Daniel Nagin ’87
Daniel says he began to understand the importance of education at Crossroads, where he learned to think critically and value community.
Upon graduating from Crossroads, Daniel Nagin didn’t envision a career in academia. But he wanted to find a way to combine advocacy and teaching opportunities with a focus on social justice.
That desire led him to Harvard Law School, where he serves as a clinical law professor, vice dean for experiential and clinical education and faculty director of its veterans legal clinic and Legal Services Center.
Daniel’s days are filled with a mix of activities: teaching in the classroom and in smaller group settings; strategizing with law students; interacting with clients, attorneys and court officials; overseeing the work of the clinics; developing grant proposals; and supporting the law school’s clinical and experiential learning programs.
“The only way that becoming a lawyer made any sense to me was if I tried to use the law to protect the rights of vulnerable communities—those experiencing financial distress, people with disabilities, and others,” he says. “As a teacher, I hope I am helping students to develop a toolkit they can use not just to be outstanding advocates, but outstanding advocates whose career choices and pro bono commitments reflect a desire to enhance access to justice for the indigent.”
Daniel says he is deeply appreciative of the education he received at Crossroads, where he learned to think critically and value community while also winning a state championship in his senior year as a member of the varsity boys basketball team under then-coach Dave Benezra.
He studied history and government at Cornell University before earning his master’s in education from Stanford University and his juris doctorate from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was honored for excellence as a clinical law student.
Daniel has worked for nonprofit legal services organizations on issues ranging from HIV/AIDS and eviction to domestic violence and public benefits, but he gravitated toward working with veterans after a family member served in Iraq. In his current roles, he strives to empower students to help others in similar ways.
“It is truly inspiring to see our law students bring about positive changes in the lives of our clients,” he says.