The Wasserstein family has made a $25 million gift to Harvard Law School to support construction of Wasserstein Hall, the new academic center of the Harvard Law School campus, Dean Elena Kagan announced today. The gift is the second biggest in the Law School’s history.

Wasserstein Hall will be adjacent to a new student center and clinical center facilities, which together will be the most ambitious building project in the history of the Law School.

“I am profoundly grateful to the Wasserstein family for their generosity and vision,” said Kagan. “This new gift will have a dramatic and long-lasting impact on the Law School, and particularly on the educational experience of our students. For generations to come, Wasserstein Hall will enable us to perform better our essential mission of training great thinkers and leaders.”

“Our family is pleased to make a contribution to this dynamic institution which will continue to educate many of America’s leaders,” said Bruce Wasserstein, HLS class of 1971 and CEO of Lazard.

The Wasserstein family has been a longtime supporter of the Law School, especially its public interest activities. In 1990, the family established the Wasserstein Fellows Program, which brings public interest lawyers to campus to meet with and mentor current students. In 1996, the family endowed the Morris Wasserstein Professorship of Public Interest Law, now held by Professor Elizabeth Bartholet, in honor of Morris Wasserstein, a businessman, inventor and philanthropist.

As a result of the new Wasserstein gift, the Law School’s current “Setting the Standard” campaign has now raised more than $342 million. The campaign will be completed in June 2008, and is expected to exceed its ambitious $400 million goal.

“Harvard Law School has a long and proud tradition of alumni leaders stepping forward to make critical investments in the School,” said Finn M.W. Caspersen, chairman of the campaign.

Construction will begin this summer with the demolition of the Everett Street parking garage and Wyeth Hall dormitory, each at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Everett Street. When completed, the new complex, including Wasserstein Hall, will provide an additional 250,000 square feet of academic, clinical, and social space for the Law School community. Designed by renowned architect Robert A.M. Stern, the project is scheduled to be complete in the summer of 2011, and ready for the arrival of students that fall.