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Law School Registration

All students must complete certain mandatory administrative clearance procedures in person before they can register as Harvard Law School degree candidates. The Graduate Program will provide further information about this process to LL.M. and first-year S.J.D. students prior to their arrival. Students are also required to update their address and emergency contact information online in HELIOS by no later than Monday, August 21, 2017.

Once these procedures have been satisfactorily completed, new students will be able to pick up their Harvard University identification cards from the Graduate Program office.

Upper-year S.J.D. candidates must complete the registration procedures described in Section III.

Late registration will not be permitted, except in extreme cases and only with permission of the Graduate Program Office. A penalty fee of $100 will be levied for late registration.


International students must report to the Harvard International Office (HIO) immediately after arriving at Harvard, and will not be permitted to register until they have received clearance from the HIO. International students will need to take their passport and visa information to the HIO, which is located in the Smith Campus Center, 8th floor, Room 864, 1350 Massachusetts Avenue. For more
information about HIO registration, visitvisit:

Note that in 2017, HIO will also offer onsite registration at the Law School during Orientation on August 14 and 15. Additional information about this option is available on the Admitted Students website and with the materials in student arrival packets.


No student who has an outstanding balance on the student’s bill will be allowed to register. A penalty fee of $250 will be levied for late financial clearance.


New graduate students must submit the required medical forms and immunization records and receive approval from the Health Services Office before they can complete their enrollment at the Law School.

Books and Assignments

Casebooks may be purchased in the Textbook Annex of the Harvard Cooperative Society (The Coop) in Harvard Square and at the Law School Coop located in Wasserstein Hall. The Coop offers memberships for a one-dollar fee; you may also apply for a Coop charge card. Please see the Coop web site at:

Some used casebooks are available at The Coop, the Harvard Bookstore (1256 Massachusetts Avenue) and other bookstores in Harvard Square, but be sure to get the correct editions. These used textbooks may often be purchased at substantial savings.

Do not buy course books until you are certain of your schedule. Photocopied materials, which are used in some courses and seminars, are available at the Law School Copy Center, but only to students who are officially enrolled in such course(s). In some cases, photocopied materials will be distributed by the instructor(s) at the first class meeting. The Copy Center is situated in the basement of Wasserstein Hall. Book lists and reading assignments for the first classes of the year will be available online in late August, prior to the start of classes. Please consult these assignment listings after your course schedule has been approved.

Important: Please note that you are expected to have read the assigned materials and to come to the first class prepared to discuss those readings.

Social Security Number

International student intending to work in the United States may need a Social Security Number (“SSN”). To apply for an SSN, students may need to present evidence of work authorization as well as certain other documents, depending on the student’s visa type (F-1 or J-1). For more information, please visit:


The Graduate Program, as well as other administrative offices throughout the Law School and the University, will use students’ Harvard Law School (HLS) e-mail address as the primary means of communication. It is important that students check their HLS e-mail regularly for important
updates, announcements and alerts.

Please note that the Information Technology Services (ITS) department maintains a quota of 25GB for the size of stored e-mail messages. Once an individual e-mail box size exceeds the quota, new messages will not be issued from nor received by that account until the account size of the messages stored has been reduced to the allowable capacity. Please regularly monitor and manage your e-mail quota; in the past, students who have gone over quota have missed important messages and announcements.

E-Mail Listservs

The Graduate Program establishes two sets of group e-mail lists—the Administrative and Student Listservs—for use by administration and students. Official announcements and information from the Graduate Program and International Legal Studies, relevant to the class as a whole, will be issued to students via the Administrative Listservs. At the beginning of the academic year, students will also be given instructions for the Student Listservs, including how to send messages to the class as a whole. In the past, the Student Listservs have also been useful tools in facilitating discussions on important topics such as elections of class representatives, intellectual debates resulting from class discussions, and more. All current LL.M.s, Graduate Program Fellows, and staff are included on the LL.M. e-mail listservs. Access to the S.J.D. e-mail listservs is restricted to current S.J.D. students and staff. LL.M. and S.J.D. students can only send messages to their respective Student Listservs; only Graduate Program and International Legal Studies staff can send messages to the Administrative Listservs.


Canvas is Harvard Law School’s web-based learning management system. Each student has a personalized Canvas dashboard that displays information directly pertaining to that student and the courses in which the student is enrolled. Canvas also displays regular announcements and useful information of a general nature. Students can log in to Canvas by going to and entering their HarvardKey and password.

