The Hale and Dorr Legal Services Center is officially being renamed to the WilmerHale Legal Services Center. The event will be celebrated today, from noon to 2 p.m. at the WilmerHale Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School in Jamaica Plain.
“We are committed to the Center and proud of the value it provides by offering high quality legal services to the local community and the education of law students through hands-on experience, training programs and the expertise shared by experienced practitioners and mentors,” said William F. Lee, co-managing partner at WilmerHale.
“More important than a renaming of our building is what this building represents to our clinical students and the low and moderate income clients and community groups that we serve,” said Brian Price, director of the Center and clinical professor of law. “Through this community based legal clinic, Harvard and WilmerHale are demonstrating a shared commitment to educate law students to strive for excellence in legal practice and to use their legal education in a way which serves the public good in whatever endeavors in life they may choose to pursue.”
The Legal Services Center originated in 1979 with a commitment to combine education and public service in the study of law. Its primary purposes were, and remain, to educate law students for practice and professional service in a fully functioning law office; to harness the energies and efforts of those law students to meet the legal needs of a diverse, urban clientele; to experiment with approaches to increase access to legal services; and to study and understand the public policies and institutions that most directly affect lower income individuals and families.
In 1993, Hale and Dorr LLP (now WilmerHale) and its HLS alumni partners provided the funds to purchase and renovate a permanent site in Jamaica Plain for the law school’s Legal Services Center, which was then named the Hale and Dorr Legal Services Center.
In the years since, this unique relationship has grown far beyond the initial “bricks and mortar” donation. The firm annually donates hundreds of hours in student supervision, trainings and case consultations, and the expertise of a part-time senior partner in residence at the Center, who mentors law students as a clinical instructor. With the official renaming of the Center, WilmerHale continues a meaningful tradition.