Harvard Law School conference commemorates 100 Years of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau

Published Date : Nov 11, 2013

At a conference at Harvard Law School that took place this weekend, the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau celebrated 100 years of service in the industry as well as discussed all the possible avenues for the betterment of the organization and its future. 


The conference that was convened in the Law School’s Wasserstein Hall was occupied with alums of the HLAB who encompassed several events and issues spanning from the cocktail party to the gala dinner to debating some of the issues running within the public interest law. 


The Harvard Legal Aid Bureau is one of the oldest non-profit, student-run legal aid firms in the country. According to the group’s mission statement, HLAB preserves its values and virtues as it provides wage, family, welfare, and housing services in order to meet and overcome basic economic backlashes, disadvantages, and poverty across the nation. 


Lerae Kroon – the communications director at the Bureau also shared that throughout the history of HLAB, this organization has served millions of people with its service institution and proficient learning experience. She also added saying that it was highly remarkable at the initial time how a group of law students who were a part of this privileged school wished to work on this specific issue for the well being of its future. She believes it was because of such students’ thinking and efforts Harvard has achieved an esteemed place in terms of educational aspect, and as an organization that helps in serving the community itself. 


The 100th anniversary celebrations kicked off on Friday evening with a warm welcoming reception wherein all the current members and the alumni shared common grounds with the firm’s endowing rich history. 


However, during the actual celebration on Saturday morning, the panels commenced with several different topics spanning from justice beyond legal services to representation in low-income communities and more. There were a broad range of attendees including – practicing professionals and first-year law students who equally contributed their say to the current analysis of various challenges experienced in the legal field. 


One of the panels righteously focused on the issues related to the clinical experience in the legal education system and debated the prerequisites of HLAB-style programs in the best learning institutions. 


During the session, most of the participants agreed upon, rather preferred the on-field legal action experience of working in the Bureau to be more satiating, as compared to those attendees who prioritized the Law Review experience as the source to preparing inexperienced lawyers for work. 


To this, Michael L. Luskin ’73 expressed that he had spent two years of his career life on Harvard Legal Aid and this exposure groomed him with the most valuable skills that he now uses in his private practice. 


Fueled by more and more discussions, a wide array of participants and individuals expressed that the Bureau had made a positive impact on many minds for the past century. The organizers unanimously hoped that the HLAB will continue its strong and inspiring presence in the next 100 years too. 


HLAB alum - Diane Downs said that even though the Bureau has to focus on minor cases for it to be a student run firm, its every action is important to the individuals they serve for life. It was not a small deal for those people who got unemployment insurance benefits or for those who experienced disability in a back payment of nearly ten years of fighting that particular disability. For clients, it is a life-changing event, she added.