THE LAW SCHOOL certainly is doing well for itself in terms of money. Dean Robert Clark’s fundraising efforts provided the school with the funds to bridge the divide between faculty on the right and left of the political spectrum through increased faculty hiring. The school was in a better position to fund public interest and to create the Low Income Protection Plan, which have attracted students who may have been worried about taking on so much debt if they were not going to work for a firm after graduation.
The current $400 million Law School Capital Campaign provides the school with an opportunity to make additional improvements to campus. It is not a profound statement to say the Hark is in desperate need of renovation-it is nothing less than an eyesore. Dean Kagan has already created a committee to study the needed renovations and it is heartening that she has talked about a timetable for the needed changes to be implemented. That is a welcome sign that changes will not be bogged down in endless discussions.
A new student center will contribute to the aesthetic pleasure of the campus while providing students with a needed location for congregating. For too long the few couches in the Hark and some tables and chairs have provided this service, especially when the cold weather keeps students indoors and away from Kagan’s Plaza.
Additionally, a new and improved Hemenway will keep the student “body” healthy and pleasing. It is ridiculous that eight ellipticals and six treadmills on the top floor are meant to accommodate a student population of over 1500 students. While the Law School Council began the process of change with the improvements to the gym this year and should be commended for their efforts, Law School-size resources are needed to add more than a few exercise machines. What we need is a state-of-the-art facility that will keep the student population healthy without needless waiting.
But more than the look of our buildings, the Capital Campaign will make sure public interest and LIPP is adequately funded while providing more resources for financial aid. Many HLS students comment that they almost did not come to this Law School because they were offered a better financial package from another school. This is a shame. Our school should not rely on its name to attract students at the expense of an adequate financial package. Students should not have to choose between lower debt and arguably the best legal education in the world. We can afford to do better and the influx of $400 million will only reinforce that point.
The Law School and Dean Kagan have golden opportunities ahead to make needed changes to the school. We trust that the administration will keep the process transparent while soliciting needed advice from those who will be the final judges as to whatever changes are made: the students themselves.