The country's oldest law school in continuous operation, Harvard Law School (HLS) is part of Harvard University and one of five Ivy League law schools. It is generally ranked in the top five of the country's law schools by U.S. News and World Report (currently #2), and is one of the most selective, with a 2007 acceptance rate of 11%.
Harvard Law School's 3-year full-time Juris Doctor (J.D.) program operates from mid-August to mid-May; no part-time or evening programs are available. Housing information is available through Harvard Law School Housing.
Admissions Office, Austin Hall
1515 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
Fast Facts (Class of 2011)
Total enrollment: 556
Student to Faculty Ratio: 1: 10.3
LSAT Median: 173
LSAT 25/75 Percentile: 170/176
UGPA Median: 3.85
UGPA 25/75 Percentile: 3.74/3.95
Costs and Fees (2009-2010)
Total estimated budget: $69,900
Application fee: $75
Application dates: Apply between September 15 and February 1 for admission the following fall.
In addition to the application form and fee, applicants must submit:
- Statement Form
- Personal Statement
- Two Letters of Recommendation
Competition for transfer admission is high. Transfer applicants must have completed one year (or 1/3 of credits required in a part-time program) at an ABA-accredited law school.
Transfer applicants must complete the online application; the deadline for applying is July 15.
For more information on transferring to Harvard Law School, see Transfer Admission.
Degrees and Curriculum
For the full list of requirements for earning a Juris Doctor degree, see Requirements for the J.D. Degree.
The first-year curriculum includes Civil Procedure, Contracts, Criminal Law, International or Comparative Law, Legislation and Regulation, Property, Torts, First-Year Legal Research and Writing, which includes the First-Year Ames Moot Court Program, and a minimum of two and a maximum of four elective credits. Students choose all courses during the second and third years of study.
Harvard offers several joint degree programs in which students can earn a J.D. along with another professional degree from one of Harvard's graduate or professional schools, including a coordinated J.D./Ph.D program; applications to the programs must be filed separately.
Harvard has several opportunities for students to study abroad, including a combined J.D./L.L.M. program with Cambridge University, semesters abroad in locations such as Switzerland, Australia, China, Japan, Brazil Chile, and South Africa, and a special winter term in various places.
Law Journals and Other ActivitiesHarvard Law School has 15 student journals, including Harvard Law Review, Harvard International Law Review, Journal of Law and Gender, and the Latino Law Review.
Along with many student organizations, the law school has specialized Programs and Centers for specific legal interests including the Child Advocacy Program, East Asian Legal Studies Program, and the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice.Bar Exam Passage Rate
A majority of Harvard Law students take the New York State Bar Exam and, in 2007, achieved a 97.1% pass rate. The overall pass rate for the NY Bar Exam was 77%.
From the 2006 graduating class, 96.4% were employed at graduation and 98.1% were employed nine months after graduation. Starting salaries in the private sector averaged $135,000, and $51,000 in the public sector.
Sixty-six percent of the Class of 2006 secured work in law firms, 23% received judicial clerkships, 7% went to public interest or government positions, 4% entered the business field, and less than one percent entered academia.
Harvard Law School in the News
- Harvard Law Students Start Public Interest Fund
- "On being a 3L with no job offer...from Harvard no less"
- Harvard Law Student v. Google Buzz
- Harvard Law's Public Service Venture Fund
- Harvard Law Establishes Fellowship for Jobless Grads
- Harvard Law Cutting Costs Starting with Coffee
- Harvard's New Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law
- Minow Named New Harvard Law Dean
- Graduated Harvard Law at 19, Now Defending Alleged Music Pirate
- Yellow Ribbon Scholarships for 9/11 Veterans at Harvard Law
- Free Summer LSAT Course at Harvard Law
- Harvard Law Dean's First Semester Grades
- Harvard Law Dean Nominated as U.S. Solicitor General