Laurence Tribe ’66, the Carl M. Loeb University Professor at Harvard, has been named Senior Counselor for Access to Justice in the Department of Justice, and he will lead a newly launched initiative aimed at improving access to civil and criminal legal services.
“I am greatly honored to be entrusted with this important mission,” said Tribe. “Access to justice for all is at the core of our nation’s values.”
In launching the initiative, Justice Department officials say they hope to provide a centralized focus to elevate the importance of legal access issues and to take concrete steps to address them. The primary focus of the initiative will be to improve indigent defense, enhance the delivery of legal services to the poor and middle class, and identify and promote alternatives to court-intensive and lawyer-intensive solutions.
Tribe will be a primary liaison to the federal judiciary, and will work with federal, state, and tribal judiciaries in strengthening fair, impartial, and independent adjudication. He will also exchange information with foreign ministries of justice and judicial systems regarding efforts to provide access to justice, as part of the DOJ’s existing international efforts to promote fair and impartial law enforcement and adjudication.
“We at the law school salute Larry Tribe’s willingness to advance the dream of true access to justice for all. We will miss him while he’s in Washington but it helps to know he will bring his enormous talents and energy to such a vital task,” said HLS Dean Martha Minow.
Tribe will begin his tenure at the DOJ on March 1 and will officially report to Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli ’91.
Tribe is a renowned professor of constitutional law. He joined the Harvard Law School faculty in 1968, received tenure in 1972, and held the Ralph S. Tyler, Jr. Professorship in Constitutional Law from 1982 to 2004, when he was appointed University Professor—the highest academic honor that Harvard University can bestow upon a faculty member, reserved for just a handful of professors throughout the university.
Tribe is the author of more than 100 books and articles, including “American Constitutional Law,” “On Reading the Constitution,” and, most recently, “The Invisible Constitution.” He has argued 35 cases before the Supreme Court of the United States—including the historic Bush v. Gore case in 2000 on behalf of presidential candidate Albert Gore, Jr.— and he has testified frequently before Congress on a broad range of constitutional issues.
In addition to his J.D, Tribe holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College (1962), and he has been conferred with numerous honorary degrees, including a doctor of laws in 2008 from New York University.