Tracee Whitley appointed Harvard Law School dean for administration

Credit: Courtesy of Tracee Whitley L. Tracee Whitley

Harvard Law School today announced the appointment of L. Tracee Whitley as its new dean for administration, the School’s chief administrative officer. Whitley is a Harvard University graduate, veteran legal industry executive, and former practicing lawyer, with more than twenty years of professional legal and business experience. She succeeds Matt Gruber, who is departing to become the chief financial officer and chief operating officer at Sagamore Capital Management.

“I am delighted to announce that Tracee Whitley has agreed to serve as our new dean for administration,” said John F. Manning ’85, the Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. “Tracee’s proven success as a leader, as an innovator, and as a creative and thoughtful administrator, combined with her deep ties to Harvard and her extensive legal background, make her the ideal candidate to oversee the School’s administration. Her collegiality, creativity, and institutional acumen will make her a superb administrative dean.”

Prior to coming to Harvard Law, Whitley served in chief operating officer and other executive management roles in two global law firms (Houston-based Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP and Boston-based Bingham McCutchen LLP); practiced law in Boston at three different firms; and served as an independent business operations consultant to several professional services organizations. Her experience and capabilities in law firm management and consulting include strategic senior leadership of all operational functions, from finance and accounting to information technology and office operations and administration; deep expertise in designing and implementing shared services business models; oversight of complex real estate portfolios; and oversight of all operational vendor negotiations and transactions. During her management tenure, Bingham was voted one of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” for 10 years in a row.

“I am incredibly proud and pleased to be returning to Cambridge to undertake the role of dean for administration at Harvard Law School, a role very akin to the law firm COO roles I’ve previously held,” said Whitley. “The opportunity to serve faculty, students and staff at Harvard Law School is the culmination of both my educational and professional experiences in the Harvard University and Greater Boston communities, and of my business operations experience in the global legal industry. I look forward to learning about the Harvard Law School community and to working every day to support the teaching, research and service that makes HLS the unparalleled leader in legal education.”

The dean for administration reports directly to the dean and is responsible for the general oversight and management of many of the School’s administrative functions, including facilities, faculty support services, finance, human resources, information technology, and other business operations. As a trusted advisor to the dean, the dean for administration also helps plan and manage strategic initiatives and develop short and long-term financial and operational plans. In her new role, Whitley will also work closely with Harvard’s central administration and other senior leaders across the University and affiliated organizations.

Whitley earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Modern European History, cum laude, from Harvard-Radcliffe College. In addition, she received her Juris Doctor from Northeastern University School of Law, an executive MBA, with honors, from the Boston University Questrom School of Management, and a Master of Liberal Arts in American Government from the Harvard Extension School (which she completed after graduating college while working full-time at the Harvard Divinity School).

At Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, Whitley served as varsity soccer goalkeeper for four years, and co-captained the team during her senior year. She was named Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 1984, Ivy League Player of the Year in 1987, and All-New England and All-American in multiple years of her college play. She was awarded the Radcliffe Outstanding Athlete Award in 1988, and after graduation, named to the Women’s Sports Silver Anniversary All-Ivy Team in 1998 and inducted into the Harvard Varsity Club Hall of Fame in 2003. In 2010, Whitley was also inducted into the Capital Area Soccer League Hall of Fame in her hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina.