The Inception of the Wasserstein Hall Caspersen Student Center and Clinical Wing
The article "Northwest Passage" in the Fall 2008 Harvard Law Bulletin (excerpted below) describes the history behind the new building and the support of alumni—including Bruce Wasserstein ’70 and Finn Caspersen ’66, who have since passed away—who helped to make it a reality.
When Lazard CEO Bruce Wasserstein ’70 came to Harvard Law School to speak to a corporate law class in 2006, the room was so packed that the floorboards creaked.
Austin Hall, where Wasserstein spoke, had been built in the late 19th century to meet the school’s need for more space. Back then, Boston merchant Edward Austin had paid for the new structure, and the famed architect H.H. Richardson had designed it to be suitable for Dean Christopher Columbus Langdell’s new “case method” of instruction.
Now, with the school once again bursting at the seams, Wasserstein could glimpse firsthand why HLS needed to make yet another architectural leap, this time to accommodate the teaching of law in another new century.
Four months later, Wasserstein and his family agreed to make a $25 million gift to the law school, to support the construction of a new academic center in its Northwest Corner project, a 250,000-square-foot complex being developed at the corner of Everett Street and Massachusetts Avenue. ...