Search for Top Harvard Lawyer Narrows to Two Finalists

Nearly a year after former General Counsel Anne Taylor stepped down from her post as Harvard’s top lawyer, University President Lawrence H. Summers has narrowed the search for her replacement to no more than two candidates.

Acting General Counsel Robert W. Iuliano ’83 is one finalist, while the other is a former Justice Department lawyer, according to two University officials.

One official said Summers interviewed the second finalist, currently at a Washington law firm, several weeks ago. While the official did not know Summers’ intent, he speculated that because nothing had been announced following that interview, Iuliano was likely the only remaining candidate.

“Iuliano is competent and well-liked and there seems to be no other candidate still in sight,” the official said.

Summers has declined comment on the progress of the search, and declined comment through a spokesperson last night on whether he had narrowed the search to two finalists or decided on Iuliano.

Iuliano has been an attorney in the General Counsel’s office for nearly ten years. He was named deputy general counsel in 2000 before taking over as acting general counsel when Taylor left in June.

The General Counsel—a position which must be approved by the Corporation, the University’s highest governing body—is responsible for all legal matters at the University. As a vice president, the general counsel is one of the president’s top advisers.

It is also one of the best paying jobs in the University—Taylor earned $305,511 in salary and benefits during Fiscal Year 2002.

In his position this year, Iuliano, who could not be reached for comment last night, has advised Harvard professors about the implications of anti-terrorism legislation on research and academic freedom.

He has overseen Harvard’s response to an $102 million federal lawsuit alleging that the University and two of its affiliates violated the terms of a government contract to advise Russia on its transition to capitalism.

Before coming to Harvard in 1994, Iuliano worked on cases involving drug, tax, fraud, money-laundering and labor law at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston.

Jamie S. Gorelick ’72, who has advised Summers on the search in her position as a member of the Board of Overseers, the University’s second-highest governing body, said she thought he was seeking not just a competent lawyer but a more general adviser.

“As I conceive of the role of the lawyer—both when I’ve provided legal services and when I’ve received legal services—I’ve wanted a counselor, someone who could say, ‘here’s what I would do or here’s where I think your approach is wrong,’” said Gorelick, who served as deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration.

She declined to comment on who she had recommended to Summers, but said he had considered a wide variety of candidates.

“The person needs to be all around a good lawyer, someone who can manage people, someone who has substantive expertise in at least some of the areas the University is concerned with,” said Gorelick, currently the vice chair of Fannie Mae. “On a personal level he has to be someone who is a very strong counselor for the president and his immediate staff.”

Eric Holder, who followed Gorelick as deputy attorney general under Clinton, said he had not heard of any former Justice Department officials who were candidates, but agreed that range was essential to the General Counsel position.