Harvard Law School Celebrates Record-setting Capital Campaign

Harvard Law School’s “Setting the Standard” campaign has raised $476,475,707, making it the most successful fund-raising drive in the history of legal education.

“This campaign has made it possible for us to strengthen the law school in all kinds new and exciting ways – by expanding our faculty, modernizing and internationalizing our curriculum, constructing a major building complex, augmenting the financial assistance we give to students, and further encouraging public service,” said Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan. “I am deeply grateful to the more than 23,000 alumni and friends who joined in this effort. They know how special a place Harvard Law School is and how transformational it can be, and they have enabled us to do more for our students, our profession, and our world than ever before.”

At a gala event on Thursday, October 23, Harvard Law School leaders gathered in Cambridge to celebrate the successful completion of the campaign, which was launched five years ago and ended on June 30th.

The campaign’s goals were based on a comprehensive plan developed by the Harvard Law faculty over a three-year period. As a result, resources were raised in a targeted fashion to support and strengthen financial aid, faculty expansion, research programs, efforts to internationalize the school, and the design and construction of a major new building complex.

“For nearly two centuries, Harvard Law School has set the standard for legal education,” said Finn M.W. Caspersen, a 1966 graduate of the law school and chairman of the campaign. “This campaign allowed us to reinforce Harvard Law School’s position as the world’s premier center for legal education and research.”

The success of the campaign can be attributed in large part to significant involvement of the Law School’s Dean’s Advisory Board, including Caspersen and campaign co-chairs Gus Hauser, Rita Hauser, John F. Cogan Jr., and William D. Walsh, and also Bruce Wasserstein, all of whom made generous gifts. During the course of the campaign, the School also raised more than $60 million in smaller, unrestricted gifts to the Harvard Law School Fund.

Proceeds from the campaign are supporting a significant expansion of the faculty, which is now the largest and strongest in the law school’s history. They are also supporting path-breaking research centers focusing on such critical areas as environmental law, health law policy, human rights law, cyber law, and corporate governance; a host of programs to internationalize the school’s activities, including many new student exchange programs with foreign universities; and new initiatives to encourage students to pursue public service, including the school’s unprecedented 3rd year tuition-waiver program for students who agree to work in public service for at least five years after graduation. The campaign also has enabled a dramatic expansion of clinical education programs, increased significantly the amount of financial aid available to students.

The law school kicked off its campaign in 2003, under the leadership of then Dean Robert Clark. Before the campaign’s official launch, Clark had already secured $170.1 million in commitments toward the campaign’s $400 million goal.

The law school’s previous fund-raising campaign took place between 1991 and 1995, and surpassed its $150 million goal by raising $183 million.

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