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Please Note: CPT is required to participate in any externship clinic at Harvard Law School.  2L and 3L students are not eligible to get academic year (term-time) CPT to participate in externship clinics during 2021-2022 if they did not have active F-1 status for all of Academic Year 2020-2021.

Please contact Sheryl Dickey at sdickey@law.harvard.edu with any questions.

If a clinic has a remote clinical or course component for 21-22, please confer with HIO (contact info below) to discuss eligibility.

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The Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs is an academic office and does not provide legal services or advice.  Please contact Peter O’Meara in HIO to discuss your individual visa status (peter_omeara@harvard.edu).

All J.D. and LL.M. students in F-1 student status are eligible to participate in the following:

  • HLS In-House clinics
  • HLS Student Practice Organizations
  • HLS spring break pro bono projects

None of the above offerings require Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization.

  • J.D. students in active F-1 student status are able to participate in Externship Clinics if they are eligible to obtain the required Curricular Practical Training (CPT).
  • J.D. students in active F-1 student status cannot participate in Advanced Clinicals with Externship Placements or Domestic Independent Clinicals because these opportunities are not eligible for CPT authorization.

Additional note on Externship Clinics: you must be a U.S. citizen to participate in the U.S. Attorney clinic and some placements with the Sports Law Clinic and the Semester in Washington Clinic require U. S. citizenship.

THE PROCESS for securing curricular practical training (CPT) for HLS externship clinics:

  1. A student registers for an Externship Clinic through the clinical registration process.
  2. The Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs (OCP) will work with the clinic staff to obtain an offer letter from the externship placement supervisor.
  3. OCP will send an email including a Student Acknowledgement form to the student to sign.
  4. After the Student Acknowledgement is signed by the student, OCP will deliver the student’s CPT applications to the Harvard International Office (HIO), 864 Smith Campus Center, 1350 Massachusetts Avenue.
  5. *Student Action Required* Once HIO has approved the application, the student must go to the HIO office in person to pick up their updated I-20 form.

Important: You cannot start your externship placement until you have picked up your new I-20 form.

The Student Acknowledgement contains the following rules and procedures:

  • The student is eligible for CPT because the student is a 2L or 3L with F-1 status and has been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis in a degree program for at least one full academic year.
  • The student understands that the student is bound by the following legal requirements if the student is authorized for CPT during the academic term:
    • If the student is authorized for part-time CPT, the student cannot work more than 20 hours per week at the student’s CPT placement.
    • The student must maintain full-time enrollment at the law school.
    • The student must remain registered for the CPT course for the entire semester for which CPT authorization was granted.
  • The student cannot begin any clinical work at the student’s placement until:
    • The start date of the CPT authorization;
    • The Harvard International Office (HIO) has granted CPT authorization; and
    • The student physically has in hand the student’s new Form I-20 with the CPT authorization on the Form I-20.
  • The student must complete all clinical externship work by the end date of the CPT authorization. It is not permissible to receive an extension on externship clinical work.
  • The student cannot be placed at any other placement during this period (because CPT is authorized for a specific clinical externship placement) without applying for and receiving an amended CPT authorization from HIO.
  • If the student withdraws or decides not to pursue the clinical opportunity for which they have been authorized, the student must contact HIO to terminate their CPT and request and update to their visa documents.

If you have any questions about these requirements, please feel free to contact:

Sheryl Dickey
Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs
6 Everett Street, Suite 3085
Cambridge, MA 02138
617-495-2216