President Neil L. Rudenstine's lengthy search for a new general counsel leapt forward in the last two weeks with the short list of prospects falling from two dozen to fewer than 10.
Declining to peg an announcement date, Rudenstine only guaranteed that the new vice president will be in place before fall semester.
"Every time I make a prediction it turns out to be wrong, so I'd rather not say, except that we'll certainly have somebody in place before the next academic year begins," Rudenstine said in an interview on Wednesday.
In October, Rudenstine said that he hoped to name the new general counsel by February but was subsequently surprised by the influx of over 400 candidates.
"That has been the basic, nice kind of problem but still a problem--i.e. and enormous number, an over-whelming number, of people we had never heard of applied--and so to simply find out enough information to make the right kind of sort has taken an enormous amount of time," Rudenstine said in an interview last month.
Secretary of the Corporation Michael W. Roberts and Assistant to the President Marc L. Goodheart have handled the day-to-day work of the search, but Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles, Provost Albert Carnesale and the four sitting vice presidents are among the high-ranking officials who are involved with the selection.
Details about the search are closely guarded, but University officials have indicated several candidates are from the New York and Washington, D.C., areas, and some are personally known to senior administrators.
Candidates have begun coming to Cambridge for interviews that are being held at or near the University and not in the applicants' cities, as previously reported by the American Lawyer.
Harvard's top legal position has been vacant since October when former general counsel Margaret H. Marshall was named to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
To produce its original applicant pool, Harvard canvassed alumni and legal professionals across the country and advertised the position in the Chronicle of Higher Education, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Harvard Gazette.
The general counsel manages a team of 11 attorneys and oversees the Harvard University Police Department