Third Annual Giving Tree Kicks Off

BY LAM HO

2007 GOAL: 1,000 Gifts

After an incredibly successful year in 2006, the Giving Tree at Harvard Law School will begin its third year this evening at the HLS Student Government Kick-Off Trivia Tournament. Presented by the Dean of Students Office, HL Central, the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, and the Office for Clinical and Pro Bono Programs, the HLS Giving Tree will raise gifts for the children of families we serve in our clinical and pro bono programs. This year, the HLS Giving Tree boasts some exciting changes that its organizers hope will produce even greater success than last year, when the project raised about 550 gifts for 71 families (from about 250 gifts in 2005). The goal for this year is to raise over 1,000 gifts!

The Giving Tree at Harvard Law School is a project to unite the HLS community in serving the less fortunate during the holiday period and to help HLS programs extend the services that we can provide to our clients. The project offers the law school an opportunity to help out in an additional and different way, beyond the usual scope of legal aid, especially during the financially and emotionally difficult holiday period-a time when many of our clients struggle with holiday expenses. Since 1998, the Giving Trees at Brown University, Oxford University, Harvard Law School, and Kirkland House, Harvard College have raised over 8,000 gifts for disadvantaged children.

The centerpiece of the project, the “tree,” a non-denominational representation of giving, stands in the lobby of the Hark. It is adorned with ornaments that are made by Harvard Law School students and list gifts requested by the children. Students, faculty, and staff are asked to pick up one or more ornaments from the tree, purchase and gift wrap the gifts listed on them, and return the gifts to the Giving Tree between November 30th and December 18th. Money can also be donated in the Dean of Students Office, and all donations will be used to purchase additional gifts. Families pick up their gifts from the 19th through the 21st at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau or the WilmerHale Legal Services Center. Delivery is provided for families prevented by disability from picking up their gifts.Dean Kagan’s 1L Pizza Challenge Student organizations are being asked to sponsor children or families by purchasing all the gifts requested by a child or the children of a family. Likewise, there will be a competition among 1L sections to sponsor the most number of children. Dean Kagan will throw a pizza party for the section who sponsors the most number of children! Last year, almost all 1L sections sponsored at least one family; several sections sponsored several families and Section 6 raised over $1600 for gifts. Section 3 may be frontrunners as their plan is to break last year Section 6’s record, although this year’s Section 6 started planning over a month ago!

Another addition to the project will be the above-mentioned Kick-Off Trivia Tournament hosted by the HLS Student Government tonight (Thursday, November 29th) from 8:00-9:30 at the Hark. Students are encouraged to come for free drinks and cookies and to take an ornament from the tree. All proceeds from the tournament will go towards gifts.

The HLS Giving Tree is coordinated by 3L Lam Ho, President of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, and 2L Rebecca Lobenherz, HL Central Director of Community Service. It is co-sponsored by HLS Student Government, SPIN (Student Public Interest Network), the Office of Public Interest Advising, APALSA, Catholic Law Students, WilmerHale Legal Services Center, Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, American Constitutional Society, Environmental Law Review.

Finally, the Giving Tree at Harvard Law School has been generously supported by Kirkland & Ellis LLP; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP; and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP.

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