Clinical Professor Esme Caramello ’99 is among the 2018 Top Women of Law honored by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. The award ceremony, held on October 18, honors “legal educators, trailblazers, and role models who have demonstrated outstanding accomplishments in social justice advocacy and business.”
Professor Caramello joined the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (HLAB) in 2009 as deputy director and clinical instructor after having worked in the Housing Unit at HLS’s WilmerHale Legal Services Center and at Suffolk University Law School’s Housing Clinic. As a clinical instructor at the WilmerHale Legal Services Center, she worked with students to help protect the rights of low-income tenants and homeowners. She was appointed to clinical professor of law in 2014 by Dean Martha Minow and shortly thereafter became the faculty director at HLAB.
“Esme’s experience in tenants’ rights is second to none,” said Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow. “Under her guidance, students connect practice and theory to solve important legal and policy issues affecting low-income individuals. Passionate and compassionate, her strategic approach ensures that the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau will continue to lead in vital work.”
Professor Caramello currently serves on several boards, including the Boston Bar Foundation, and the Cambridge City Manager’s Advisory Committee, and the Access to Justice Commission, where she serves on the Access to Attorneys Committee and co-chairs the Justice for All Housing Working Group. Professor Caramello also helped found the Developing Justice project at HLS, an initiative that uses technology to close the justice gap.
Professor Caramello is an inspiration to many students, faculty, and staff. In 2014, she was honored by HLS, the Women’s Law Association, and the Law and International Development Society in their photo exhibition for International Women’s Day, entitled Inspiring Change, Inspiring Us. HLAB alum Annie Lee who nominated Esme at the time wrote:
I’m inspired by Esme Caramello who works tirelessly to help low-income tenants facing eviction…When she’s not in court, Esme’s in the Bureau teaching and mentoring HLAB student attorneys. She’s generous with her time and dedicated to making us astute, ethical, and compassionate lawyers. I feel so lucky to have gotten to work with Esme on an eviction case last year. She let me take the reins in the case and strategize how to keep an elderly African-American woman in her home. She’s an excellent clinical instructor and has mentored me, as well as multiple classes of HLS men and women.
Caramello is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.