The Clinical Legal Education Program is one of the most important and valued aspects of a Harvard Law School education, confirming our commitment to providing our students with the best possible educational experience. With dozens of in-house clinics and hundreds of externships, Harvard Law School has more clinical opportunities than any law school in the world. Some of the clinics include:
Clinical education at HLS helps to introduce and explore the roles and responsibilities of a lawyer. Taking a clinical course may aid students in thinking about what sort of law practice or lawyering work they like most. Mentored practice, in an educational setting, also helps students begin to understand their learning styles while getting a head start on learning the skills they will need when they begin their careers.
The Clinical Legal Education Program at Harvard Law School has three basic components:
- direct student responsibility for clients in a realistic practice setting;
- supervision and mentoring by an experienced practitioner; and
- companion classroom sessions in which clinical experience supports and contributes to further discussion and thought.
Seventy-five percent of the class of 2015 participated in clinical work while at HLS. Many students find that this practical lawyering produces a sense of personal accomplishment as well as professional development because, in many cases, they are truly increasing access to justice for the most marginalized members of society. HLS also offers externship placements at various government agencies, nonprofits, and small firms. Many students take advantage of the winter term, spending three to four weeks off campus in a clinical setting and then coming back to campus and continuing the work remotely for the following semester. Students can also design independent clinical work projects that are tailored to unique interests.
From Cyberlaw Clinic—In areas ranging from the so-called “right to be forgotten” to intellectual property to defamation, there is an ongoing debate over how legitimate national laws and preferences should be applied and enforced online in the content takedown context.
“My Clinic experience affirmed my desire to be a transactional attorney and helped prepare me for practice after graduation.”
By Asheley Walker, J.D. '17—I came to law school knowing I wanted to be a transactional attorney, but few, if any, of my classes gave me much insight into what it would be like to practice transactional law.
The Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs is announcing a new clinic, Democracy and the Rule of Law Clinic. Please visit the clinic webpage and read the course catalog description for more information.
By Drake Carden, J.D. '17—I have always taken an interest in food and how our food system operates, but had not done anything pertinent to the field outside of some light reading and Netflix documentary binge-watching.
By Kathryn Yukevich, J.D. '17—In my year with the Criminal Justice Institute, I have seen that the people who work within the criminal justice system have the power to make the system less harsh and less unfeeling.