Harvard Law School Has Appointed Two Women to Dean Positions

Harvard Law School has announced the appointment of L. Tracee Whitley as its new dean for administration, the school’s chief administrative officer.

Prior to coming to Harvard Law, Whitley served in chief operating officer and other executive management roles in two global law firms; Houston-based Norton Rose Fulbright and Boston-based Bingham McCutchen. She practiced law in Boston at three different firms and served as an independent business operations consultant to several professional services organizations.

“I am incredibly proud and pleased to be returning to Cambridge to undertake the role of dean for administration at Harvard Law School, a role very akin to the law firm COO roles I’ve previously held,” said Whitley. “I look forward to learning about the Harvard Law School community and to working every day to support the teaching, research and service that makes HLS the unparalleled leader in legal education.”

Whitley earned a bachelor’s degree in modern European history from Harvard University. She is a graduate of the Northeastern University School of Law and holds an executive MBA from Boston University and a master’s degree in American government from the Harvard Extension School.

Natasha Onken was named assistant dean for student financial services at Harvard Law School. She has been serving as interim dean. Onken first joined Harvard Law School in 2003 to lead its Low Income Protection Plan and Summer Public Interest Funding programs, first as coordinator, then as associate director. Earlier in her career, Onken was assistant director of financial aid at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

“We have a really incredible program and we’re already leading the nation in the types of financial aid and loan repayment assistance and summer programs that we have available for our students and graduates,” Onken says. “I want students to see us as an ally, an advocate, and as the bridge that helps make their law school career possible, and makes it possible for them to do what they would like to do after graduation.”

Onken is a graduate of Grinnell College in Iowa, where she majored in sociology and gender and women’s studies.

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