Harvard Law School Dean Reduces Salary Due to Coronavirus's Financial Toll


Harvard Law School Dean John F. Manning ’82 announced in an April 14 email to the Law School that he will reduce his salary for the coming year due to the financial crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Manning’s announcement followed an email from Harvard President Lawrence S. Bacow, Provost Alan M. Garber ’77, and Executive Vice President Katherine N. Lapp addressing the economic impact of the pandemic on University finances. Bacow’s email stated that all senior staff administrators, including graduate school deans, would choose between either reducing their salaries or contributing to a relief fund for employees facing financial hardship.

In his email, Manning acknowledged the “unprecedented” impacts of the virus, which he says is expected to cause a larger financial challenge to the University than the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009. He noted that, in addition to its reduced revenue, the school expects to incur significant new costs.

“As Harvard’s leaders have made clear, every revenue source we depend on – including the endowment and tuition, as well as philanthropy, executive and continuing education, and research support – will be under enormous pressure for the foreseeable future,” he wrote.


Manning added that while he anticipates difficult spending decisions in the coming year, the Law School will prioritize access and affordability, academic mission, and employees in its decision-making.

“As was the case with the 2008-2009 financial downturn, we will continue to make financial aid a top priority as we strive to promote broad accessibility of legal education,” his email reads. “We will strive to limit impacts on our workforce, who make it possible for us each and every day to fulfill our mission.”

The email also addressed the individual financial hardships facing University employees. Manning wrote that he regrets the need to enact measures such as salary and hiring freezes after the immense efforts of faculty and staff to overcome challenges brought on by the pandemic.

“I am truly sorry that we will not be able this year to reward the outstanding level of performance that has been a hallmark of our workforce and especially seen this past month,” Manning wrote. “None of this diminishes my gratitude for the important work you have done and continue to do.”

Manning concluded the email by explaining that the Law School anticipates receiving more clear guidance from the University during the next few weeks, and praising students, faculty, and staff.

“Your collective commitment to this School, to our mission of teaching and learning the law, and to one another is an inspiration, and I believe that, thanks to you, Harvard Law School will emerge stronger than ever,” he wrote.

—Staff writer Kelsey J. Griffin can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @kelseyjgriffin.