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Updated August 2020
With respect to the 2020-21 recruiting season, all policies and references to EIP below shall also apply to Harvard Law School’s January 2021 recruiting program, unless otherwise specified. Any references to “rising 2Ls” or “rising 3Ls” shall include “current 2Ls” or “current 3Ls” respectively, in the context of January 2021 recruiting.

Read our recent Message to Employers: January 2021 EIP update

The following Policies and Guidelines have been established to protect the interests of both students and employers. They will be administered by the Office of Career Services (OCS) and sanctions may be imposed for failure to comply. By recruiting at Harvard Law School (HLS), employers agree to abide by these rules.

I. Non-Discrimination

I. Non-Discrimination

Harvard Law School does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, disability, source of income, or status as a veteran in admission to, access to, treatment in, or employment in its programs and activities. The Law School has instituted these policies (pdf) and certain procedures to ensure a safe and non-discriminatory environment and to meet legal requirements, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. All employers using the facilities and services of the Office of Career Services must comply with these policies and procedures. Harvard Law School makes one exception to this policy. Under threat of loss of funding to the University resulting from the Solomon Amendment, the Law School has suspended the application of its non-discrimination policy to military recruiters. This exception to our policy does not in any way reflect acceptance of, or agreement with, discriminatory hiring practices.

II. Interviewing & Callback Policies

II. Interviewing & Callback Policies

A. Interview and Recruiting Programs

HLS conducts multiple interview and recruiting programs throughout the year, the largest of which is the Early Interview Program (EIP) for rising 2L and 3L students that takes place on-campus during the summer. Due to COVID-19, HLS has postponed EIP for the 2020-21 recruiting season; instead of summer 2020, EIP will take place during January 2021.

B. No Prescreening for HLS Interview Programs

Employers are not permitted to ask students for transcripts or information regarding law school grades before EIP or any HLS facilitated interview program. Similarly, when adding or filling open slots on their interview schedules, employers may not request transcripts or information regarding law school grades in advance of, or as condition to, granting a student an interview. Employers who wish to arrange separate interview schedules for LL.M.s, however, are permitted to prescreen LL.M. candidates.

Employers are not permitted to request students to submit a cover letter in advance, or as part of EIP or any HLS facilitated interview program.

C. Interviewing of 2L Candidates Prohibited Prior to Assigned EIP Date

In order to ensure a fair, open, and effective hiring process for students as well as employers, OCS collects and distributes resumes to employers for EIP. OCS also assigns interview dates for EIP and arranges screening interview schedules for employers and students during EIP. If current events require EIP (as determined at the sole discretion of OCS) to be conducted by phone, videoconference, or other remote access portal, OCS will likewise assign EIP dates and arrange schedules for employers and students to conduct interviews remotely.

Employers participating in EIP may not conduct any screening or callback interviews of rising 2Ls prior to the employer’s assigned EIP interview date(s).

Exception to this rule:

  • Employers may conduct screening and callback interviews for, request transcripts from rising 2Ls applying to, and extend offers for a given office (and only that office) prior to the employer’s EIP date if that office location is not participating in EIP. If, however, an employer is conducting multi-office or all office interviews at EIP, the above policy precluding any pre-EIP interviewing or requests for law school grades controls.

Notwithstanding the above policy, employers may meet with students in the case of: (a) student-initiated requests for informational interviews; or (b) OCS-organized mock interviews. However, in both cases, employers may not request from students any information about law school grades, including but not limited to requests for transcripts. In addition, because the primary goal of such informational or mock interviews is educational in nature, the informational or mock interviews shall not result in any evaluation of a student’s candidacy for hiring purposes.

In the case of exigent circumstances that may require individual exemptions from these Policies and Guidelines, please contact the Assistant Dean for Career Services directly.

D. Interviewing Time Guidelines

  1. No Interviewing During Class Times. Students are not permitted to interview during their scheduled class times. On-campus and remote interviews coordinated by OCS are assigned at times that do not conflict with classes. Similarly, employers scheduling interviews directly with students are asked to keep this policy in mind and schedule interviews at times that do not conflict with classes. This policy also applies to the January Experiential Term, which is a mandatory academic program for 1Ls that takes place in January (see the Recruiting 1Ls section below for more information).
  2. No Callback Interviews During EIP. Employers may not schedule any callback interviews to take place during EIP.

III. Timing of Offers and Decisions

III. Timing of Offers and Decisions

Employers recruiting at HLS agree to the following guidelines regarding timing of offers and decisions, including but not limited to all offers made pursuant to EIP interviewing exceptions, as described in Section II.C.

Note to employers: Our “Student Recruiting and Interviewing Policies” provide that students are permitted to hold open no more than three offers of employment at any one time and should promptly decline offers for employers in which they are no longer interested.

