Kristi Jobson ’12, the assistant dean for admissions and chief admissions officer, received the Suzanne L. Richardson Staff Appreciation Award during Harvard Law School’s Class Day ceremony on May 25.
“Every Harvard Law School student has a story about Kristi Jobson,” said Class Marshall Maggie Lapoint ’22 in her introduction. “One student remarked that while most chief admissions officers only care about incoming students, Dean Jobson genuinely cares about the entire student body. Many of the Dean Jobson stories we heard included lunches or coffees around campus during which Dean Jobson remembered the smallest details about students’ interests and lives or about connections that she made for students with faculty members or with other students that led to lasting friendships.”
Jobson, who joined the Harvard Law School admissions office in 2018, noted that her first year in the job was the year most members of the Class of 2022 were admitted. “I liked my job in that first year but meeting you as a class taught me to love this job. Seeing you wrestle with the academic challenges of 1L, witnessing your commitment to your clients in SPOs and clinics, and most rewarding to me, watching you develop deep friendships with one another, many of which I know — and you know — will be life-long. Reading your applications made it clear that you are very impressive as individuals — intelligent, talented, driven. But when those intelligent individuals came together as a class, the whole was even greater than the sum of its parts. For you inspired one another. I never, ever take it for granted when I run into you in the Hark or the crossroads, and you take the time to tell me about your day or the latest updates in your life. It’s the greatest joy I have ever felt in a professional setting.”
Jobson said she knew it was customary to provide some advice to graduates in remarks such as hers. “That feels a little funny,” she said. Having read the class’s applications she added, “I know that you have accomplished more and traveled further in your lifetimes than most ever will.”
But Jobson shared three things she has found to be important in the ten years since her own Class Day. “When you find yourself in a leadership position,” she said, “lead with humility and gratitude. If you fancy yourself too important to clean out the office fridge, you are no leader at all,” she added. “Second, beware the urge to chase after other people’s dreams. … no joy or satisfaction comes from achieving something your heart never wanted in the first place.”
Finally, she said, “as a lawyer, time is your most precious asset; spend it wisely. … When the clock is ticking, we have a tendency to focus on the urgent to-do items flashing in front of us. See if you can push yourself to focus instead on the important.” There will always be “another hour to bill, email to write or client to intake, or funder to woo,” she said. “You will never regret the time you spend with loved ones or friends. I can’t say the same for every night you surrender to your inbox.”
Jobson came to Harvard Law School Admissions Office from Ropes & Gray, where she litigated shareholder actions and complex commercial disputes. She also maintained an active pro bono practice, with a particular emphasis on issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community. She is the 26th recipient of the staff award and the 18th since the award was renamed for Suzanne Richardson, who was the Harvard Law School dean of students from 1993 to 2004.