Condolence Messages

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​From: Byron Edwards, Student in her Climate Solutions Living Lab class

As a business school student, Wendy's Climate Solutions Lab was the only class I took at the law school. And I was so happy I took it! Wendy cared deeply about the problems we wrestled with, balancing feasibility with the need to thing BIG. She shared the limelight with other incredible professors who dropped by for a class or two. And beyond the climate topic area, she showed a strong interest in the well-being of her students, including myself. I will remember Wendy as a kind, motivated, and optimistic professor whose legacy is carried by all of the people she taught and inspired.

​From: Seth Jaffe, Colleague and Partner of Wendy at Foley Hoag for many years

I worked with Wendy for almost 20 years. My mother used to say that comparisons are odious, so I won't say that I learned more from Wendy than from anyone else, but she's certainly right up there. I learned a lot about the law from Wendy, but more than any specific substantive issues, I learned how to be a lawyer from Wendy. Wendy never gave anything less than 100% to her work and she expected the same from everyone else. She taught commitment and that what we do every day matters. I will miss her very much.

​From: Robert N. Stavins, Harvard Faculty Member

I had the great pleasure of first getting to know Wendy when I served as an expert for an environmental case she was handling in private practice many years ago. Subsequently, I was delighted to recommend her for a position at Harvard Law School. And over the many years since she joined the Clinic, I had the joy of working with Wendy periodically. She loved her two daughters so much; I extend my condolences to them and all of Wendy's family. This very sad. She passed much too soon.

​From: Itzchak E. Kornfeld, Colleague

I had the privilege, and I do mean privilege, of meeting Wendy twice. Each of these times, what struck me most was her energy, warmth, conviviality and off course her intellect. She knew so much about environmental law and life itself that I was in awe of her. I suppose that the cliché "only the good die young" may seem trite. But in Wendy's case it rings so true. May her memory be for a blessing.

​From: John Cella, Clinical Student

I was a second year law student without much real world experience when I walked into Wendy’s office to discuss clinical options and projects. She helped me channel my profound concern with climate change into legal work that actually made a difference. Although there were—and continue to be—so many negative news stories when it comes to our environment, Wendy’s environmental law clinic was also a bright, hopeful place because of her commitment to the work and her care for all of her students.

​From: Byron Ruby, Former Student, HLS '17

I met Professor Jacobs in an elevator my first week of law school. I was eager, bright-eyed, and very keen on getting into the study of environmental law. I already knew who she was, so when I happened to enter the elevator with her at Wasserstein Hall, it was a bit of a celebrity moment. I felt like I had a literal and proverbial 'elevator pitch' to introduce myself and explain to her why she should let a 1L into her over-subscribed class on renewables. I expected a cold dismissal. But instead, what I got was reciprocation. She returned my naive and eager enthusiasm with equally passionate energy. Her eyes lit up immediately when I mentioned the class and her clinic. It didn't matter that it was overbooked, she said, she would find a way. And it didn't matter that it wasn't really open for 1Ls, she said, she would find a way. And when I called her Professor Jacobs, she said, "just call me Wendy." That sums up Professor Jacobs in a lot of ways. Over the next three years, I did take her class and did multiple clinic stints with her. Professor Jacobs supported me like many of her students. Not only did she push me further in class, she wrote letters of recommendation for me, gave career and class selection advice, helped set up winter term opportunities, and served as a thought partner and ally during my time as President of the Environmental Law Society, as we both shared visions of what could be possible. She was demanding and indefatigable, energetic and relentless, accomplished yet humble. She will be sorely missed. Rest in peace, Wendy.

​From: Elizabeth Willmott, Guest Speaker at Climate Solutions Living Lab class

I first met Wendy when she invited me to speak at her Living Lab class, and in every interaction I found Wendy to be extremely committed, highly engaging, kind, and joyful. I kept thinking how much I wished her class had existed when I was a student at the Kennedy School 15+ years ago!

​From: Henry Lee, Faculty Colleague

I first met Wendy about fifteen years ago, when I supported her work on liability issues and CCUS. She kindly invited me to participate in her Climate lab class, which embodied many of her priorities. It brought together students from 5 or more of the schools at Harvard--a collaboration that was not replicated in any other part of the university. It focused on climate--an existential problem and on solutions that could be implemented by real clients in real locations. Students have told me that it was one of their most inspiring experiences at Harvard--because it was interdisciplinary and steeped in the real world. They also loved Wendy because she cared deeply about their dreams, their hopes and their futures. I will remember Wendy as someone who was always helpful and caring . Her infectious smile and enthusiasm will be sorely missed, She was one of the nicest people that I have worked with in my forty years at Harvard.

​From: Rebecca Stern, Student and Teaching Fellow for her course, the Climate Solutions Living Lab

Wendy was an inspiration to so many of us. She worked tirelessly and was one of the few people I've ever met who could get down to the essentials of a given issue so well. She did her own research and taught us how to do ours rigorously (boots on the ground of course-I will always remember the field trips like to the steam plant and laboratories). I will really miss Wendy and her bold character, intelligent ideas, and passion for protecting the environment. My sincere condolences to her family and her daughters, who she spoke of often to me and loved so much.

​From: Ryke Longest, Environmental Clinical Colleague from Duke Environmental Law and Policy Clinic


Please accept my condolences for your loss. Professor Jacobs' love for her work shown through every time I got to work with her. Tirelessly advocating for both just outcomes for her clients and excellent learning experiences for her students, She truly exemplified the ideal example for clinical teachers in the environmental law space. I have learned the lesson that all flourishing is mutual, and the Emmett Clinic's students, faculty, and clients have all flourished. Professor Jacobs clearly promoted that flourishing in every choice she made.

​From: Esme Caramello, HLS Colleague

I am deeply saddened that the world has lost Wendy. She was a great lawyer and teacher, and I loved working with her. Wendy was wise and serious when she needed to be, but she also had a great laugh and an ability to help us find sustaining humor in work that is often just frustrating and difficult. She was also absolutely dedicated to pursuing excellence in the things that were most important to her: her family and her social justice work. My conversations with Wendy almost always involved her trying to figure out a better way to care for someone else -- her students, her daughters, the Earth. She searched, she inquired, she experimented. She never rested on her laurels and never gave up, and what a difference she made.

​From: Ruthzee Louijeune, Student


Professor Jacobs was my professor during my J-term 1L Problem Solving Workshop. She was kind, and she was one of the first people at HLS to talk frankly about the challenges women face in the legal profession. I remember we went out to lunch together once and I got to know Professor Jacobs outside of the classroom setting. She continued to share advice and wisdom she gained as a woman in the profession, and that advice has stuck with me ever since. This news is so very sad. My condolences to her daughters and her entire family. May she be at peace.

​From: Seung Kyum Kim, Teaching Fellow for her Climate Solutions Living Lab course


I still vividly remember every class and meeting with Wendy for the Climate Solutions Living Lab course in 2018 and 2019. Wendy was an incredible and undoubtedly the most caring and creative teacher. She always guided me through my difficult times. I have never forgotten her kindness and warm caring to my family when my daughter was in a hospital for surgery. I will miss her very much, but Wendy will remain alive in my heart. My deepest condolences to her family and her daughters.

​From: Martha Minow, Colleague


From our first meeting--when I participated in the interviews leading to her joining the HLS faculty--through my time as her dean, Wendy opened ways of thinking rigorously, passionately, and strategically about environmental law and justice, about teaching and learning, and about how lawyers can make changes. Her ideas for collaborations with cities and companies as well as advocates became reality. Her ideas for cross-university and multi-disciplinary teams became reality. Her challenge to students to dive in and work at the highest level of excellence became reality as students developed superb and effective work. We had many conversations about how to improve teaching and learning and Wendy proved an invaluable special advisor to the Dean's Office especially because of her nuanced understanding of different capacities that law teaching seeks to cultivate. Wendy worked hard to support fellow teachers. Here she drew on her experiences, her research, and her empathy and knowledge as a passionate parent of her two remarkable daughters. Because she joined high standards with generous sharing of her own time and talents, she brought out the best in so many others. That example is one of her many legacies for all of us.

​From: Elizabeth Forsyth, Former Clinic Student

Professor Jacobs helped launch my environmental litigation career, training me in the skills I now use daily and helping me land one of my first internships. I will be forever grateful to her, and I am so sorry for her loss.

​From: James Pollack, Student, HLS '20
Wendy was an extraordinary resource to the environmental law community at HLS. She created incredible opportunities through tenacious work and a passion for her students. I am so grateful for the opportunities and mentorship she provided to me and countless others. The clinic and climate lab were truly labors of love. We will all miss her dearly.
​From: Izumi Matsumoto, LL.M. Student (Class of 2015)


I was terribly shocked by the news and still cannot fully sort out my feelings. Wendy kindly permitted me to join her class in 2013 when I was an HKS student. We went out together with our families in summer 2013, spending wonderful time at her friends' house. Then, I was admitted to the LL.M. program and spent another year together with her at HLS. Without Wendy, my life now must look quite differently. I'd like to extend my deepest condolences.

​From: Mike Maruca, Environmental Law Clinic and Climate Solutions Living Lab Student, HLS '18


Wendy was a demanding teacher - the winter term environmental law clinic felt like my first introduction to what it would really mean to be a 'lawyer' all day every day. She expected you to be strategic, thoughtful, thorough and empathetic. Of course, I wanted to join her CSLL, which ended up being the most audacious and ambitious "class" I ever took. It built bridges across the graduate programs and was one of those rare instances where I felt like Harvard was really reaching for its cross-disciplinary potential. I relied on Wendy for career advice at each step I have taken thus far, knowing that she could truly see me, had my best interests at heart, and had a huge breadth of experience upon which to base such advice. I will miss her.

​From: Nicole Pepperl, Clinical Student, HLS '12

I’m so sorry for your loss. Wendy was an incredible person and a wonderful mentor. I learned so much from working with her at the environmental clinic—although she gave practical legal advice, she also encouraged us to find our own paths and not depend on someone to give us all the answers. Wendy was committed to the clinic, but it was also just one part of her life. I fondly remember running into her and her daughters at the Cambridge Public Library. It was nice to finally meet the daughters she talked about so often. I hope it brings you some comfort to know that Wendy touched many lives and that we’ll always remember what she taught us. I’ll miss her so much.

​From: Aryt Alasti, Former gardener


I tended to Wendy's garden for some years, and am so sorry to learn of this heartbreaking tragedy. For her two young daughters, especially, this loss of an incredible mom is unimaginably devastating.

​From: Sanjay Seth, Climate Solutions Living Lab and Clinic Student, HKS/GSD '19


I remember Wendy as a thoughtful, kind, and ambitious educator and practitioner who created unique opportunities for students to learn and develop. She was always generous with her time and with her advice. The strategic and bold work of Wendy and her dedicated team in building and delivering the Climate Solutions Living Lab and in her engagement and mentorship with students in her Clinic - with all the opportunities she and her team created to help this field progress in bold directions throughout her work - was and remains a treasured experience from my time in graduate school. My sincere condolences to her family and her colleagues.

​From: Peter Zipparo, Former Clinic Student, HLS '17


Wendy Jacobs was an inspirational teacher and mentor. She was passionate about creating opportunities for her students and helping enable them to achieve their goals. Her dedication to the environment and to helping those around her succeed was immediately clear to those around her. She held herself and her students to the highest standards of professionalism, setting a precedent of excellence that undoubtedly set the trajectory for many of her students' legal careers. Hers was the most rigorous practice of law - ethically grounded, of the highest levels of technical legal mastery, and dedicated to the service of others. I will always remember Wendy and my experience at the environmental law clinic as a cornerstone of my law school career. Her legacy lives on in the countless students she has inspired.

​From: Victoria Ohaeri, LLM ‘15


It hurts me a lot to know that I will not see Wendy again, because I know that where she is today she no longer suffers.

​From: Helen Kang, Environmental Law Clinics Colleague


Wendy exemplified what's best about the environmental law clinical community - singularity of focus, dedication to the ideals of justice and a clean environment, dedication to creating a collaborative learning environment, where students teach the teachers, too. When emailed to consult with her about an issue - or to compliment her on the many accomplishments of the clinic - she never once complained about lack of time to do the right thing, even despite all of the demands on her time - and in recent months, her illness. Only when I asked, "did you get any sleep" while accomplishing the many things reported in the clinic's yearly summary of work, did she respond that she in fact hadn't gotten much in the last year, while the former president was destroying this very country from within. I had no hint that she was ill. We'll miss her, but the students she built a community with will, I'm sure, remember her in the ways she'd have liked to be remembered by - in the moments when they need to practice with integrity.

