Your browser does not support JavaScript

Classroom Protocols & Information

Classroom Protocols & Information

How can I learn more about using my Zoom account?

    • View system requirements to make sure that you have the appropriate hardware and software.
    • If you are having trouble with connectivity read these tips to optimize your internet connection.
    • If possible, use a headset with microphone.
    • When you are not speaking, be sure to mute your microphone.
    • To join via tablet or smart phone, download the Zoom app. You will need the meeting ID to join the class session when using these devises through the app.

Do I have to have my video on during classes?

Students are expected to participate in all classes with video turned on. If you are facing exceptional circumstances on a particular occasion that require turning video off, you should, if possible, notify your teacher in advance and receive approval. In the event a WiFi connection is unstable and participation in class requires turning off the video, you should alert the faculty member and the faculty member’s assistant via email following the class session, in addition to utilizing any other notification system the faculty member might have in place, such as Zoom chat. When a video is turned off, your preferred full name should be displayed.

Can I use virtual backgrounds?

Your faculty may ask you to select a background from a pre-selected set of HLS-approved “green screen” backgrounds or, to the extent possible, arrange your computer equipment so that your background is as neutral as possible, preferably a blank wall. Please be mindful of what appears on camera behind you to limit distraction. Please be sure to check your course syllabi for any course-specific guidelines.

Can I record a class, take screen shots or share course access and materials?

Students may not share classroom Zoom links with anyone outside the course. In addition, students may not record, stream, reproduce, publish, or further distribute outside the course any course content, including assessments, problems, answers, video clips, screenshots, and slides presented during class through Zoom or any other functionality.

Students may not stream or video- or audio-record classes or any portion thereof, or take screenshots of course content or their classmates or teachers, regardless of whether the formal class session has been called to order or concluded.

Are there any new technology policies that apply to remote learning?

The Law School’s longstanding policy has been that faculty may individually determine whether electronic devices can be used in the physical classroom. While participation in class in an online environment will require the use of a computer, tablet, or phone, certain school-wide rules still apply to the use of this equipment (such as those concerning recording and image-capture). Individual faculty may set rules restricting the use of electronic equipment to avoid interfering with classroom pedagogy (such as a rule requiring students to turn off cell phones during class unless you are using your phone to access class, or a rule requiring students not to communicate with one another in real-time during class other than through the Canvas site, Zoom room, or any other faculty-approved channels).

Faculty may also choose to disable or limit certain features that can function in a manner that is distracting or discourages robust debate. When applicable, faculty will provide additional information on functionality that will not be available and/or should not be used during class.

Where do I get text books?

Many vendors offer digital and print copies of casebooks, including the Harvard COOP, Amazon and direct from casebook publishers. Sometimes buying direct from a publisher is a more affordable option. An internet search for your book title will help you find new and used books available for sale from a variety of places. Some of the law book publisher websites are: Aspen PublishersWest Academic and LexisNexis. The school will be providing for the spring 2021 semester a stipend for textbook shipping expenses for international students. Additional information will be forthcoming.

How do I get course materials and course packs?

Course materials in course packs will be made available to you through course Canvas sites. While print copy packs will not be produced or distributed, all J.D.’s, LL.M.’s, and S.J.D.’s enrolled in or auditing a course will be provided with a $150 grant to offset the cost of printing course packets. The $150 grants will be applied to my.Harvard Student Accounts in early December.

What do I need to know to participate effectively in class via Zoom?

The Learning Experience & Technology (LXT) team has prepared some helpful guidance, From Lecture Halls to Laptops: Guidance for Student Participation in Zoom Classrooms, to support you as you (1) configure your Zoom account for class participation, (2) engage in class discussions, and (3) get comfortable in a Zoom class environment. Please use this guidance as a jumping off point, understanding that faculty members and other leaders of Zoom spaces may have more specific, detailed instructions for engagement in a particular setting. If you would like to have an individual consult with LXT about how to optimize your remote learning experience, please email lxt@law.harvard.edu to schedule a Zoom session.

Can I have in-person meetings with faculty members at this time?

In-person meetings on or off campus between or among faculty and students for advising, class-related discussions, research assistance or teaching fellow work, or for any other reason, are not permitted, unless in a pre-approved clinical capacity. In addition to raising equity and public health concerns, in-person student-faculty interactions may subject those involved to additional medical testing and reporting requirements. Faculty members will be available to meet with students over Zoom or by phone during office hours and/or by individual arrangement at mutually agreeable times.

Academics and Learning Experience

Academics and Learning Experience

What is HLS doing to ensure its online courses and clinics will provide a high-quality learning experience?

The Harvard Law School faculty has been hard at work adapting their teaching to offer the best online courses and clinics possible. We have sought to develop an excellent online educational experience, leveraging the latest research on how students best learn online and identifying the range of tools, techniques, and approaches that create effective, engaging, high-quality online courses. In our clinics, we continue to adapt to the exigencies of online clinical pedagogy and representation; to design creative and effective new ways of engaging with client communities, partner organizations, and tribunals; and to craft teaching and advocacy strategies that meet the challenges of this unique moment. We have also gathered feedback from our faculty and our students to gain additional insights from last spring and this fall, as we continue to tailor best practices in online learning to the distinctive pedagogy of law school.

What is HLS doing to plan for a robust student life experience?

We are committed to providing the highest-quality education and an enriching extracurricular student experience. As we’ve prepared for the academic year, we have been working to develop meaningful opportunities for students to connect outside the classroom and to support the extracurriculars that are an integral part of the HLS experience. These include mentoring and advising programs, service opportunities, academic and social events, participation in student organizations and student journals, student-faculty engagement opportunities, reading and writing groups and a wide range of other extracurricular activities.

What time of day will classes be held? What if I am in a different time zone?

All 1L classes will be scheduled between 8:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Students living in locations with significant time zone differences will be placed in sections that best align with those schedules. Once assigned to a section, students will be expected to participate in classes at the times they are offered.

Upper-level courses will continue to take place primarily between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Students will be expected to participate in classes at the times they are offered. We are working to develop additional offerings to better accommodate students living in locations with significant time zone differences.

What is the Law School doing to help students living in time zones around the world that make it more difficult to be in class during the day Eastern Time?

We will be creating for the spring semester, as we did this fall, new courses that are scheduled for hours that will be more convenient for students living multiple time zones away from Cambridge. These include several in the early morning blocks between 8:00-10:00 am and several in evening blocks between 7:00-10:00 pm. Students who feel they cannot participate fully in classes offered remotely during the Winter or Spring Term 2021 can take a leave for any reason through December 1, 2020.

Now that Law School courses and clinics will remain online, will you increase enrollment caps in courses with waitlists?

Course and clinic enrollment caps are set based not only on physical seat capacity but also, and more importantly, on the pedagogical goals of the course or clinic. As we think about how best to structure our courses and clinics for excellent online teaching and learning, we continue to consider whether we can increase any caps without compromising course or clinic objectives, including the scale best suited for robust classroom discussion and for allowing sufficient opportunities for each student to meet with their teachers and clinical supervisors.

What will the attendance policy be for AY 2020-2021?

The Law School’s regular attendance policy, as set forth in the Handbook of Academic Policies, applies for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Will HLS be recording classes?

Consistent with our standard recording policy, we will not be recording classes except in circumstances described in the Law School’s Handbook of Academic Policies. Law school pedagogy relies heavily on interactive classrooms in which learning occurs through an active dialogue between faculty and students. Similar to the fall term, our winter and spring term courses will be high-quality online courses, and full engagement with your legal education will require active participation in class sessions. Students will be expected to participate with video turned on during classes. We have heard your concerns about the timeframe in which recordings can be requested when emergencies arise. Starting Monday October 26, 2020, we are streamlining the recording request process to cut the time required for requesting a class recording for personal, family, or medical emergencies from three days to three hours for most classes. (The timeframe for recording requests for other reasons permitted by the Handbook of Academic Policies is not being changed.)