A. 1L Summer Employment

All offers to 1Ls should remain open for at least 14 days after the date of the offer letter. Any offer that requires the student to return to the same employer for more than four (4) weeks of their 2L summer, or otherwise requires the student to materially limit their 2L summer at another employer as a precondition for a 1L summer offer is prohibited. Any offer that requires such conditions as a prerequisite for a post-graduate offer is strongly discouraged. Any such preconditions to a post-graduate offer must be disclosed to the 1L at the time of the 1L offer.

B. 2L Summer Employment

Except as provided in Sections III.B.1 and III.B.2 below, offers made to 2Ls for summer employment should remain open for 21 days after the date of the offer letter, or 21 days after the last day of HLS’s EIP, whichever is later.

  1. Small Program Exception
    If the anticipated size of an employer’s summer program for the office extending the offer is fewer than 10 students, the offer period will be 14 days instead of 21 for that office. Employers should inform OCS in their EIP registration if any of their offices’ summer programs fall under this exception.
  2. Extensions
    Before an offer expires, a student may request that an offer remain open for an additional seven (7) days with a request in writing to the employer’s recruiting director or other designated person; employers shall not unreasonably withhold granting such requests for an extension.
  3. Reaffirmations
    Employers may request that students reaffirm interest in their open summer employment offers within 14 days from the date of the offer letter. Employers that request students to reaffirm their open offers may retract any offer that is not accepted, reaffirmed, or extended within the 14-day period.

C. Post-Graduate Employment

  1. Full-time post-graduate offers to a student previously hired by that employer.
    Employers making a full-time offer on or before September 2 to a student previously hired shall hold that offer open until at least October 1 of the student’s final year of law school. Offers made after September 2 to students previously hired shall remain open for at least 28 days after the date of the offer letter.
  2. Full-time post-graduate offers to a student not previously hired by that employer.
    Employers offering full-time positions to commence following graduation to a student not previously hired by them should leave those offers open for at least 28 days after the date of the offer letter. If such offers are made after January 15, those offers should remain open for at least 14 days after the date of the offer letter.
  3. Reaffirmations
    Employers may request that students reaffirm interest in their open full-time post-graduate offers within 14 days from the date of the offer letter. Employers that request students to reaffirm their open offers may retract any offer that is not accepted, reaffirmed, or extended within the 14-day period.

IV. Reimbursement of Expenses

IV. Reimbursement of Expenses

Prior to their interviews, employers shall inform students of the firm’s reimbursement policy as it pertains to interview travel expenses. Employers agree to reimburse students promptly for reasonable travel expenses submitted in accordance with their policies.

V. Public Sector and Non-EIP Employer Extensions

V. Public Sector and Non-EIP Employer Extensions

A student may keep one summer employment offer or one full-time post-graduate employment offer open until April 1 if the student (i) is pursuing public interest or other non-EIP opportunities; (ii) notifies the employer in writing before the offer expires; and (iii) affirms in writing that the employer’s offer is the only offer that s/he is holding open.

VI. Recruiting 1Ls

VI. Recruiting 1Ls

A. Guidelines Regarding First Contact with 1Ls

HLS will make the facilities of OCS available to 1Ls beginning October 15. Employers may initiate recruiting contact with 1Ls beginning November 15. Employers may accept formal 1L applications and extend interviews or offers to 1Ls beginning December 1.

B. Class Conflicts and the January Experiential Term

As mentioned above in Section II. D, employers are not permitted to schedule interviews with students at times that conflict with their classes. This policy includes the January Experiential Term for 1Ls, which takes place over three weeks in January (the Winter Term). The January Experiential Term does not have a graded curriculum and is based on participation and class work only. For that reason, missing a class is the equivalent of missing an exam in a fully graded course.

1L Interviews should take place after the conclusion of the January Experiential Term (see the Academic Calendar for Winter Term dates). Employers also may schedule late afternoon or evening interviews if they do not conflict with January Experiential Term requirements.

VII. Employer Events

VII. Employer Events

As an integral part of the recruiting and employment process, individual firm information sessions or networking receptions must comply with HLS’s non-discrimination policies stated above and be open to all students (or students in a class year). Employers that fail to comply with these policies will not be able to utilize the facilities and services of OCS. Prior to organizing an event for students, employers must contact OCS to ensure that the proposed date of the event does not conflict with another program. Please see our Hosting an Event or Reception page.

VIII. Student Complaints

VIII. Student Complaints

While most interviewers strive to maintain a professional and sensitive attitude, each year we receive a handful of complaints from students about offensive or discriminatory behavior by interviewers. For information about the process in the case of a student complaint, please see the section on Procedures for Student Complaints.

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