Dean Elena Kagan ’86 has been awarded the 2008 John R. Kramer Outstanding Law Dean Award from Equal Justice Works for her extensive efforts to promote and support public service.
“I am deeply honored to be recognized by Equal Justice Works,” said Kagan. “There’s no more important part of my job than ensuring that Harvard Law students have the greatest opportunities possible to do public service. I look forward to working with faculty, staff, and students at HLS and to teaming up with organizations like Equal Justice Works to continue these efforts.”
The award comes on the heels of several important announcements and events related to public service at HLS. This spring, Kagan announced a new Public Service Initiative, which will pay the third year of tuition for incoming students who commit to work in public service for five years following graduation. The program was announced at the first-ever Celebration of Public Interest, which recognized the work of the many HLS alumni who have pursued public interest careers.
Since becoming dean in 2003, Kagan has increased a number of programs designed to offer institutional support to students interested in the public interest field. The Law School’s loan repayment program – which calculates a student’s debt and income to provide repayment of educational loans – has been greatly expanded during Kagan’s tenure to become the most generous of its kind.
The School has increased the number of fellowships that support students who go to work in specific public service sectors and into academia. Funding for Summer Public Interest Fellowships, which allow any student to receive funding for low-paying or no-paying summer public interest jobs, has been greatly enhanced. Many of these programs are administered by the Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising, a department of the Law School that is dedicated specificially to assisting students seeking public service work.
Each year, Equal Justice Works honors an outstanding individual, law school dean, and member of a law school faculty or staff. This year, former Senator George Mitchell and Georgetown Law Professor Phillip Schrag will receive awards along with Kagan.