Harvard Law School Dean Robert Clark has announced that the school’s Office of Public Interest Advising will be renamed in honor of Bernard Koteen, a 1940 graduate of the law school. Koteen’s recent gift of $1 million will allow the Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising to continue to support the growing number of students interested in pursuing public interest employment.

“I grew up, and went to law school, during the Depression,” said Koteen. “There was great emphasis by the Roosevelt administration on serving the public, so it was natural for many of my classmates and me to have that concern and begin our legal careers in public service. I’m very interested in seeing the Harvard Law School maintain and strengthen its commitment to public interest work, and I hope my gift will make this a reality. I’m honored to be connected with the law school in this special way.”

A partner in the telecommunications group of Holland & Knight, Koteen has been a longtime advocate of public service. His early career was spent at the Federal Communications Commission where he helped develop the criteria for awarding radio and television channels based upon which applicant would provide the best service to the public. He has been in private practice for more than 50 years.

“We are honored that Bernard Koteen has provided such a generous contribution to the law school,” said Dean Robert C. Clark. “His support will help further the law school’s mission of training lawyers to work in public service for the benefit of society.”

The Office of Public Interest Advising was established in 1990, the first office of its kind in an American law school. Currently, 9 to 12 percent of the graduating class–more than double the percentage from 1990–take public service jobs immediately upon graduation or after a clerkship. Additionally, the office helps support a large number of students–including more than 300 last year–who engage in public service work each summers.

“We are thrilled to receive this generous endowment gift from Bernard Koteen and proud to have his name associated with our office,” said Alexa Shabecoff, assistant dean of public interest advising. “The gift will provide OPIA with stability and growth for years to come and is also a great demonstration of the law school’s increasing commitment to making public service careers a viable option for our students and alumni.”

Staffed primarily by lawyers with diverse public service background, the Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising provides students with numerous services including individual advising by experienced attorney advisers and the fellowships director. The office also publishes books and guides to help educate law students and lawyers around the country about public service legal opportunities including the Public Interest Job Search Guide, widely regarded as the leading print resource on public interest law.

Related Links: