07/14/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Kagan's Harvard Colleagues Give Justice Candidate Mixed Reviews

During her five years as Harvard Law School dean, [Elena] Kagan pushed through a major curricular reform and won the hearts of students and faculty alike by reaching out with simple gestures, such as opening an ice skating rink (now closed due to budget cuts) and providing free coffee.

But multiple interviews with Law School staff depict Kagan as a brusque leader whose ambitious agenda of effecting change created a culture of high standards and sometimes fostered tense relations with some of her co-workers.

Three Law School colleagues characterized Kagan's management style as "very Washington," an echo of her previous administrative experience in government as Thurgood Marshall's clerk and former President Bill Clinton's Associate White House Counsel.

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