Elena Kagan was confirmed as the 45th Solicitor General of the United States in March 2009. Prior to her confirmation, Elena Kagan was the Charles Hamilton Houston Professor of Law and the 11th Dean of Harvard Law School. During her nearly six-year tenure as Dean, Harvard Law School expanded and enhanced its faculty, modernized its curriculum, developed new campus facilities, promoted public service, and improved the student experience.
A leading scholar of administrative law, Kagan came to Harvard Law School as a visiting professor in 1999 and became Professor of Law in 2001. While on the faculty, Kagan taught administrative law, constitutional law, civil procedure, and seminars on issues involving the separation of powers. She was appointed Dean of the Law School in 2003.
From 1995 to 1999, Kagan served in the White House, first as Associate Counsel to the President (1995-96) and then as Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council (1997-99). In those positions she played a key role in the executive branch’s formulation, advocacy, and implementation of law and policy in areas ranging from education to crime to public health.
Kagan launched her academic career at the University of Chicago Law School, where she became an assistant professor in 1991 and a tenured professor of law in 1995. In 1993, Kagan received the graduating students’ award for teaching excellence.
Kagan clerked for Judge Abner Mikva of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit from 1986 to 1987. The next year, she clerked for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the United States Supreme Court. She worked as an associate in the Washington, D.C. law firm of Williams & Connolly from 1989 to 1991.
Kagan received her bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from Princeton in 1981. She attended Worcester College, Oxford, as Princeton’s Daniel M. Sachs Graduating Fellow, and received an M. Phil. in 1983. She then attended Harvard Law School, where she was supervising editor of the Harvard Law Review, and graduated magna cum laude in 1986.