Kareem Carryl is this year’s recipient of the Frank Righeimer Jr. Prize. Described as a “devoted champion of students’ interests,” Carryl is being recognized for his leadership as president of the Board of Student Advisers and for his academic mentorship, guiding 1L students through First-Year Legal Research and Writing Program.
As Board of Student Advisers president, he served as the primary liaison between the board and the law school on all BSA-related matters. He was lauded by nominators for seamlessly leading the board through its return to campus after nearly two years of online instruction, and credited for his advocacy for special student resources and additional training for BSA members in matters of diversity, inclusion, and mental health and wellness to help meet the challenges students faced. One nominator wrote: “Kareem and his fellow BSAs were an essential part of creating an educational experience worthy of HLS, of piercing the isolation of remote learning and building a supportive community.”
As BSA president, Carryl worked for the Harvard Law School community across a wide range of issues and was a voice for the student community. He was involved in the search for the new dean of students. During the graduate union student strike last fall, he was a sensitive steward of the interests of the community, helping to navigate the uncertainty of a looming labor strike while supporting student participants.
In a December Harvard Law Today profile, Carryl credited the support he received from an experienced student during his 1L year with helping him make the transition to law school life successfully.
“I attribute my happiness and survival during my 1L year in large part to the BSA that I was assigned as soon as I come in,” he said.”
“I knew pretty early on that I wanted to recreate that experience for another student that’s coming in and is feeling a little nervous or anxious,” he says. “The first year of law school is a pretty stressful time. If, as a BSA, I can make that person’s life a little bit easier, I want to do that.”
The child of Caribbean immigrants, Carryl always knew he was interested in law. After graduating from high school, he participated in the highly selective J.P. Morgan Smart Start Program, which provides recipients a full college scholarship and an internship.
After he was accepted at Columbia University, he worked full time during his summers at J.P. Morgan and part time during the school year while balancing his responsibilities as a member of the Columbia College Student Council, including his role as senior class president. He continued to work in financial services, before applying to law school.
At Harvard Law School, Carryl served as the principal teaching assistant to Climenko Fellow Daniel Francis in the First-Year Legal Research and Writing Program, who said Carryl was “a strikingly generous mentor” to 1Ls, spending countless hours counseling and advising students on issues from career planning to self-care.
During his time at Harvard Law School, Carryl was also involved in the Black Law Students Association and the Prison Legal Assistance Project, and he was a member of the Voting Rights Litigation and Advocacy Clinic. He also served as a Civil Procedure Teaching Fellow for Professor William Rubenstein, and as a research assistant for Lecturers in Law Jacob Bronsther and Guha Krishnamurthi.
Established in memory of Frank S. Righeimer Jr. ’32, the prize is awarded annually to a graduating student or students in recognition of exceptional citizenship within the HLS community demonstrated through involvement in student organizations, community service groups, or through individual efforts.