The Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (HLAB) is unique among HLS programs of clinical legal education in that its legal services program is largely student-run. Founded in 1913, HLAB has a long history of responding to the legal needs affecting low-income persons in the greater Boston area. The Bureau consists of approximately 45 second- and third-year student members who make two-year commitments to the Bureau’s program of clinical education and legal services to the indigent community. Student membership in HLAB carries with it an integrated two-year academic and clinical training in legal practice skills and ethics. HLAB members are expected to devote at least 20 hours per week of clinical practice and related activities.
Students represent indigent clients in civil matters in the Massachusetts courts. Working under the supervision of seven clinical instructors, each with extensive public interest and private practice experience, all students assume direct responsibility for representation of low-income clients from intake interview to final disposition. Each year the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau handles approximately 275 cases in varied practice areas, including family law, housing law, wage and hour law, and government benefits. Bureau practice frequently involves appearances by student attorneys before state courts, hearing officers, and administrative law judges. Students also have the opportunity to engage in other forms of advocacy, including a foreclosure task force and running clinics for pro se litigants. As a student-run legal services program, members and their elected student board of directors are responsible for the governance of the Bureau organization.
Student work includes:
- Engaging in factual and legal research
- Client interviewing and counseling
- Drafting legal memoranda
- Arguing motions and trials before a court
How to Apply
The Harvard Legal Aid Bureau is offered in a Fall-Spring semester. You can learn about the required clinical course component, additional requirements and requisites, as well as the clinical application process, by reading the course catalog description and exploring the links in this section.
In the News
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Self-Care at the BureauContinue Reading about Self-Care at the Bureau
At 5pm on a Thursday, singing emerges from the seminar room. Students and clinical instructors sit around the table. Staff from other centers linger as they exit the building. No, HLAB hasn’t started a choir. Lisa Fitzgerald ’16 is treating the Bureau to a private concert, as part of the new self-care initiative.
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Interviews with the Bureau Community: Student Attorney Courtney LynchContinue Reading about Interviews with the Bureau Community: Student Attorney Courtney Lynch
“I want to do what I can to encourage people in society to realize that marginalized people are people first.”
Faculty and Staff
Esme Caramello (Clinical Professor of Law and Clinic Director)
Stephanie Goldenhersh (Senior Clinical Instructor)
Lee D. Goldstein (Senior Clinical Instructor)
James Verner Moore (Senior Clinical Instructor)
Patricia Whiting (Senior Clinical Instructor)
Patricio Rossi (Clinical Instructor)
Eloise Lawrence (Clinical Instructor)
Andrew Cornell (Clinical Instructor)
Melissa Minaya (Program Administrator)
Susana Arteta (Administrative Director)