About the Center
The Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy at Boston College Law School galvanizes the region’s policy makers and thought leaders to engage in dynamic discussions on critical public policy issues through the Rappaport Distinguished Public Policy Series. The discussions include forums, conferences, and symposia to address societal issues with leaders from government, business, academia, and the nonprofit world.
To inspire future public policy leaders, the Rappaport Center also runs the Rappaport Fellows Program which provides funded summer internships for 12 exceptional law students from Boston College Law School, Boston University School of Law, Harvard University Law School, Northeastern University School of Law, Suffolk University Law School, New England Law | Boston, the University of Massachusetts School of Law, and Western New England University School of Law. These law students are offered opportunities to experience the complexities and rewards of public policy work and public service at the highest levels of state and local government. The program includes coveted summer internships, during which students work with top policy makers; mentorship by the Center’s staff, civic leaders, and respected attorneys; and educational programming.
The Center also established the Jerome Lyle Rappaport Visiting Professors in Law and Public Policy to bring visiting professors, a diverse group of public sector luminaries, to spend a semester at Boston College Law School. The Visiting Professors teach a semester-long seminar on public policy, deliver a community address, and meet with students, faculty, and members of the BC and Rappaport Center communities.
In the 2019 fall term, the Center launched a new initiative introducing Senior Fellows in Residence. Senior Fellows will spend one week at Boston College Law School teaching a policy-oriented seminar, giving a public lecture, and engaging with the BC and Rappaport communities. The Senior Fellows will be practitioners and academics who are deeply involved in research or practice on timely and significant issues of law and public policy.
The Rappaport Center is led by Faculty Director Daniel Kanstroom and Executive Director Elisabeth J. Medvedow. An Advisory Board, chaired by former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, helps guide its work. The Center works in collaboration with the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston at Harvard University.
The Rappaport Center was established at Boston College Law School in 2015 with a gift from the Phyllis & Jerome Lyle Rappaport Foundation.
The Rappaport Fellows and the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy were featured in the Boston Globe, published on October 8, 2020. For the last 20 years, the Rappaport Fellows Program has provided more than 230 gifted law students opportunities to experience government service, at the state and local level, with a focus on public policy and law.
Daniel Kanstroom is Professor of Law, Thomas F. Carney Distinguished Scholar, Faculty Director of the Rappaport Center for Law & Public Policy, Director of the International Human Rights Program, and an Associate Director of the Boston College Center for Human Rights and International Justice. He teaches Immigration and Refugee Law, International Human Rights Law, Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, and the International Human Rights Semester in Practice. Professor Kanstroom was the founder of the Boston College Immigration and Asylum clinic in which students represent indigent noncitizens and asylum-seekers. Together with his students, he has won many high-profile immigration and asylum cases and has provided counsel for hundreds of clients over more than a decade. He and his students have also written amicus briefs for the U.S. Supreme Court, organized innumerable public presentations in schools, churches, community centers, courts and prisons, and have advised many community groups. He was a co-founder of the Immigration Spring Break Trips, where students work on immigration law cases during their Spring Break. Professor Kanstroom’s newest initiative, the Post-Deportation Human Rights Project, seeks to conceptualize and develop a new field of law while representing US deportees abroad and undertaking empirical study of the effects of deportation on families and communities.
Elisabeth J. Medvedow serves as the Inaugural Executive Director of the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy having joined Boston College Law School in 2015.
Medvedow continues in her distinguished career in nonprofit management. For many years before coming to BC Law School, she was Executive Director of Discovering Justice, a civic education nonprofit housed in the Moakley U.S. Courthouse that teaches elementary and middle school students about democracy, justice, social studies, and law. Prior to Discovering Justice, Medvedow championed women lawyers as Executive Director of the Women’s Bar Association and Women’s Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate which brought pro bono legal services to victims of domestic violence, elderly women and men, homeless women, and women prisoners.
For a decade before entering the nonprofit arena, Medvedow was an appellate prosecutor at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. She has briefed and argued numerous cases before the First Circuit Court of Appeals, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and Massachusetts Appeals Court.
Among her many professional and civic activities, Medvedow has been a member of the ABA Advisory Commission to the Standing Committee on Public Education; Governor’s Special Commission on Civic Engagement and Learning; Governor’s Commission on Sexual and Domestic Violence; Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee on Substance Abuse; and the Massachusetts Law Review Board of Editors. She was also awarded a Wasserstein In-Residence Fellowship at Harvard Law School. She was honored with a 2017 Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly “Top Women of Law Circle of Excellence” award, was inducted into the YWCA’s Academy of Women Achievers, is a member of the Women’s Bar Foundation Emeritus Board, and currently serves as President of Congregation Dorshei Tzedek.
Medvedow received her B.A. degree, cum laude, and a M.S. in Education, from the University of Pennsylvania, and her J.D. degree from Northeastern University School of Law. Following law school, she taught for three years at Suffolk University Law School, and then served as a law clerk in the Massachusetts Appeals Court for the Honorable Raya Dreben and in the U.S. District Court for the Honorable John McNaught.
The Advisory Board for the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy assists Center leadership in making strategic decisions on Center policies and programming. The board is made up of some of the most experienced law and public policy leaders in New England. Click on each name to learn more about the Board member.
- Scott Harshbarger
Chair of the Advisory Board
Senior Counsel, Casner & Edwards
- Barbara Anthony
Pioneer Institute & Harvard Kennedy School
- Emily Armstrong
Associate General Counsel
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
- Anthony J. Benedetti
Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS)
- Gregory Bialecki
Redgate Capital Partners
- James Bor-Zale
- Michael Caljouw
Vice President of Public, Government and Regulatory Affairs
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
- Kathryn Carlson
Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, Harvard Kennedy School
- R. Michael Cassidy
Boston College Law School
- Rebekah Levine Coley
Professor, Boston College
Lynch School of Education
- Joseph Curtatone
New England Clean Energy Council
- Sean Fontes
Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training
- Lourdes German
Lecturer in Urban Planning and Design, Harvard University Graduate School of Design
- Nikki Hadas
Senior Vice President and General Counsel
- Michael Jellinek, M.D.
Adult & Child Psychiatrist
- Daniel Kanstroom
Professor and Rappaport Center Faculty Director
Boston College Law School
- Julia Kobick
Assistant Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General
- Patricia McCoy
Boston College Law School
- M. Patrick Moore, Jr.
Hemenway & Barnes
- Mariatu Okonofua
Boston College Law School and Boston College Lynch School
- Kevin Quinn
Founder and CEO
Cottage Capital Partners
- Phyllis Rappaport
Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Foundation
- Rachael Rollins
U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts
- Tanisha M. Sullivan
Associate General Counsel, Sanofi Genzyme
President, NAACP Boston
- Bill Walczak
President and CEO
South End Community Health Center
- Michelle Wu
City of Boston