Long active in legal services and the organized bar, Lardent served in the ABA's House of Delegates and as chair or member of numerous ABA committees and task forces, including the Commission on Immigration, Consortium on Legal Services and the Public, Commission on Domestic Violence, Task Force on Terrorism, and various ABA committees on pro bono and legal services. She was a member of the ABA Board of Governors from 1996 to 1999. She was named Co-Chair of DLA Piper (US) LLP's innovative global pro bono project, New Perimeter, as well as a member of the Global Advisory Committee for Ashoka's ASE program.
Before joining the Pro Bono Institute, Lardent served as an independent legal and policy consultant for the Ford Foundation, the American Bar Association, state and local bar associations, public interest and legal services programs, and other clients. From 1977 to 1985, she was the founder and first director of the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association, one of the nation's first organized pro bono programs, and, in conjunction with that position, administered a nationwide pro bono technical assistance effort from 1981 to 1985.
Lardent received her undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from Brown University, and her J.D. was awarded by the University of Chicago. Lardent has received a number of awards in recognition of her public service contributions, including the Exemplar Award from the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, the Philadelphia Bar Association Founder Award, the William Reece Smith, Jr. Award from the National Association of Pro Bono Coordinators, the National Association for Public Interest Law's Public Service Award, and was named one of the 90 greatest lawyers in Washington, D.C. by the Legal Times. In 2013, Lardent was named one of The American Lawyer's top 50 innovators in the last 50 years.
Lardent was a guest on National Public Radio, CNN, Washington Watch, Nightline, and other network, cable, and local television and radio programs. She taught at a number of law schools and served as a panelist for numerous organizations and conferences. She also contributed to and wrote a number of publications, law articles, and books.
Terry Carter, 'Queen of Pro Bono' Esther Lardent passes away after 40-year career, ABA Journal (Aug. 2016), http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/esther_lardent_obituary [https://perma.cc/A9DL-XRK9].
Karen Sloan, 'Queen of Pro Bono' Esther Lardent Dies at 68, The National Law Journal (Apr. 4, 2016), https://www.law.com/nationallawjournal/almID/1202754021168/Queen-of-Pro-Bono-Esther-Lardent-Dies-at-68-/ [https://perma.cc/JTR5-CT5Z].