To request a recording for personal, family, or medical emergencies, please contact the Dean of Students Office. If you are unsure about whether your individual circumstances constitute such an emergency, please ask the Dean of Students Office. Please note that the three-hour window for recording requests due to an emergency applies to all classes with start times between 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. (Eastern). For classes that begin after 7:30 p.m., recording requests due to an emergency must be received by 4:30 p.m. that same day. For classes that begin before 11 a.m., recording requests due to an emergency must be received by 4:30 p.m. the prior business day. If you are experiencing an emergency that falls outside of the 4:30 p.m. cut-off for recording requests due to emergencies (for classes outside of the 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. range), please do submit your request; we will make our best efforts to accommodate it.

What is the process for submitting a recording request?

Students may request a recording of missed classes for a variety of reasons, ranging from religious holidays to significant personal or medical emergencies, through the Dean of Students Office at dos@law.harvard.edu. In response to student feedback about the lead time required for requesting a recording, we have reduced from three days to three hours in most cases the advance notice required to submit a request for recording due to a personal, family, or medical emergency. This change will go into effect October 26 and apply to classes with start times between 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. (all times in EST). For classes with start times after 7:30 p.m., the request for recording due to an emergency must be received by 4:30 p.m. that same day. For classes with start times before 11 a.m., the request for recording due to an emergency must be in by 4:30 p.m. the prior business day. Recording requests for serious illness; family emergency; personal emergency; death of an immediate family member; and birth of a child should go to Dean of Students. Recording requests for religious holiday; military service; and make up class conflicts should go to the Office of the Registrar.

Grading

Grading

What is the AY 2020-2021 grading policy?

Grading for the 2020-2021 academic year is in accordance with the Law School’s standard grading policies.

Why has the School decided not to implement a temporary credit/fail grading system AY 2020-2021?

In the spring of 2020, we temporarily suspended our standard grading system because of the extraordinary circumstance of students having to leave campus on very short notice, and to transition mid-semester to online teaching and learning. Under those circumstances, neither students nor faculty could know what to expect, creating a great deal of uncertainty around teaching and learning the last five weeks of the semester.

With the benefit of last spring’s experience and with months instead of days to prepare, our faculty and staff worked hard to identify and apply best practices for creating excellent online courses this academic year. In addition, we have been able to put in place for a number of affirmative measures to help address the barriers to online learning that some may have faced in the spring. These steps include supplementing existing grant aid with a new Technology Assistance Fund to help students address technological obstacles to participating fully in online learning; giving priority in the allocation of limited HLS dormitory housing to those facing technological or other circumstances that make it difficult to engage in online learning in their current environments; providing emergency dependent care support; and increasing the number of courses available in time slots that are more accessible to students in remote time zones.

In addition, in what we expect to be a difficult hiring market, the lack of grades is likely to be disadvantageous to many of our students.

We realize, however, that for a variety of reasons, an online learning experience may not be optimal for everyone. With that in mind, we have extended the leave of absence deadline to December 1, 2020 to allow students who, for any reason, feel they cannot participate fully in classes offered remotely during the winter or spring term.

 

Clinics, Externships, Independent Clinical Work, and SPOs

Clinics, Externships, Independent Clinical Work, and SPOs

Will I be able to participate in my in-house or externship clinic during spring term 2021?

The Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs (OCP) is working with our in-house clinics and externship supervisors to determine how the student experience in those programs can be most successful in an online learning environment. Based on the transition to remote clinical work this past spring and our ongoing assessment of clinical opportunities this fall, we expect that work in most in-house and externship clinics will be able to continue as planned in a remote environment.

How will clinic work change in a remote environment?

  • In-house clinics and SPOs

All in-house clinics and SPOs will operate remotely during the Spring semester. The classroom component of the clinics will be taught online.

Since courts, administrative agencies and other legal settings are open for attorneys and clients, the direct services clinics will need to appear in court, interview clients in person, access court documents, etc. when doing so remotely is not possible. For clinics and SPOs that have some limited amount of in-person activities for students to participate in person at courts, agencies, and similar off-campus settings that have been opened, those clinics and SPOs will ensure that they are following the health protocols shared by the University and local and state public health authorities, including use of face coverings when around other people, avoiding settings with large groups of people, social distancing, and, wherever possible, conducting meetings by phone, video, or online instead of in-person in order to ensure the safety of our students and clinicians. In addition, students should not physically attend clinic and SPO meetings off-campus or in other settings if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or recent exposure to known cases of COVID-19.

