From the Dean:

Environment and Community

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Our environment—all that surrounds us—crucially affects growth and development. Never has this been more apparent at HLS.

At the April house-warming celebration, Abby Milstein ’76 described our new building as a “living room for the law school”—a place for “teaching and learning, writing and thinking, meeting and talking, creating and innovating, organizing and acting, resting, refreshing, eating, drinking and even getting some sunshine.” Thanks to the generous alumni and their families who made it a reality, conversations, connections, learning and fun fill the new spaces. This issue of the Bulletin shares images of our new environment. Awarded LEED Gold certification (as rated by the U.S. Green Building Council), the Wasserstein Hall, Caspersen Student Center, Clinical Wing Building also reflects environmental consciousness.

Now is an especially good time to celebrate the HLS Environmental Law Program. Started six years ago by Professor Jody Freeman LL.M. ’91 S.J.D. ’95, it is working to educate a community of lawyers who will engage with environmental concerns in whatever fields they pursue. Our Bulletin story looks at projects of this burgeoning program, flourishing with the arrival of Professor Richard Lazarus ’79, the nation’s pre-eminent environmental scholar-practitioner. (This August, Kate Konschnik, environmental counsel for Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse [D-R.I.], will become the program’s new policy director.)

As the story explores, students at the Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic—led by Wendy Jacobs ’81—assist cities with climate adaptation, advance renewable energy initiatives and guide landowners in addressing risks from hydraulic fracture mining, among other novel work.

We remember here an environmental pioneer, Professor Emeritus Charles M. Haar ’48, whose work leading the cleanup of Boston Harbor was just one of his many improvements to environmental quality and land use.

A trip to a new environment changed the work of Frank Michelman ’60, the Robert Walmsley University Professor. His travels to South Africa in the mid-1990s led to deep engagement with the development and drafting of that nation’s constitution. In February, South African judges and scholars joined guests from Europe, Canada and the United States in celebrating Frank, who will become emeritus this summer after 49 years of service to Harvard students and colleagues.

We also report here on the changing role of general counsel, studied by the Program on the Legal Profession under the supervision of Professor David Wilkins ’80; our alumni who encountered one another at the negotiations of the historic $25 billion mortgage agreement that will provide financial relief to homeowners who were victims of improper foreclosures or servicing abuses; and the revival of student-funded fellowships supporting public service in a tradition started in the 1980s. We offer reports on new books by HLS faculty, a glimpse of our graduates working in the national security community since 9/11, and notes on other activities of students, faculty and alumni while offering thanks to all of you who nourish the environment of our extended community.

-Dean Martha Minow