How to Get Involved
We welcome your interest in having Harvard Law students work on a clinical or pro bono basis at your law firm or organization. We are always looking for new opportunities for our students to gain practical legal experience. If you are getting in touch with us for the first time, please submit to us the New Organization Form and learn how to Post a Position through our Helios website. We’ll work with you to find the most suitable arrangement that meets your needs and complies with law school and ABA guidelines for students.
The role of the supervising attorney is invaluable in the educational experience of our students, and for that reason, we have certain requirements:
- Students must be supervised by a licensed attorney. The attorney should hold an initial meeting to explain expectations, set goals for the student’s work, meet regularly with the student, give regular feedback, and submit written evaluations to us.
- The student’s work must be law-related and involve the application or interpretation of law, formulation of legal policy, or drafting of legislation or regulations. Students should not do clerical or fundraising work. Eligible tasks include: assisting an attorney at a trial, client and witness interviewing and investigation, drafting documents, assisting pro se litigants in court, community legal education, research and writing, or policy analysis.
- Students cannot receive monetary compensation for their work (except in conjunction with the HLS Summer Public Interest Funding program.)
Be aware that students are in exams in December and mid-April. Please keep the Clinical Calendar and the Harvard Law School Academic Calendar in mind when working with them. Although we strive to provide a good match for students and organizations, we cannot guarantee that students will be available for or interested in all approved and advertised projects.
- The clinical program allows students to work to earn academic credit for legal work conducted during the law school’s Fall, Winter, or Spring semesters.
- Projects and placements must be coordinated and approved by the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs prior to students beginning any work.
- All work must be supervised by a licensed attorney.
- Clinical placements may be a good choice if your organization or firm can host the student at the office itself on a longer-term project or set of projects. This provides the best opportunity for you to supervise the student, assign tasks, provide legal training and instruction, and give ongoing feedback.
- We ask supervisors to complete written evaluations of students twice in the Fall and Spring semesters (once for the three-week Winter term), and will work with you in conjunction with the professor teaching the related course to provide students with the best practical teaching experience.
- For clinical credit, students commit to working on an unpaid basis for 10, 15, or 20 hours per week during a full semester, and often take a course related to the work conducted.
- We will work with you in conjunction with the professor teaching the related course to provide students with the best practical teaching experience.
The Harvard Law School requires J.D. students to perform at least 40 hours of unpaid legal work for a nonprofit, government agency, or law firm. J.D. students entering in or after fall 2015 are required to complete 50 hours of pro bono service. If your organization or law firm has a pro bono project for which you could use student help, please contact us.
- Pro bono projects are best for timely cases that need immediate and short-term assistance, one-time events, or research and writing projects that can be done off-site.
- This work is not necessarily done as part of an academic course.
- Students may work for a concentrated time or spread their hours over many semesters.
- Most students are apt to take on pro bono projects during the school year, September through November and February through April.
- Students also seek discrete 40 or 50 hour or one-week projects at the end of the summer, during holiday vacation, the winter semester, and spring break.
- If you contact our office and we approve your pro bono project, we will advertise the opportunity to students who will contact you directly to discuss the assignment, hours required, and work schedule.
- Once a student is selected by you for the project, the pro bono project must be registered with the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs prior to the student beginning any work.
- All work done by the student must be supervised by a licensed attorney on staff, a volunteer attorney at the host organization, or an HLS faculty member in conjunction with an on-site supervisor.