To the extent an in-house clinic or SPO offers any in-person student opportunities at a courthouse, agency, or similar off-campus setting, that in-person student activity must be voluntary. Thus, if a student is living in the Boston area and that student is in an in-house clinic or SPO, that does not obligate that student to participate in any in-person case activity that might become available. Every in-house clinic and SPOs will and must have robust legal work for students to undertake remotely no matter their geographic location.

The HLS campus will remain closed with extremely limited access for essential personnel only.

  • Externship Clinics

The externship clinics will also operate during the 2020-2021 academic year. The classroom component of the externship clinics will be online. OCP is working with the various agencies that host our externship students to ensure that the remote work is meaningful work. Remote work is preferred.

If remote work is not feasible (due to confidentiality concerns and technology limitations) and if a student is living locally (near the placements), the student may go to the externship placement, provided the placements are managing their workforce in alignment with state public health guidelines and, where applicable, Harvard University guidelines. This includes use of face coverings when around other people, avoiding settings with large groups of people, social distancing, and, wherever possible, conducting meetings by phone, video, or online instead of in-person in order to ensure the safety of our students and their supervisors. In addition, students should not physically attend clinic meetings off-campus or in other settings if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or recent exposure to known cases of COVID-19.

OCP is working with the externship sites on developing guidance for limited student participation in off-campus externships, in accordance with state and local public health guidelines.

Students in externship clinics are generally placed at organizations in the Greater Boston area – because of the remote format, is it possible for students in externship clinics to secure a placement outside of Greater Boston?

Typically, HLS requires students to be in residence/on-campus and only allows students to travel to other cities for winter term clinical credit. Given the current circumstances, HLS may allow students to work in-person or remotely at organizations and agencies in other cities, states, countries, provided the placement is approved by OCP and you are enrolled in the accompanying externship course. On site work may be possible provided the placement has confirmed that they are in compliance with their jurisdiction’s public health guidelines.

Can I do an independent clinical in my hometown or the locality where I happen to be living?

Yes. Working for an organization in your local area – provided the placement is approved by OCP – can count for independent clinical credit. Applications for the winter term are due to OCP by October 30, 2020 and for spring term the deadline is January 22, 2021. Explore more information about the independent clinical program.

May I increase the number of clinical credits I get for my externship?

Yes. Each clinical credit requires 4 hours per week (for 12 weeks) of work. As long as your placement supervisor has the necessary amount of work to meet these credit requirements, and you fall within the 16 credit cap (during your J.D.) for all clinical work, writing and cross-registration credits, you may increase your credits to match the number of hours per week you are working in your placement up to twenty hours per week (5 clinical credits). If you are an LL.M. student pursuing an externship placement, please consult with the Graduate Program as well as with OCP.

Library Services

Library Services

Will I have physical access to Langdell Library?

We expect the HLS Library to remain physically closed to patrons for the academic year; however, the library staff are available to support you remotely. For updates and helpful information on using the library remotely, please visit the HLS Library research and remote services guide.

Are there digital materials I can access remotely?

The Law Library has had many conversations with publishers to identify and purchase as many digital items as possible to support student learning in the classroom as well as faculty and student research, with a higher rate of success in finding digital access for materials after 2010. In addition to purchasing digital items, the Harvard Library’s scan and deliver service is available to digitize articles and limited portions of books (in accordance with copyright limitations) when no electronic version is available. To find materials in our collection, please search HOLLIS (the library catalog). To request access to an article or a portion of a book not available electronically, please contact Harvard Library’s Scan & Deliver service.

Will print copies of course reserve materials be available?