Administrative Updates

The HLS Administrative Updates page is a dynamic, web-based listing for administrative announcements at the Law School, and includes course announcements, Graduate Program events, student organization announcements, administrative news, lost and found, job opportunities, speaker series and other general information (updated daily throughout the academic year). Students should consult this source regularly.


Once students have been enrolled, the Harvard Law School Office of Communications will send them a daily community e-mail listing upcoming events. The Calendar@Law e-mail also includes administrative notices about employment opportunities and other matters of interest. This e-mail provides a quick and easy way to stay abreast of law school events and activities. For a full calendar of HLS events, visit /calendar/.


During the academic year, the Harvard Law School Office of Communications issues a daily e-mail newsletter containing news related to the Law School. Students are encouraged to take advantage of this invaluable service, by subscribing at:


Personal mail must be directed to your dormitory or off-campus residence address. Personal mail directed to the Graduate Program Office will be returned to sender.

For procedures on reporting change of address or phone number during the year, please see “Reporting Change of Address” below.

Calendar of Events

During Orientation and throughout the year, educational and social activities are scheduled for all Graduate Program participants. Please try to participate in these events, particularly during Orientation.

Three main Graduate Program events include:

  • Official LL.M. Program Photograph–August 25, 2017
  • LL.M. Student Welcome Dinner with the Dean—August 30, 2017
  • Farewell Reception–May 22, 2018

Details for these and other events will be announced throughout the academic year.

Casual Meals and Teas

Periodically throughout the academic year, the Graduate Program will hold Casual Meals and Afternoon Teas for Graduate Program students. These events usually have no formal agenda but may be organized around themes from time to time. In particular, these events offer students the chance to drop in at their convenience to chat with classmates and administrators and enjoy a meal or refreshments. The dates and locations for these events will be announced on the Listservs.


Notices and announcements of special interest may be posted on the Graduate Program bulletin board inside the Graduate Program Office in Wasserstein 5005, and on bulletin boards placed throughout the Law School buildings. There are also plasma screens in multiple locations throughout the Law School displaying daily event information. Please consult these sources daily for information on functions throughout the Law School.

Specialized Programs

Graduate students are encouraged to participate in the activities and events of the Law School’s various research and regional studies programs. Specialized programs offer opportunities to study and work on individual or group projects in conjunction with Harvard researchers and scholars. These programs also bring together individuals with the same or common interests, providing an invaluable resource and enriching students’ experience at the Law School. For a listing of research programs and centers, please refer to: 

Student Organizations and Journals

There are many voluntary student organizations at the Law School, all of which will be soliciting members during the early weeks of the academic year. A Student Organizations and Journals Fair will be held in September. In the past, the International Law Society has been of special interest to Graduate Program participants.

Many graduate students are also involved with the publication of the International Law Journal. One of many student-run journals at the Law School, the International Law Journal features scholarly articles on topics in international law as well as student-written notes and book reviews.

For more information on student organizations and journals, please visit: 

Student Host Program

The Graduate Program sponsors an informal arrangement known as the Student Host Program. LL.M. students who have expressed an interest are matched up with a J.D. Student Host. The Student Hosts will welcome LL.M. students to the Harvard community, and will be available as informational and social contacts throughout the course of the academic year. In accordance with the nature of this type of host program, the J.D. participants will not be expected to provide housing or meals, nor to make expenditures on behalf of hosted students.

Incoming LL.M. students will have received questionnaires for the Student Host Program in the first packet of pre-arrival information that was sent out in the spring. Further information about the Student Host Program will be provided at the start of the academic year, and a welcome social is scheduled for September.

Student Representatives and Class Marshals

Each year the LL.M. class elects two representatives, and the S.J.D. class elects one representative, to the Law School’s student government assembly, the HLS Student Government. The LL.M. class also elects two class marshals. Elections will be held early in the fall and will be announced at the start of the academic year.

Students running for class representative must be willing to dedicate a significant amount of time to their responsibilities as class representatives. Representatives will work with members of the LL.M. class to bring new ideas and items of concern to the administration, and maintain an open dialogue with the Vice Dean and the administration of the Graduate Program. They may also coordinate various academic and social events.

The two LL.M. Class Marshals work alongside the four J.D. Class Marshals (who are elected by the 3L class). As a group, the Class Marshals bring the Class of 2018 — J.D.s and LL.M.s alike — together as a whole as they lead the class in commencement-related plans and activities. Class Marshals serve as the main stage hosts on Class Day (the celebratory day before Commencement), orchestrating and making all introductions of the various speakers on stage with them. The final honorable duty comes on Commencement morning, when all six Class Marshals and the Dean of the Law School lead the entire graduating class to Tercentenary Theatre in Harvard Yard.

