On this webpage, you will find our advice and guidance for approaching the two written statements in the application.
Beginning with the application for Fall Term 2024 enrollment, we now require that all applicants submit a Statement of Purpose and a Statement of Perspective. Although it is no longer an application component, much of the advice we shared about the personal statement may still be useful to applicants as they develop their Written Statements. We have preserved that information on this toolkit for your reference.
Every applicant must submit both a Statement of Purpose and a Statement of Perspective, responding to the prompts below. Each Statement must be one to two pages in length, using double-spacing, one-inch margins, and a font size that is comfortable to read (no smaller than 11 point). We expect every applicant to use at least one full page for each Statement.
Statement of Purpose: What motivates you to pursue law? How does attending law school align with your ambitions, goals, and vision for your future?
Statement of Perspective: The Admissions Committee makes every effort to understand who you are as an individual and potential Harvard Law School student and graduate. Please share how your experiences, background, and/or interests have shaped you and will shape your engagement in the HLS community and the legal profession.
Changes to the J.D. Program Application Components
August is here, and that means the J.D. Admissions Office is finalizing our application for the 2023–2024 cycle before it opens on September 15. One exciting change for this year: we have reworked our essay requirements and prompts.
August 4, 2023
Should you include a “why Harvard” statement in your application?
Each year at this time, we receive questions about how applicants should express interest in Harvard Law School. Include a “Why Harvard” essay? Talk about HLS in the personal statement? Maybe an addendum on this topic? The answer to all these questions is the same: no, that’s not necessary. Let’s start with the separate “why
December 2, 2022
Overrated/Underrated Part 3
Continuing our Overrated/Underrated series, this week, we shift our focus to highlight some of the overrated approaches that we recommend applicants avoid as they craft their applications.
November 17, 2021
Overrated/Underrated Part 1
The J.D. Admissions team recently came together to offer their thoughts on some underrated and overrated approaches that applicants might take towards their HLS application. We hope you’ll find some of these nuggets useful.
September 9, 2021
Real Talk: The Personal Statement
For our first entry in the Real Talk series, Associate Director Nefyn Meissner shares advice on approaching the personal statement.
August 6, 2020
Personal Statement Advice
The personal statement is “an opportunity to give the Admissions Committee a better sense of who you are as a person and as a potential student and graduate of Harvard Law School.” But what does that mean to us?
November 6, 2018
Navigating Law School Admissions with Miriam & Kristi
Miriam Ingber (Associate Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Yale Law School) and Kristi Jobson (Assistant Dean for Admissions at Harvard Law School) provide candid, accurate, and straightforward advice about law school admissions — direct from the source. They will be joined by guest stars from other law schools to discuss application timing, letters of recommendation, personal statements, and more.
Written Statements Workshop
Our Statement Workshop provides applicants with straightforward advice on how to craft essays with a reflective activity and guiding questions to consider.
I made an error in one of my statements. Can I provide an updated document after my application has been submitted?
We do understand mistakes happen. You are more than welcome to upload an updated document through your status checker. We will review the new material alongside what has been previously received.
Note that when you complete your application and hit “submit”, the information contained in your application may not be altered or deleted in any way by you as an applicant or by us as an admissions team.
I am a reapplicant. Should I submit new written statements?
Yes. Reapplicants will need to submit new written statements with their application.
Is there any specific guidance for rising 2L transfer applicants?
We ask that transfer candidates also address the reason(s) for applying for transfer enrollment. Please visit our Transfer Applications Components for more information.