Harvard Law School

Learn more about the country's oldest school.

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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.

Contact Information

Admissions Office, Austin Hall
1515 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 495-3179

Email: jdadmiss@law.harvard.edu
Website: http://www.law.harvard.edu

Fast Facts (Class of 2019)

Enrollment Information

Applicants: 5,231
Total enrollment: 561

Women: 47%
Students of color: 44%
International: 15%

Student to Faculty Ratio: 11.8:1


LSAT 25/75 Percentile: 170/175
GPA 25/75 Percentile: 3.75/3.96

Costs and Fees (2015-2016)

Tuition: $57,200
Total estimated budget: $85,000Application Procedures

Application fee: $85
Application dates: Apply between September 15 and February 1 for admission the following fall.

Harvard Law School strongly encourages application through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), but you can also get a paper copy from the school's website.

In addition to the application form and fee, applicants must submit:

  • Statement Form
  • Personal Statement
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Resume

See Harvard's checklist here.

Transfer Procedures

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 June 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 Law School also offers degree programs for Master of Laws (LL.M.) and Doctor of the Science of Law (J.S.D.).

Study Abroad

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 Activities

Harvard Law School has 15 student journals, including Harvard Law ReviewHarvard International Law ReviewJournal 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%.

Post-Graduation Employment

From the 2014 graduating class, 91.5% were employed at graduation and 96.9% were employed 10 months after graduation. The median starting salary in the private sector was $160,000, and $59,000 in the public sector.

60.9% percent of the Class of 2014 secured work in law firms, 19% received judicial clerkships, 14.6% went to public interest or government positions, 4.7% entered the business field, and less than one percent entered academia.

Harvard Law School in the News

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Fabio, Michelle. "Harvard Law School." ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020, thoughtco.com/harvard-law-school-2154888. Fabio, Michelle. (2020, August 25). Harvard Law School. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/harvard-law-school-2154888 Fabio, Michelle. "Harvard Law School." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/harvard-law-school-2154888 (accessed January 23, 2021).