Harvard Law School’s 2021 Last Lecture Series

Clockwise from top left: Professors Sabrineh Ardalan, Nikolas Bowie, Jeannie Suk Gersen, and Andrew Manuel Crespo

The Last Lecture Series at Harvard Law School, sponsored annually by the 3L and LL.M. class marshals, is an HLS tradition in which selected faculty members impart insight, advice, and final words of wisdom to the graduating class.

The faculty selected as this year’s speakers were Clinical Professor Sabrineh Ardalan ’02, director of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program; Assistant Professor Nikolas Bowie ’14; Professor Andrew Manuel Crespo ’08, faculty director of the Institute to End Mass Incarceration; and Professor Jeannie Suk Gersen ’02.


Sabrineh Ardalan

Sabrineh Ardalan

Credit: Martha Stewart

‘You’ve pushed us to be better teachers, better colleagues, and better humans’

Clinical Professor Sabrineh Ardalan ’02 chose to get personal in the final Last Lecture of the semester. Drawing on her own experiences in life and the law, she stressed the importance of community, especially during a year of shutdown.  Read more

Nikolas Bowie

Nikolas Bowie '14 to join Harvard Law as assistant professor

Credit: Samara Vise

‘Our time is full of injustices … You must not be a product of your time’

“Attaining power does not make you a moral person,” said Nikolas Bowie ’14, assistant professor of law at Harvard Law School, in his April 22 Last Lecture to graduating third-year students. Instead, Bowie urged graduates to plan for “precisely when you are going to abandon the ladder of power,” and work to build influence with and for those who do not yet have it.  Read more

Andrew Manuel Crespo

Andrew Manuel Crespo

Credit: Kathleen Dooher

The art of being a lawyer

Like artists, lawyers must interpret and decipher the world around them, said Andrew Manuel Crespo ’08, professor of law, during his Last Lecture for graduating Harvard Law School students on April 14. And like artists, Crespo said, lawyers can help reimagine that world too.  Read more

Jeannie Suk Gersen

Jeannie Suk Gersen

Credit: Nina Subin

‘We’ve become more accepting of the acknowledgment of humanity, of vulnerability’

Professor Jeannie Suk Gersen ’02 introduced this year’s inaugural Last Lecture by reminding the graduating class of its special place in history. “You will be forever the class that persevered through the extraordinarily taxing period in American history, and graduated from the law school into what we hope will be the waning of the global pandemic and the eventual return to normal life.”  Read more