Study Areas

The Harvard Law School Library has a limited number of carrel shelves available for assignment to individuals engaged in research projects requiring the accumulation of research material from various parts of the Law Library. The carrel provides a shelf on which to keep these materials for the duration of the research project. Carrel shelves will be assigned based on availability at the time of application. Students are encouraged to apply for a carrel no more than two weeks before they plan to begin using a large amount of library material in order to avoid leaving assigned carrel shelves empty for long periods of time.

Application dates will be announced at the start of the academic year, or students may check with the Langdell Library circulation desk. Applications can be downloaded from the Law Library web page; paper versions are also available at the Langdell circulation desk. An LL.M. student must obtain the signature of the student’s paper supervisor in order to be eligible for a carrel shelf. Additional questions about carrel shelves can be directed to the Library circulation desk at 617-495-3455, to the Access Assistant at 617-496-5510, or via e-mail at


Each year a number of thefts of student property and Law School property are reported. Thefts tend to occur in unlocked offices and unlocked dormitory rooms. Be sure to lock your room or office even if you are leaving it for only a short time! Thefts also occur in carrel study spaces and the coatrooms in the Caspersen Student Center. Students should not leave valuables, including laptops, books, and papers, in your carrel shelf or in the Caspersen Student Center while you are dining. Wallets left in the inside pockets of coats hanging on the backs of chairs or on coat racks are often reported stolen. If you have a bicycle, use a Kryptonite lock.

Students are strongly encouraged to register their bicycles and laptops with the Harvard University Police. Registration is free, and can be done online or at registration sessions held during Orientation and at other times during the year. Registration serves as a deterrent to theft and can help in the recovery of stolen property. For more information, visit the HUPD website at: or


Graduate students who are not living in the Law School dormitories may obtain a locker in the basement corridors for their books, coats, etc. The number of lockers, however, is limited; lockers are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Initial locker assignments will be issued by e-mail in late August for those who submitted online applications. Students wishing to apply for a locker after the fall term begins should send an e-mail to

The Graduate Program Lounge

The Graduate Program Lounge, Wasserstein 5053, is open to all Graduate Program students during normal building hours. Scheduled use of the room for group functions, such as the Byse Workshops, may be available by appointment through the Graduate Program Office in Wasserstein 5005, provided that arrangements are made at least one week in advance. The Lounge may not be used for private meetings unless permission is granted by the Graduate Program Office.


The Caspersen Student Center will begin its regular operating schedule of three meals a day with the start of classes in early September.

Entertainment and Dining

The Cambridge area offers a wide range of places to go, things to do, and places to eat. Each week, free supplements of the Improper Bostonian are available in the Caspersen Student Center; the Boston Globe, a daily newspaper, also publishes a calendar of events ( For shared automobile rides to various points, used furniture, announcements regarding social activities, etc., check the bulletin boards on the main floor of the Caspersen Student Center or throughout the tunnels of the Law School.

Teacher Placement

Harvard Law School offers information and guidance on teacher placement opportunities for law teaching positions in the United States. Students with questions about law teaching should consult with Jeanne Tai, Assistant Dean for the Graduate Program and International Legal Studies. Additional programming through the Law Teaching Colloquium — a series of information sessions and panel discussions about various aspects of law teaching — will be offered throughout the academic year.

Students hoping to pursue a teaching career at a law school in the U.S. should be aware that hiring institutions will very likely expect them to be able to teach an introductory or other basic U.S. law course, and will want to make sure that their academic transcripts reflect appropriate course work to enable them to do so.

Practical Training for International Students

Each year many international LL.M. students are interested in gaining practical experience through temporary employment in the United States after graduation. The Graduate Program has emphasized that employment in the United States is extremely difficult to obtain and advised students against coming to Harvard if this was the student’s primary goal. Securing employment, unfortunately, is exceedingly challenging, if not impossible, due to the fact that most U.S. law firms and law offices have very few positions available for international lawyers. Time devoted to the search for employment will limit your ability to get the most out of your LL.M. experience and may not yield a job offer. Most U.S. law firms will employ international lawyers only if the needs of the firm call for the assistance of a lawyer from a particular country, and/or the firm is interested in developing, maintaining, or improving its contacts within a given country. In addition, a firm’s ability to offer employment at all is directly affected by the economic environment.

