Harvard Law School

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Harvard Law School
Motto Veritas
Parent school Harvard University
Established 1817
School type Private non-profit
Dean John F. Manning
Location Cambridge, MA, US
Enrollment 1,990
Faculty 135 (full time)
6 (part time)
(See List)
USNWR ranking 4
Bar pass rate 99.4%
LSAT 75th% 176
Median LSAT 174
LSAT 25th% 171
Undergrad. GPA 75th% 3.96
Median Undergrad. GPA 3.92
Undergrad. GPA 25th% 3.78
Volumes in law library 2000000
Annual tuition $70,430
ABA profile link
Outlines 0 (See List)
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Harvard Law School is located in Cambridge, MA

Harvard Law School, often referred to in shorthand as Harvard Law or HLS, is one of the professional graduate schools of Harvard University. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, it is considered one of the world's most renowned law schools and is home to the largest academic law library in the world.

Harvard Law School routinely places as one of the top three law schools in the U.S. News & World Report rankings, along with Yale Law School and Stanford Law School, and usually receives the highest reputational scores from judges, academics and practitioners; it is currently ranked second overall. Harvard Law School is also noted for its size; in its J.D. program, each class has approximately 550 students, compared to about 180 at Stanford, 200 at Yale, 375 at Columbia, and 440 at New York University.

Fourteen of the school's graduates have served on the Supreme Court of the United States, more than any other law school, and another four justices attended the school but did not graduate from it. Six of the current nine members of the court attended HLS: Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg and Breyer. (Ginsburg transferred to and graduated from Columbia Law School.)

The current dean of Harvard Law School is Elena Kagan, who succeeded Robert C. Clark in 2003.

Campus[edit | edit source]

Austin Hall
Langdell Hall, home of the Harvard Law School library

Harvard Law School's campus is located just north of Harvard Yard, the historic center of Harvard University, and contains several architecturally significant buildings.

Austin Hall, the law school's oldest dedicated structure, was completed in the 1880s by architect H. H. Richardson. The Harvard Graduate Center, also known as Harkness Commons, is the law school's student center; it was designed by Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius, along with several law school dormitories.

Langdell Hall, the largest building on the law school campus, contains the HLS library, the most extensive academic law library in the world.

As of 2006, a new structure is scheduled to rise on the northwest corner of the law school campus, to be designed by traditionalist architect Robert A. M. Stern.

History[edit | edit source]

Harvard Law School was established in 1817, making it the oldest continuously-operating law school in the nation. Royall sold most of his Caribbean slaves and plantations to move to Medford, Massachusetts. His Medford estate, the Isaac Royall House, is now a museum, and includes the only remaining slave quarters in the northeast United States. The estate was passed down to Royall's son, Isaac Royall, Jr., who fled Massachusetts as the American Revolution broke out. Just prior to his death in 1781, Royall, Jr. left land to Harvard, the sale of which was intended for the "endowing of a Professor of Laws at said college, or a Professor of Physics and Anatomy". Harvard took the opportunity to fund its first chair of law. The Royall chair remains today, and is traditionally occupied by the Dean of the law school.

In 1806, the Royall estate in Medford was returned to Royall, Jr.'s heirs, who sold it and donated the proceeds for the formal foundation of Harvard Law School. The Royall family coat-of-arms was adopted as the school crest, which shows three stacked wheat sheaves beneath the university motto (Veritas, Latin "truth").

In the 1870s, Dean Christopher Columbus Langdell introduced the standard first-year curriculum - including classes in Contracts, Property, Torts, Criminal Law, and Civil Procedure - as well as the case method of teaching. It became the model for most law schools in the United States.

In 2006, the faculty voted unanimously to approve a new first-year curriculum, placing greater emphasis on problem-solving and international law.

Programs[edit | edit source]

Harvard Legal Aid Bureau[edit | edit source]

The Harvard Legal Aid Bureau is the oldest (and perhaps only) student-run legal services office in the country, founded in 1913. The Bureau's mission is to provide an important community service while giving student attorneys the opportunity to develop professional skills as part of the clinical programs of Harvard Law School.

The Harvard Legal Aid Bureau is a student-run law firm. The Bureau serves clients in housing law (landlord-tenant relations, public housing, subsidized housing), family law (divorce, custody, paternity, child support), government benefits (Social Security, unemployment benefits, Veterans' benefits, welfare), and wage and hour cases (including unpaid or underpaid wages, benefits, and overtime). The Bureau employs seven supervising attorneys and elects approximately twenty student members annually. Students at the Bureau practice under the supervision of admitted attorneys; however, students are primarily casehandlers on all matters. As a result, students gain firsthand experience appearing in court, negotiating with opposing attorneys, and working directly with clients. Students receive both classroom and clinical credits for their work at the Bureau.

Unlike most clinical programs at Harvard (or other schools), the Bureau is a two-year commitment. This gives clients a chance to have a much more sustained and in-depth academic experience. In addition to the substantive legal experience, students gain practical experience managing a law firm. The student board of directors makes all decisions regarding case intake, budget management, and office administration.