​From: Mindy Goldstein, Colleague and Friend

Wendy was a shining light in the environmental clinical community. She was quick to share her ideas, mentorship, and kindness. She graciously welcomed me into the clinical community with open arms. And for more than a decade, she was a collaborator and a friend. Through our work in the Turner Environmental Law Clinic at Emory University School of Law, we will strive to continue in her footsteps and build on her legacy. She is sorely missed.

​From: Daniel Nagin, Harvard Law School Clinical Faculty Colleague

Wendy's passing is so painful for so many because of the countless ways she touched people and the world around her. She was kind and generous to all even as she pursued justice and clinical teaching with such fierce intelligence and determination. Wendy was already a faculty member when I first came to HLS as a new colleague. She had more than enough to do leading and teaching her own clinic and guiding countless cases and projects to protect the Earth we share--not to mention all that she did as a loving and devoted mom to two young daughters. Despite all these commitments, Wendy took the time to be incredibly warm and welcoming to me and demonstrated over and over again how eager she was to be helpful and supportive. I was not alone. Wendy did that for everybody she encountered--whether student or colleague, whether near or far. I greatly admired Wendy for all her gifts and the values she embodied. She was a true exemplar for what it means to be an advocate, teacher, and friend. My deepest condolences to Wendy's family.

​From: Vickie Patton, General Counsel, Environmental Defense Fund

Wendy was a brilliant environmental attorney and so much more. Her concern for the environment was anchored in an unwavering commitment to justice and empathy for others afflicted by environmental harm. Wendy taught us all how to think boldly in addressing environmental issues through law as she was courageous and tenacious in tackling the most important and difficult challenges. In addition to mentoring numerous environmental law students, Wendy mentored countless practitioners. I am immeasurably grateful for the guidance and wisdom Wendy generously shared with me and with many attorneys at Environmental Defense Fund. All of us at Environmental Defense Fund offer our heartfelt condolences to Wendy’s daughters and to all of Wendy’s family and friends.

​From: Sean Donahue, Attorney who worked with Wendy on a number of Clean Air Act/climate cases


Wendy was just a delight to work with -- always keen to make things happen despite challenging deadlines, daunting records, and the need to juggle academic calendars, students schedules and litigation deadlines. Her knowledge of and concern for her students -- and the cases the clinic took on -- was manifested in everything she did, including her insistence on matching projects with just the right student. She was a splendid, savvy litigator, a devoted teacher and an uplifting presence. My sincere condolences to her family, friends, colleagues and students.

​From: Emily Fry, Climate Solutions Living Lab Student

I loved being taught by Wendy at the Climate Solutions Living Lab. Her vision to decarbonise the economy, and her ability to make things happen were inspiring. She was also very generous to her students, providing extensive feedback, and support on our projects. I will fondly remember the final Climate Solutions Living Lab, and Wendy is a huge loss to Harvard's climate ambitions.

​From: Christopher Derby Kilfoyle, Plaintiff in Carroll et. al, v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts


Wendy is one of the wisest persons I've met.  Her leadership of the staff and students at the Emmett Clinic on our complex case, decided ten years ago in our favor, continues to benefit solar development in Massachusetts.  As many have remarked, what a difference she has made.  Our deepest condolences to her family and staff and friends.

​From: Toby Warden, Colleague


I only knew Wendy through the Climate Solutions Living Lab. I met her at a related conference at Vanderbilt University in 2019 and then traveled to Cambridge to participate as an expert during the evening of presentations on the work of the students. I participated again the following year remotely. I was looking forward to joining the event regularly each year. Wendy was a tremendous inspiration and still is to me as her work is of great value. Her foresight to identify how to best prepare students to collectively tackle climate change has been nothing short of inspiring. I am so sorry for your loss.

​From: Caitlin Peale Sloan, Conservation Law Foundation's Interim VP for Massachusetts


CLF's Massachusetts team and I were deeply sorry to hear of Wendy's passing. She was an incredible mentor and leader for so many of our advocates and interns over the years, and her passion and tenacity for her students and environmental work set the bar for all of us. She will be missed.

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