Highlights from the State of the School Speech


Did you miss Dean Elena Kagan’s 5th “State of the School” speech on Monday? No problem: The Record took notes for you.

Greatest hits included:

  • – Dean Kagan, in a spiffy cream blazer, zipped through the speech in under 40 minutes, in time for everyone to make their 1 pm classes.

  • – The state of law school is – shock! “exceptionally strong and growing stronger every day.”

  • – The New York City metaphor made its customary appearance.

  • -Dean Kagan hopes to help HLS become a “21st century law school” that is student-focused, interdisciplinary, engaged with the profession and outside world, and globalized

  • -The HLS faculty is now the largest in school history at 93 members, and according to Dean Kagan, the deepest roster in the legal academy, doing socially meaningful work, and focusing on teaching and creating “moments of classroom magic.”

  • – The dean is just fine with Harvard’s reputation for “attracting, even poaching” lateral faculty from other top schools. . .”We have no intention of stopping.”

  • – New clinical offerings this year will include Environmental Law and Policy; not one but two Supreme Court practice clinics, Sports Law, and winter term D.C. placements.

  • – The Class of 2010 tries out the new curriculum this year, featuring classes in legislation/regulation and international law. A Winter term course for 1Ls in problem-solving will be implemented in a couple years.

  • – Dean Kagan is working with other Harvard University deans to soon have a unified university calendar, better integrated joint degrees programs, and better interdisciplinary offerings, and called on the students to hold her accountable for these goals.

  • – The Northwest Corner project and other construction plants are moving forward, with Wyeth Hall gone and the Everett Street parking structure being demolished. The school has even hired an architect to plan the renovation of the Gropius dorms.

  • – This year will feature the first-ever Public Service Reunion, calling together alumni from government, nonprofit, academic, and private sector careers.

  • – Finally, Dean Kagan called on students not to be passive consumers of education, but to partner with her in improving the law school, quoting writer, poet, and HLS alumni Archibald MacLeish as believing that “the Law School is the most exciting place on Earth.”

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