that, but I stayed longer than planned.”

Harvard President Drew Faust said, “Throughout her long and distinguished career, and especially during the past eight years as dean, Martha Minow has devoted herself to making Harvard Law School stronger and better, more inclusive and more intently focused on the quest for fairness, equality, opportunity, and respect for the rule of law.”

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Minow took over as dean right after the recession and law school crisis in 2008. She has worked to develop the school, bringing in roughly $1.9 billion endowment as of June 30, 2015. She said, “One of my biggest challenges was how to maintain our commitment that anyone who we want to recruit to enter our student body and who is qualified, can come regardless of their financial status and can pursue any job regardless of their financial background. That has required financial aid and a loan forgiveness program that has been pioneering. The financial crisis really put those in question, and we have doubled down and expanded them.”

Harvard Law has seen its share of conflict though as well in the last few years. The alleged rape of a law school student by another law school student was featured in a 2015 documentary “The Hunting Ground.” The U.S. Department of Education found that Harvard mishandled several sexual assault cases.

Do you have any predictions or suggestions of people that would make a good law school dean? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about Harvard Law School’s recent news, read these articles:



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