HLS Receives $10M Grant from Olin Foundation

Harvard Law School Dean Robert Clark has announced that the school has received a $10 million grant from the John M. Olin Foundation. The gift is the largest foundation grant in the law school’s 186-year history.

“We are honored that the John M. Olin Foundation has made such a generous gift as the capstone of its 18-year relationship with our John M. Olin Center for Law, Economics and Business,” said Clark. “This wonderful gift will allow us to continue our cutting edge work in the field of law and economics.”

“This magnificent grant is truly rewarding and exciting for us,” said Professor Steven Shavell, the founder and director of the center. “It recognizes the accomplishments of our student fellows, our success in curriculum development, and our faculty research since we began in 1985. It will allow us to grow in new directions in the coming years.”

The funds will support a range of activities at the Olin Center including original research by faculty, visiting scholars, and students. The grant will also allow the center to continue to fund its successful John M. Olin fellowship program and its ongoing speaker series.

“I am extremely pleased that we have been able to continue our strong relationship with the Harvard Law School,” said James Piereson, executive director of the Olin Foundation. “The school has made an impressive commitment to the field of law and economics and has created a very strong program of teaching and research. We hope this gift will enable the school to build on this record of success.”

Recent faculty research supported by the Olin Center includes Professors Lucian Bebchuk, John Coates and Guhan Subramanian’s critical examination of staggered corporate boards; Professors Louis Kaplow and Shavell’s book studying utilitarian versus fairness-based evaluation of legal policy; and Professor Kip Viscusi’s analysis of the economic impact of smoking and tobacco regulation.

Both the Olin Foundation and the Olin Center expect the grant to be matched by other donations to the law school. These additional funds will allow the Olin grant to be used in ways that will strengthen the center and sustain its programs into the future. The Olin Center is also establishing an external advisory committee to assist the faculty in guiding its programs.

Harvard Law School’s John M. Olin Center for Law, Economics and Business is the nation’s preeminent center for the study of economic analysis of law. The Olin Center features the broadest and most intensive research program in the nation. Among its academic offerings are three economic analysis seminars, courses on the economics on regulation and antitrust, classes on law and economics and on empirical methods, and a new course, Analytical Methods for Lawyers. The Olin Center faculty is completing a textbook for the analytical methods course that will allow it to be adopted by other law schools across the country. The Olin Center supports more than 20 John M. Olin Fellows each year to conduct research on topics ranging from corporate governance to prenuptial agreements.

The John M. Olin Foundation was established in 1953 by the late John Merrill Olin, an inventor, industrialist, conservationist and philanthropist. The foundation, which encourages research on the formulation, implementation and evaluation of public policy in the social and economic fields, is currently in the process of spending its assets with the goal of ceasing operations by the end of 2005.