interior In Memoriam banner image

In Memoriam

Tribute to our late Fellow Wendy Jacobs from Harvard Law School Dean John Manning

Dear Members of the HLS Community,

It is with deep sadness that I write to tell you that our dear friend, colleague, and teacher Wendy Jacobs passed away after a long illness. Professor Jacobs was the Emmett Clinical Professor of Environmental Law and Director of the Harvard Law School Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic. An alumna of this Law School, Professor Jacobs returned to HLS in 2007 after a distinguished career in public service and private practice and founded the Environmental Law and Policy Clinic. She had deep faith in, and worked hard to realize, the positive role law can play in protecting the environment, addressing climate change, and preserving the earth for generations to come. Her work was creative, thoughtful, wide ranging. It focused on an array of problems and an eclectic set of tools and techniques that her students, her colleagues, and she could deploy to solve them. This involved not only litigation but also working closely with governmental and private entities to devise new ways to address environmental challenges.

Professor Jacobs was a superb, creative teacher. Her Climate Solutions Living Lab brought together graduate students from across the University to work on innovative ways to address complex problems. Her work drew together students from law, business, government, public health, design, and engineering to create real world solutions that would enable universities and other enterprises to achieve quantifiable and replicable reductions in carbon emissions. Professor Jacobs’ love of teaching and her dedication to her students was inspiring. She served as a Special Advisor on Learning and Practice to two deans and brought deep insight to the question of how to bring the science of learning to legal education and to Harvard Law School.

I am grateful to Professor Jacobs for the impact she had, for the deep learning and wonderful inspiration she brought our students, and for the many ways in which she made this Law School always better. Most of all, I am grateful for, and inspired by, the courage, commitment, and dedication Professor Jacobs showed her students each and every day. Being a teacher was her calling, and so many will, because of her, lead lives of purpose and meaning and impact. What a wonderful legacy.

I hope you will join me in wishing comfort and healing to her family and to colleagues, friends, and students who are grieving her loss.

May her memory be a blessing.

John