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Scott Westfahl

Professor of Practice

Director, Executive Education

Scott A. Westfahl
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Scott Westfahl is the Director of HLS Executive Education and also teaches courses on leadership and design thinking and innovation within the law school’s J.D. curriculum. In 2024, his J.D. course Legal Innovation Through Design Thinking was recognized by Bloomberg Law as on of the law school innovations of the year.  As the Director of Executive Education, he leads the HLS effort to support and develop lawyers as leaders across the arc of their careers, particularly as they advance to new levels of leadership and responsibility. He oversees and teaches in Executive Education’s core, global leadership programs for law firm managing and senior partners, emerging law firm leaders, law firm associates, senior in-house lawyers and general counsel. He also collaborates with HLS colleagues and other Harvard faculty to design and teach custom programs for law firms, law departments, governmental agency legal departments, state and federal judges and other legal-related organizations. He focuses his Executive Education teaching and writing on leadership, teams, talent development as strategy, design thinking and driving innovation and organizational alignment from a talent management and diversity and inclusion perspective.

Professor Westfahl joined HLS from the law firm Goodwin Procter LLP, where he served from 2004-2013 as the firm’s Director of Professional Development. In that role, he was responsible for all aspects of the professional development of the firm’s attorneys and staff, focusing on organizational and leadership development, feedback, mentoring, career progression, diversity, professional skills training, attorney and staff integration and transitions and alumni. As a Lecturer on Law from 2010-2013, he teamed with Professor David Wilkins to teach an 80-student section of the law school’s Problem Solving Workshop for first-year students. In 2008, Professor Westfahl was chosen as one of Law Firm, Inc. magazine’s five “Innovators of the Year” for his development of a cutting edge attorney assignment system and database called iStaff, which effectively ties attorney work assignments to their professional development needs. From 2009 to 2011, he served as the Chair of the Professional Development Consortium, a 500-member professional association for law firm professional development and training leaders across North America and the U.K. Professor Westfahl frequently lectures and comments upon talent development and innovation within professional services firms and is the author of the book You Get What You Measure: Lawyer Development Frameworks and Effective Performance Evaluations (NALP, 2008).

Prior to his work at Goodwin Procter, Professor Westfahl spent six years leading professional development for the Washington, D.C. office of McKinsey & Company. He is also an experienced business and federal regulatory attorney, having practiced law with Foley & Lardner’s Washington, D.C. office from 1988 to 1998. Professor Westfahl earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1988, and graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College in 1985.


  • A.B. Government Dartmouth College, 1985
  • J.D. Harvard Law School, 1988

Academic Appointment and Employment History

  • Attorney, Foley & Lardner (1988 - 1998)
    Washington, District of Columbia, United States
  • Manager of Professional Development, McKinsey & Company (1998 - 2004)
    Washington, District of Columbia, United States
  • Director of Professional Development, Goodwin Procter LLP (2004 - 2013)
    Washington, District of Columbia, United States

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia, United States (1988, inactive)
  • Virginia, United States (1988, inactive)

Board Memberships

  • Vice Chair 2007-2009, Chair 2009-2011, Professional Development Consortium (2007 - 2011)
    Washington, District of Columbia, United States
  • Member, Advisory Board of The Purple Campaign (2019 - Present)
    Washington, District of Columbia

Representative Publications

View all publications by Scott Westfahl