BY SARAH MCGONIGLE
Dan Gluck assumed the presidency of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau Monday, having been elected by the Bureau’s members on January 13th. Gluck succeeds outgoing President Matt Watkins this week.
“[Watkins] did so much work,” Gluck said. “I just can’t say how much Matt did for the Bureau.”
Gluck, a 1999 graduate of Cornell University in Industrial and Labor Relations, came to HLS after a year working as a paralegal. During college, Gluck took a year off and spent it working for Americorps in South Carolina, primarily teaching and tutoring. While at Harvard, he has worked with SPIN and is currently that organization’s outreach co-chair. Gluck also plans to work in the public sector after graduation.
“I’ve always been interested in public service,” he says.
That’s why, he recalls, the Legal Aid Bureau caught his eye before he even got to HLS.
“When I was looking through those catalogs with courses and organizations they send you, [the Bureau] was one of the organizations that stood out,” Gluck said. “It looked great on paper, and it’s even better in practice.”
Gluck seemed sincerely impressed with and affectionate toward his fellow Bureau members. He said that working with his 27 2L peers on the Bureau this year has been the best experience of his time at the Law School.
His colleagues seemed equally happy to have him. Janson Wu, a 2L, characterized Gluck as the “smiliest” Bureau member.
“I think Dan is one of the most genuine guys I know at the law school,” Wu added.
Sarah Johnson, another of Gluck’s peers, said that he is very caring and a great choice for president.
Gluck’s role as President will involve him in the administration of the Bureau, in maintaining relations between the Bureau and HLS faculty, and in interacting with the student body of the law school and with the Bureau’s professional staff, but Gluck also intends to stay involved with cases.
With all this, his major goal is to balance the load with an eye toward “mak[ing] sure that everybody at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau is happy,” Gluck said.
That tall order includes meeting the needs of the student staff, the clients and the administration.
“We’re a legal service organization, but we have two goals,” Gluck explained. “The first is to serve our clients with all that that entails. And second is to make sure that the student lawyers are becoming great attorneys.
But the Bureau faces the challenge of difficult work. We have very challenging cases, clients with very serious problems,” he continued. “I think it’s difficult to have the psychological burdens of having these clients’ interests in your hands.”
Gluck has already been meeting with the newly elected board in order to make these difficult realities at the Bureau as positive as possible for all involved. He offered no comment about the specific changes that might be in store for the Bureau but adds that the prior Board “put in a lot of work and has done a lot to improve the experience.”
The Board includes Vice President for Practice Standards Sharon Jones, Vice President for Membership Kristy Tillman, Executive Director Brooke Abola, Secretary/Treasurer Becky Katz, Research and Technology Director Tom Brown, Intake Director Ken Walczak, Training Director Evan Mandel and Outreach Director Sharmila Murthy.