Larry Schwartztol, White House lawyer focused on voting rights and democracy reform, joins Harvard Law School as a professor of practice

Larry Schwartztol

Credit: Official White House photo by Stephanie Chasez

Larry Schwartztol has been named a professor of practice at Harvard Law School, effective July 1. He most recently served in the White House as Associate Counsel and Special Assistant to the President, with a portfolio focused on racial justice and voting rights. Schwartztol, who previously taught as a lecturer on law and directed the Criminal Justice Policy Program at Harvard Law School, will serve as the faculty director of the Democracy and Rule of Law Clinic.

“Larry Schwartztol is a superb lawyer who brings tremendous experience to Harvard Law School. He will enrich our community with his excellent teaching and contribute greatly to the growing cadre of faculty dedicated to understanding and supporting democratic institutions,” said Harvard Law School Dean John F. Manning ’85, the Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.

In January 2021, Schwartztol joined the Office of the White House Counsel as part of its first-ever dedicated Racial Justice and Equity team. In that role, he helped craft White House legal and policy positions on voting rights and democracy reform legislation, worked with the Domestic Policy Council to coordinate implementation of the president’s Executive Order on Promoting Access to Voting, and advised various White House components on legal issues surrounding voting rights. He also advised policy teams across the White House on legal issues related to racial equity, including in the context of implementation of the president’s Day 1 Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.

Prior to his time in government, Schwartztol spent four years as an attorney at Protect Democracy, where he managed litigation and advocacy aimed at securing free and fair elections. Among other things, he led litigation in several states to ensure fair election administration and expand opportunities to vote, including in the context of the challenges posed by COVID in the 2020 election. He also led policy and political advocacy on several issues related to voting, including state and federal advocacy to modernize voting systems and state-level advocacy in the post-election period in 2020 to ensure that the vote would be properly certified.

“I am thrilled to be returning to HLS and to be joining the faculty,” said Schwartztol. “Today’s HLS students will launch their legal careers at a critical moment for our democracy. I am excited to engage with them in thinking through those challenges as a teacher, a community member, and faculty director of the Democracy and Rule of Law Clinic.”

In 2015, Schwartztol joined Harvard Law School as the inaugural executive director of the Criminal Justice Policy Program, where he designed and oversaw initiatives to advance change in several policy areas, including bail reform, criminal justice debt, body cameras, forensic science, and federal clemency. He also taught as a lecturer in law, designing and teaching a seminar, “Advanced Topics in Anti-Discrimination Law,” on theoretical and doctrinal issues in antidiscrimination law. During his time at Protect Democracy, he taught as a lecturer in law in Harvard Law School’s Democracy and Rule of Law Clinic.

Prior to his time at Harvard Law School, Schwartztol served for eight years as an attorney with the national office of the American Civil Liberties Union. As part of its Racial Justice Program, from 2010 to 2015, he managed complex litigation involving novel civil rights issues. Before that, he litigated cases involving the civil liberties implications of various federal policies as part of the ACLU’s National Security Project.

Schwartztol earned a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Chicago in 2001. In 2005, he earned his J.D. from Yale Law School. After graduating from law school, Schwartztol clerked for Judge Harry T. Edwards, U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, and later was a Liman Fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.