Sometimes faculty place course-related readings on hold in the library. Due to complications arising from the need to quarantine print materials after they are returned, and because of the inequity of allowing students in the Cambridge area to access materials that most others cannot, print copies of course reserve materials will not be circulated to students this academic year. Wherever possible, the library is acquiring digital copies of course reserve material and working with faculty to find alternative solutions to print course reserves. Course reserve lists, if used by faculty, can be found on your course site in Canvas.

Can I borrow physical books from the Harvard Library?

If you are living locally, you may log into HOLLIS (the library catalog) with your HUID and request items for pick up at several locations on the Harvard campus. More information on pick-up locations can be found at Harvard Library’s library materials guide. This information will continue to be updated as the circumstances evolve. Please note that neither the Harvard Library nor the Law Library are able to ship books to you. If you are located outside of the Cambridge area and need access to material, please contact our reference librarians (research@law.harvard.edu), who will try to find an e-version or alternative for you.

Can I access materials from Historical & Special Collections (HSC)?

Access to our archival and special collections material is closed for the academic year; however, our staff is available to assist with research questions remotely. To explore our digital collections visit: https://hls.harvard.edu/library/digital-collections/. Please contact HSC for assistance at specialc@law.harvard.edu.

How do I get research support?

Our librarians are available to meet with you to assist you with developing a research strategy, locating materials and other general reference services. You can reach our librarians to set up an appointment or visit our virtual reference during regular business hours, Monday–Friday between 10 am and 6 pm. Appointments are available later in the day for those in other time zones. To schedule a meeting, or find out more about how our librarians can help you with your research, please visit our Ask a Librarian page.

Technology Grant Program

Technology Grant Program

What does the Technology Grant program cover?

In the spring semester we are renewing support to those eligible for the Technology Grant and expanding covered equipment expenses to include standing desks, ergonomic chairs, and other academic-related supplies. Eligible students will receive a follow-on email with more details including deadlines and documentation requirements.

Who is eligible?

A student’s eligibility for Technology Grants is need-based, including J.D. students with combined financial aid (meaning a federal, Harvard, or private student loan and/or need-based HLS grant assistance) of at least $48,725, and LL.M. and S.J.D. students with HLS grant aid. Students with questions about their eligibility should contact their financial aid office – either J.D. Student Financial Services at sfs@law.harvard.edu or Graduate Program (LL.M. and S.J.D.) Financial Aid at gpfinaid@law.harvard.edu.

 

EIP - January 2021

EIP - January 2021

If I am a JD student participating in EIP in January 2021, do I need to also register for a winter term academic offering?

HLS students are required to enroll in an academic offering for the winter term 2021. Because standard HLS attendance policies apply and preclude missing class or clinical work in order to participate in EIP, it is recommended that students who are planning to participate in EIP enroll in independent writing credits for the term to allow the flexibility to interview on campus and to travel as necessary for interviews.

 

Tuition

Tuition

What is this year’s tuition expected to be?

For Academic Year 2020-2021, HLS has decided to roll back its previously announced tuition rate to the 2019-2020 level. Therefore, tuition will be $65,875 for 2020-2021. HLS has also increased financial aid, which will continue to be a top priority as we work to support those in need.

Will HLS be offering an additional tuition discount?

The decision whether to cut tuition is a University-level decision. While HLS was permitted to roll back its previously announced tuition increase, it lacked discretion to offer further tuition discounts.

HLS is committed to providing the highest-quality online programming and ensuring that our students receive an exceptional education. As previously noted, with the benefit of last spring’s experience and with months instead of days to prepare, our faculty and staff have worked hard to identify and apply best practices for creating excellent online courses and clinical opportunities. In addition to a wide range of student services, including mentoring, advising and other support programs, we have also worked to create a robust series of events, extracurricular activities, and an enriching social and intellectual experience for our students.

As also noted, we have also been able to put in place a number of affirmative measures to help address the barriers some may face to online learning. These steps include, for example:

  • Supplementing existing grant aid with a new Technology Assistance Fund to help our students address technological obstacles to participating fully in online learning;
  • Giving priority in the allocation of limited HLS dormitory housing to those facing technological or other circumstances that make it difficult to engage in online learning in their current environments;
  • Providing emergency dependent care support for students; and
  • Working to increase the courses available in time slots that are more accessible to students who are accessing the curriculum from time zones that are remote from that of Cambridge, MA.

