The National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) has awarded its highest honor, the Arabella Babb Mansfield Award, to Harvard Law School Professor of Practice Nancy Gertner.
When the second wave of feminism swept the country in the early 1970s, a woman had never served on the United States Supreme Court. There had never been a woman Secretary of State. If there were any women attorneys general, CEOs, or law school deans, they were rarer than water vapor on the moon. Today, there’s nothing to hold women back. Right? Not so fast. That’s the message delivered by keynote speaker Nancy Gertner to the 300-plus attendees of the National Association of Women Judges’ (NAWJ) conference held at Harvard Law School in mid-March.
Nancy Gertner, HLS professor of practice and former judge of the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts, was counsel of record in an amicus brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court in Dorsey v. U.S. and Corey Hill v. U.S. The Court’s decision will determine whether the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which redressed some of the inequities in the sentencing of defendants in crack-cocaine cases, applies to defendants who were sentenced after the law was enacted, but whose crimes were committed beforehand.
Brilliant trial attorney, unabashed feminist, passionate advocate for civil rights, and one of Boston’s most respected—and controversial—federal judges, U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner joins the HLS faculty this month as a Professor of Practice after retiring from 17 years on the bench. As renowned for her outspokenness as for her carefully considered decisions—explained in lengthy written opinions—Gertner will offer students an insider’s view of the criminal justice system, the challenges judges face today in a 24/7 news cycle, and more.
Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow and Professors Elizabeth Warren, Laurence Tribe ’66, Nancy Gertner, and Noah Feldman all received honorary degrees at college and law school commencement ceremonies this spring.