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Harvard Law School

Harvard Law School Rating: 3.8/5 (5 votes)

Academics

In addition to the J.D., the law school offers the LL.M. and S.J.D. Students may take relevant courses in other programs and apply credit toward the J.D.; a maximum of 10 credits through cross credits may be applied. The following joint degrees may be earned: J.D./LL.M. (Juris Doctor/Master of Laws (University of Cambridge, England)), J.D./M.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Arts), J.D./M.A.L.D. (Juris Doctor/Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy with Tufts), J.D./M.B.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration), J.D./M.P.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Public Administration), J.D./M.P.H (Juris Doctor/Master of Public Health), J.D./M.P.P. (Juris Doctor/Master of Public Policy), and J.D./Ph.D. (Juris Doctor/Doctor of Philosophy).

The Law School has no formal program of offering concentrations in particular specialties. However, because the curriculum is so extensive, it allows for many different paths of study. Students are encouraged to discuss their plans with faculty members involved in relevant areas of study and are encouraged to take courses in a number of different fields, as well as in other parts of the University. The school offers a broad array of clinical opportunities to students. Through Harvard’s Hale and Dorr Legal Services Center, students can focus on a number of practice areas, including the Community Enterprise Project, Medical and Legal Services Unit, Family and Children’s Law Practice, Immigration Law, Housing Law and Litigation, and the General Practice Unit. The Criminal Justice institute is Harvard Law School’s curriculum-based clinical program in criminal law. The Harvard Defenders is a student-operated organization dedicated to providing quality legal representation to people with low income in criminal show-cause hearings and welfare fraud. The Harvard Legal Aid Bureau is a student-run legal services office dedicated to providing legal assistance to low-income people and to creating a clinical education environment in which its members learn from legal practice. The Harvard Mediation Program (HMP) works to resolve disputes both in and out of the courts in the Boston area. Students can also participate in a wide variety of externships for credit, including the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic, Office of Attorney General, U.S. and District Attorneys offices as well as numerous government agencies and nonprofit organizations. More than 30 courses offer clinical field work experience and more than 2 others include simulated exercises. There are 75 seminars, including those on affirmative action, the federal budgetary process, and corporate theory. Internships are available for credit. Research programs may be conducted with the Center for Criminal Justice; the Berman Center for Internet & Society; Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics; Child Advocacy Program; Human Rights Program; East Asian Legal Studies; International Tax Program; Program on International Financial Systems; European Law Research Center; Program in Law and Economics; Program on the Legal Profession; Program on Negotiation; International and Comparative Legal Studies; International Tax Program; and Islamic Legal Studies. Field work is available in business, civil and criminal, mediation, and environmental law. A number of courses provide students with field work in local courts and government agencies, and others provide instruction in aspects of legal practice through simulated casework and a problem-oriented approach. Special lecture series include the BSA Speaker Series, the DSAC Brown-Bag Lunch Discussion Series, East Asian Legal Studies Speaker Program, HLS Forum, Human Rights Program Speaker Series, and Introduction to the World of Law. The Saturday School, in an effort to increase dialog between faculty and students, offers a series of informal lectures by individuals from diverse backgrounds and careers such as law professors, judges, former prison inmates, writers, artists, government and law enforcement officials, and health care providers. Law students may propose a 1 semester course of study at a foreign institution. The most widely taken electives are Constitutional Law, Taxation, and Corporations.

To earn the J.D., candidates must complete 82 total credits, of which 30 are for required courses. The following first-year courses are required of all students: an elective, Civil Procedure, Contracts, Criminal Law, Lawyering, Property, and Torts. Required upper-level courses consist of a professional responsibility requirement and a written work requirement. The required orientation program for first-year students lasts 2 days and is described as comprehensive.

In order to graduate, candidates must have completed the upper-division writing requirement.

Admissions

In the fall 2007 first-year class, 7127 applied, 811 were accepted, and 557 enrolled. Figures in the above capsule and in this profile are approximate. Twenty-six transfers enrolled. The median LSAT percentile of the most recent first-year class was 99; the median GPA was 3.81 on a scale of 4.0.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and take the LSAT. All applications receive a full file review. No specific undergraduate courses are required. Candidates are not interviewed.

Applicants should submit an application form, LSAT results, transcripts, a nonrefundable application fee, and 2 letters of recommendation. Students are urged to visit the school. A personal statement and a college certification form are required. Accepted students must make a deposit of $500. Notification of the admissions decision is on a rolling basis. The law school uses the LSDAS. Check with the school for current deadlines.

Financial Aid

About 81% of current law students receive some form of aid. The average annual amount of aid from all sources combined, including scholarships, loans, and work contracts, is $42,823; maximum, $54,000. Awards are based on need. Required financial statements are the CSS Profile, the FAFSA, and Need Access. First-year students are notified about their financial aid application at some time after admission. Assuming a timely aid application, students are not required to submit a deposit to reserve a place in the class until a financial aid decision has been made.

Students

About 45% of the student body are women; 33%, minorities; 11%, African American; 12%, Asian American; 6%, Hispanic; and 1%, Native American. The majority of students come from the Northeast (27%). The average age of entering students is 24; age range is 20 to 37. About 41% of students enter directly from undergraduate school and 12% have a graduate degree. About 1% drop out after the first year for academic or personal reasons; 99% remain to receive a law degree.

Students edit the Harvard Law Review, Blackletter Law Journal, Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, Human Rights Journal, Journal of Law and Public Policy, Journal of Law and Technology, Journal on Legislation, Journal of Law & Gender, International Law Journal, Environmental Law Review, Latino Law Review, Negotiation Law Review, the student newspaper, the Harvard Law Record, and a yearbook. Moot court opportunities include the Ames Competition, which offers moot court competitions for first-year and upper-class students. The school also participates in interschool contests, including the Willston Legislative Drafting Competition and the Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. Students may choose to participate in more than 80 student organizations and 14 publications.

The law school operates on a traditional semester basis. Courses for full-time students are offered days only and must be completed within 3 years. There is no part-time program. New students are admitted in the fall. There is no summer session. Transferable summer courses are not offered.

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