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Harvard Law School is pleased to announce that Michael A. Allen ’04, founder and managing principal of legal recruiting firm Lateral Link, has made a commitment of $250,000 to establish a new financial aid fund at the Law School. The firm will fund the Lateral Link Scholarship Fund by donating ten percent of the fees earned through the firm’s placement of Harvard Law School alumni.

“I value what HLS and its alumni have afforded me since graduation,” Allen said. “I wanted to give back to the Law School by creating a fund that could be used to provide financial assistance to current students. For every talented graduate who is placed by the firm, support will be directed back to future attorneys studying at Harvard Law School.”

“With this commitment, Michael Allen has taken a distinctive approach to supporting the next generation of leaders at HLS,” said Steven Oliveira, Associate Dean and Dean for Development and Alumni Relations at Harvard Law School. “We are deeply grateful that a young alumnus has chosen to give back to the Law School, and to present and future legal scholars.”

Through a generous need-based aid program, Harvard Law School provides all students with equal access to a legal education. At HLS today, eighty percent of JD students receive some form of need-based financial aid, and financial aid support has grown by more than twenty percent over the past five years.

“Scholarships allow the Law School to uphold its commitment to attracting the best and brightest students from around the world, and it ensures that these students can accept an offer of admission without anxiety over a burden of debt,” Allen said. “I could not imagine a better way to support the place that helped shape my career and my future.”

Allen graduated summa cum laude from the University of California, San Diego in 2001 before earning his JD, cum laude, from Harvard Law School. He then practiced real estate law with Los Angeles-based firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and with Irell & Manella LLP.

In 2006, he founded Lateral Link. Now one of the world’s largest legal recruiting firms, Lateral Link has offices in eleven locations stateside, as well in Shanghai and Singapore, and it is a well-regarded resource for Harvard Law School students and alumni.

“At its inception, the majority of Lateral Link’s placed candidates and client contacts were graduates of HLS—a trend that has continued as the firm has grown,” Allen said.

Allen, who has become a resource for firms looking to identify partner talent and for candidates seeking a platform tailored for their practice, frequently contributes to blogs such as Above The Law, and he has been quoted as a thought leader by The American Lawyer, Law360, and the Daily Journal. An active member of the Los Angeles community, he and his wife Maria have a son and live in Venice, California.

To learn more about Lateral Link, visit