Meet the Southfield native who just made history at Harvard Law School

Stephen Ball began his role as Harvard Law School’s new dean of students on March 7. From his hometown of Southfield, he made history as the first black man to hold this position at the school since its founding in 1817. The 36-year-old is also only the second black person to hold this position. job. The first was a black woman.

Growing up in Southfield, Ball said the diversity of his hometown influenced him during his formative years and continues to shape his perception of how people from different backgrounds can live and thrive together. .

“At HLS, I will serve and represent all students — nearly 2,000 in total — and these are students from across the country and around the world, from all walks of life,” Ball said. noted in an interview with the newspapers C and G.

Ball, in his new role, will help promote student well-being by creating enriching student programming, helping them prepare for the bar application process, connecting students to school resources, mentoring and overseeing campus events.

Ball grew up in two homes in Southfield. After high school, he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Michigan. He graduated from Harvard Law School with his Juris Doctor in 2010.

As a graduate student in public policy, he interned at the mayor’s office in Detroit and at a large nonprofit in New York City. While in law school, he articled with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the Washington, D.C. office of a major law firm. He then practiced law in New York at a major national law firm for nearly six years.

After, he worked for an insurance company near San Francisco, then headed to Airbnb before joining Wells Fargo, where he worked as senior vice president and chief strategy officer, helping to drive the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity both professionally and personally,” Ball said. noted of his new role at Harvard Law School. “It builds on what I have achieved in my previous roles, while also allowing me to take on a whole new challenge. To be able to bring it all together for a place that is so close to my heart is deeply inspiring.”

Ball has indeed reached many milestones in his life and in his career. Although there were difficult times, he said that everything he had been through helped him grow.

“I often tell students that their careers are likely to be long – 30 to 40 years, maybe even longer,” he told C and G Newspapers. “For this reason, they should embrace their curiosities and passions, as long as other responsibilities in life permit.”

In a message to the Harvard Law School community, John F. Manning ’85, Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and Dean of Student Services Jessica Soban ’07 said they were happy to have Ball back at Harvard Law School.

“His time as a student here, his broad knowledge of our profession, and his demonstrated commitment to mentoring and promoting the aspirations and talents of others make him an excellent choice to be our new Dean of Students.” they wrote.

Jon J. Epps