Famous alumni include Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, activist Michelle Obama, and professors Erwin Chemerinsky and Laurence Tribe.

Berkman Center for Internet & Society[edit | edit source]

The Harvard Law School is home to the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, which focuses on the study and construction of cyberspace. The Center sponsors conferences, courses, visiting lecturers, and residential fellows. Members of the Center do research and write books, articles, and weblogs with RSS 2.0 feeds, for which the Center holds the specification. The Center's present location is a small Victorian wood-frame building which sits next to the larger-scale buildings of the Harvard Law School campus. It is in the process of relocating to a larger site on the campus' perimeter. Its newsletter, "The Filter", is on the Web and available by e-mail, and it hosts a blog community of Harvard faculty, students and Berkman Center affiliates. The Berkman Center is funding the Openlaw project. One of the major initiatives of the Berkman Center is the OpenNet Initiative, which is a joint worldwide study of the filtering of the web, along with the Universities of Toronto and Cambridge (UK). The Berkman Center was a co-sponsor of Wikimania 2006.

see also: prof Charles Nesson, Lawrence Lessig, Jonathan Zittrain, John Palfrey

Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice[edit | edit source]

Established in the fall of 2005 at Harvard Law School, the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice seeks to honor the contributions of Charles Hamilton Houston, who dedicated his life to using law as a tool to reverse the unjust consequences of racial discrimination. The Institute carries forth Houston's legacy by serving as a hub for scholarship, legal education, policy analysis, and public forums on issues central to current civil rights struggles.

see also Charles Ogletree

Labor & Worklife Program[edit | edit source]

The Labor and Worklife Program (LWP) is Harvard University’s forum for research and teaching on the world of work and its implications for society. Located at the Harvard Law School, the LWP brings together scholars and policy experts from a variety of disciplines to analyze critical labor issues in the law, economy, and society. The LWP also provides unique education for labor leaders throughout the world via the oldest executive training program at Harvard University, the Harvard Trade Union Program, founded in 1942. As a multidisciplinary research and policy network, the LWP organizes projects and programs that seek to understand critical changes in labor markets and labor law, and to analyze the role of unions, business, and government as they affect the world of work. By engaging scholars, students, and members of the labor community, the program coordinates legal, educational, and cultural activities designed to improve the quality of work life.

The faculty, staff, and research associates of the Program include some of the nation’s premier scholars of labor studies and an array of internationally renowned intellectuals. The executive training program (HTUP) works closely with trade unions around the world to bring excellence in labor education to trade union leadership. The LWP regularly holds forums, conferences, and discussion groups on labor issues of concern to business, unions, and the government.

Hale and Dorr Legal Services Center[edit | edit source]

The Hale and Dorr Legal Services Center is one of Harvard Law School’s oldest and largest clinical teaching facilities. The Legal Services Center is a general practice law firm that provides legal counsel to over 1,200 clients annually. It offers students an opportunity to gain practical legal experience and earn academic credit by handling real cases for real clients under the supervision of clinical instructors who are experienced practitioners and mentors. The Hale and Dorr Legal Services Center sponsors up to 70 students each semester through several clinical courses offered at Harvard Law School and, during the summer, sponsors a program for volunteer law students from across the country.

Students working at the Center are placed in one of its clinics housed in five substantive practice groups and work with clinical instructors, experienced practitioners and mentors, who supervise student work and provide guidance as students build and manage their own caseload. The Center provides substantive training in each practice area and also offers general instruction on topics such as client interviewing and intake, case management, legal investigation and discovery, creative legal analysis, research and drafting.

The Hale and Dorr Legal Services Center is located in Boston’s culturally diverse Jamaica Plain neighborhood.

Other Harvard Law School programs[edit | edit source]

Pound Hall

There are two additional programs affiliated with Harvard Law School, the Ames Foundation and the Selden Society.

Publications[edit | edit source]

Students of the Juris Doctor (JD) program are involved in preparing and publishing the Harvard Law Review, one of the most renowned university law reviews, as well as a number of other law journals and an independent student newspaper. The Harvard Law Review was first published in 1887 and has been staffed and edited by some of the school's most notable alumni. The student newspaper, The Record, has been published continuously since the 1950s, making it one of the oldest law school newspapers in the country, and has included the exploits of fictional law student Fenno for decades.

Classroom in Pound Hall

The law journals are:

Notable professors[edit | edit source]

Notable alumni[edit | edit source]

See List of Harvard Law School graduates.

See also: Harvard University people

In popular culture[edit | edit source]

Several movies and television shows take place at least in part at the school. Most of them have scenes filmed on location at or around Harvard University. They include:

Many popular movies and television shows also feature characters introduced as Harvard Law graduates. Some of these include:

Scott Turow, a novelist, has also written a book about his experience as a first-year law student in his memoir One L.

External links[edit | edit source]