If, despite this prognosis you decide to pursue employment in the United States, you should prepare for a highly time-intensive and entrepreneurial undertaking. If you are interested in employment in the private sector, we strongly advise you to consult with the Law School’s Office of Career Services concerning the resources that office can make available to you during your search. The Law School’s Office for Public Interest Advising provides similar resources for those interested in finding employment or internships in the public sector. Representatives of both offices will be available for consultation during LL.M. Orientation in August.

In the past, the Office of Career Services has supported a range of job search activities by LL.M. students. These activities have included arranging for some on-campus interviewing by potential employers during the course of the year, and co-sponsoring a New York-based job fair for international students in January. Students interested in participating in these and other activities should contact the Office of Career Services for further information in September. Information about additional opportunities will be posted at the Graduate Program Office and the Office of Career Services, and sent out via the student Listservs, as available.

You should be aware that a number of prospective employers who visit the campus may restrict their interviewing to J.D. candidates. The LL.M. job search process typically continues well into the spring. Although the Office of Career Services and the Office for Public Interest Advising stand ready to assist you in your job search, you should be prepared for a difficult and time-consuming process, which will require much initiative on your part. In addition, it will be up to you to make your own travel arrangements and cover any related expenses. At the end of the process, it is possible that you will not have secured a job.

New York Bar Examination

Each year, a number of LL.M. students express interest in taking the New York State Bar Examination after they have received their degrees. Because the bar exam is administered by the New York Board of Law Examiners (“NY BOLE”), international students who are considering sitting for the bar exam should consult the NY BOLE website for more information on the specific eligibility requirements for lawyers who have received their initial legal education outside of the United States.

Eligibility and coursework requirements have recently changed. As the Graduate Program has advised, in the information provided to LL.M. students during the summer, students should be aware of two key provisions that they may need to address before they arrive in Cambridge for orientation and the start of classes:

  • All foreign-educated lawyers must submit the mandatory On-Line Request for Evaluation of Foreign Academic Credentials (at to request a decision on their eligibility to sit for the New York bar exam. The NY BOLE is now recommending that students submit this request at least one year before they plan to sit for the exam.
  • The eligibility requirements also address the number of credits that must be earned and the specific subject matter of courses that must be completed. As you select courses, you may need to keep these requirements in mind. The Graduate Program will relay information about the substantive eligibility requirements during Orientation, and will communicate with students throughout the year as questions arise. As well, the Office of Career Services expects to hold an information session in the fall regarding application procedures.

Please note that all applications to sit for the bar exam are considered on a case-by-case basis. The Graduate Program will help provide information and guide students throughout the year, but only the New York State Board of Law Examiners is able to verify whether certain courses or types of experience qualify students to sit for the exam.

Effective January 2013, the New York State Court of Appeals implemented a new rule affecting bar admission in New York. All candidates seeking admission to practice in New York after January 1, 2015 will be required to file documentation showing that they have completed 50 hours of qualifying pro bono work during or after their LL.M. degree program, as codified in Rule 520.16 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals. After candidates who have passed the exam are notified of the results, the candidates must then submit an actual application for admission to the bar. Thereafter, a swearing-in date is scheduled. This part of the process can take several months. This means that candidates who take the New York Bar Exam in July 2014 or later will be subject to the Pro Bono Rule in order to be admitted to practice in that state. Likewise, any candidate who took and passed the New York Bar Exam prior to July 2014 but who did not seek admission to practice at that time will be subject to the Pro Bono Rule as well. The New York State Court of Appeals has published information and Frequently Asked Questions regarding the regarding the implementation and requirements of the new rule at:

Information about eligibility and applying to sit for the bar exam in any other state should be obtained by contacting the Board of Law Examiners in that state directly.

Reporting Change of Address

Please report any change of residential address to the Graduate Program Office and to the Harvard Law School Registrar’s Office. In addition, all non-U.S. citizens (including U.S. permanent residents) are required to report their current address to the government. Any change of residential address must be reported within 10 days.

For non-U.S. citizens, there are now three different reporting procedures, depending on visa type and country of origin or citizenship. The process is not complicated, and the majority of Harvard-sponsored foreign students will be able to use the Harvard International Office’s online address reporting feature at:

Temporary Travel Abroad

The Harvard International Office (HIO) recommends that you do not make international travel plans without first checking with the HIO. It is recommended that you only travel outside the United States if you have all documents related to your U.S. immigration status in order, which at the very least may mean obtaining a signature from an advisor in the HIO. For the most up-to-date information on rules concerning travel abroad, please speak with an advisor in the HIO or visit the HIO website at:

Students traveling abroad in the course of their HLS studies should also review and comply with the HLS international travel requirements as detailed at: /dept/ils/international-travel/.

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