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Eligibility

Applicants for transfer admission must have completed one year of full-time study in a J.D. program (or one-third of the total credits required in a part-time program) at a United States law school that is accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). Students may apply for transfer to begin the second year of J.D. studies in the fall semester only. Additionally, students are required to spend at least two years in residence at HLS. For a full list of application requirements, please visit our Transfer Application Checklist.

Selection Process for Transfer Admission

Successful transfer candidates have excelled academically in their 1L year and often place near the top of their first-year law class. All applications are reviewed according to the Harvard Law Standards for Admission. Given the small number of transfer spaces available and a comparatively large and accomplished transfer applicant pool, some applicants who meet these characterizations cannot be offered admission. We cannot make estimates of an individual’s chances for admission.

Transfer Law Courses

Law courses taken before matriculation at Harvard Law School will be considered part of the transfer student’s first year of J.D. studies and may not be used to meet any Harvard Law School upper-level requirements. Additionally, courses taken during your 1L year will not be included in HLS Latin honors calculations.

Transfer students must satisfy the Law School’s first-year requirements by demonstrating completion of comparable courses at their prior institution or completion of qualifying courses after matriculation at HLS. The Harvard Law School Office of the Registrar can advise students on comparable courses.

Law courses taken at HLS by the transfer student–including first-year Law School courses and qualifying courses taken after matriculation to bring the transfer student into compliance with the School’s first-year requirements–may be used toward the upper-level credit requirements. Additionally, such law courses will count in overall performance in the 2L or 3L year according to the rules set forth in the Harvard Law School Handbook of Academic Policies.

Harvard Law Review

The Harvard Law Review encourages transfer applicants to apply for membership on the Review. If you wish to be considered for membership, you must participate in the Writing Competition. Those admitted transfer students who are selected to join the Harvard Law Review must return to Cambridge in early August to begin work. Further instructions on taking the Writing Competition may be found in Membership Details. Please note that the Writing Competition is typically in mid-May. Be sure to reach out to the Harvard Law Review staff well before then for information on this process at hlrwritingcompetition@gmail.com.

Harvard Legal Aid Bureau

All transfer applicants are encouraged to apply to the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. To be considered for membership, each transfer applicant is required to submit a modified application and participate in a round of interviews. For additional instructions, please visit the HLAB Membership and Application Process page or email hlabmembership2020@gmail.com.