Senior Clinical Instructor at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. Former fellow and Clinical Instructor at the WilmerHale Legal Services Center, practicing in the areas of housing law and consumer bankruptcy.
Patricia Whiting is a Lecturer on Law and Senior Clinical Instructor at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, where she has been an attorney, teacher, mentor, and advocate for low-income tenants throughout the Boston area since 2006. As part of her practice at the Legal Aid Bureau, Ms. Whiting supervises eight second- and third-year law students in the Housing Practice, while also coordinating the Bureau’s participation in the Attorney for the Day Program in Boston Housing Court, which provides on-the-spot legal assistance to the hundreds of low-income tenants facing the loss of their homes each week. In the past year alone, Ms. Whiting has guided her students through oral argument at the Supreme Judicial Court and the Massachusetts Court of Appeals, as well as through countless hearings, motions arguments, and negotiations, while also advocating to preserve tenants’ legal rights and protections in the Massachusetts State Legislature and working to expand access of low-income clients to appellate fora through the Access to Justice Pro Bono Appeal pilot project.
Her tireless dedication to her students and her clients shines through everything that she does, leaving a lasting mark on the lives of those who have had the immense privilege of learning from and working with her. Ms. Whiting holds an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a J.D. from Boston College Law School.
In the words of some of the HLS community members who nominated her,
“Pattie is an exceptional teacher and clinical instructor but where she excels and inspires most is in her role as a lawyer and an advocate. During my time at the Legal Aid Bureau, I have witnesses Pattie run to the aid of tenants who desperately needed representation but could not get it from a student at the Bureau or other legal services organization. Arguing motions on behalf of a pro se tenant with little or no notice is not part of her job description but her empathy, compassion, and passion compels her to do so and she does so with little praise or fanfare. Students at the Legal Aid Bureau and low-income tenants in the Boston area have benefited immensely from her advocacy. I am a better person and lawyer because I have had the opportunity to work with her, learn from her and watch her.”
“Pattie has been the single most influential person in my law school career. She has been a teacher, advisor, friend, and role model to me in our two years together, and I know that she will continue to shape the way I approach the world even after leaving HLS. Her relentless advocacy for low-income tenants across Boston is legendary to those who know her, but even beyond advocacy, Pattie shines. She is a patient and caring teacher who thinks nothing of taking a student’s panicked midnight call the night before a hearing. She is a mentor who deeply cares about her students’ personal and professional well-being. And she is an amazing example of how female attorneys can be tough, passionate, and compassionate a the same time. I know that, as I begin my legal career, I will be looking to Pattie’s example often, and endeavoring to be more like her.”
“Pattie inspires me every single day. It’s so rare to have the opportunity to meet someone who genuinely cares as much as she does about correcting situations that aren’t right, and who actually does something to make that happen. I’m so grateful to have had the chance to learn from her. She takes on the toughest cases no one else is willing to take on, and she truly leads by example with her commitment, compassion, composure, sense of humor, and firm loyalty to her clients, students, and colleagues. Thank you, Pattie!”
“Pattie is not only one of the most brilliant attorneys I’ve ever seen, she is also dedicated to empowering her students to seek social justice. While some are content to dedicate their lives to public service through the challenging–and often overwhelming–work of poverty law, Pattie is both an unbelievably effective legal aid attorney and a stunningly kind, thoughtful, supportive teacher. I have seen her work firsthand, as she spent two years opening my eyes to the injustice of the housing system in Boston while empowering me to think critically and creatively about how to serve my clients. Time and again, I have watched Pattie simply refuse to let a client or a student down. When a person facing an eviction had run out of every conceivable option; when other legal services organizations had closed their doors and other advocates turned aside, Pattie would be there, bringing her brilliance, strategy, and courage to bear in service of clients others had deemed indefensible. This is the greatest lesson I learned in law school; that to be an advocate extends beyond the courtroom and the classroom–that it is a way of life.”