This, of course, is supplementary to the robust financial aid we continue to provide. We realize, however, that for a variety of reasons, an online learning experience may not be optimal for everyone. With that in mind, we have extended the leave of absence deadline to December 1, 2020 to allow students who feel they cannot participate fully in classes offered remotely during the winter or spring term to take a leave for any reason.

 

Housing

Housing

What should I do if my home learning environment this fall has been unexpectedly challenging due to either technological or personal circumstances?

Students facing unexpected challenges in their home learning environment are still eligible to apply for rooms in North hall, at rates that are significantly reduced for this year based on financial need. For students looking for options other than dormitory living, HLS will also offer subsidies for Harvard University Housing apartments, based on financial need.  More information about both options will be available shortly at the HLS Housing website.

Will HLS dorms be available for residency for the remainder of the year?

North Hall dorm rooms are available. These rooms are available by petition, with priority given to those for whom technological or other circumstances create significant obstacles to learning online from their present home environment. Please keep in mind that the common lounge will be closed, and that individual access to communal kitchens will be managed through a reservation system. Cooking appliances are also prohibited from dorm rooms. If you are interested in submitting a petition, please contact Housing@law.harvard.edu.

I am a first-year student. Should I plan to move to the Cambridge area this spring? What are some of the various considerations?

Some entering students who are currently in the U.S. may consider moving to the Cambridge area, even though all academic programming will occur online and most of the campus will be closed for the remainder of the academic year. For those who prefer to do so, moving to the Cambridge area provides the advantage of securing housing for the upcoming summer and subsequent academic years. Other students may feel that living outside the Cambridge area or even outside Massachusetts makes the best sense for their learning style, family, and budget. A student living outside the Cambridge area should research Internet access with care and consider how they can best meet the requirement that all students participate in classes at the times they are offered.

I am an international student. Is it better for me to live in the Cambridge area or back in my home country?

The Harvard International Office (HIO) has prepared detailed guidance for international students, which was sent by HIO to all incoming and returning HLS students at the start of the academic year. Please refer to this guidance and contact HIO advisor Peter O’Meara (peter_omeara@harvard.edu) if you have any additional questions.

I did not secure housing in the Cambridge area for the fall. What are my options if I want to move to the Cambridge area in January?

Leases in the Cambridge-area rental market typically run September to September. However, there have been many concessions in the private market as landlords have found it difficult to fill their units this fall. Many landlords are waiving rental fees and offering reduced rent rates and other arrangements to new tenants this season.

Harvard University Housing (HUH) has already committed to flexibility in lease start dates for applicants whose schools are online in the fall semester. An extensive list of all available HUH vacancies—including many furnished units—can now be seen and selected via HUH’s website application. These units have the flexibility to begin your contract as soon as today—or as late as January. HUH does not require a security deposit, application fee, or finder’s fee and includes most, if not all, utilities. As always, there is no cost to apply for HUH housing and no obligation to commit until you have selected a unit and signed a lease.

I plan to live outside of the Cambridge area this year. How will this impact my financial aid award? Will my housing allowance change if I am living in a place with different housing costs?

The cost of attendance for the 2020-21 academic year will be the same regardless of where you live. We know students may be located around the country and the world; however, the room/board/personal expense portion of the cost of attendance calculation will continue to be based on what we have determined to be a moderate standard of living for the Cambridge area. Those students who choose to not move to Cambridge for the fall may be able to reduce their borrowing if they are able to live in a lower cost of living area.

What HLS housing will be available for the winter and/or spring terms?  Will dorms other than North Hall be available?

Based on the current public health situation, HLS has determined that most of the HLS dorms are not conducive to the social distancing currently necessary to limit the spread of the coronavirus. HLS will continue to offer spaces in North Hall by petition, and will also offer guidance to students interested in living in other parts of Cambridge or neighboring communities.

Can HLS students take advantage of other Harvard housing?

Yes. HLS students can also apply for housing through Harvard University Housing (HUH), which offers a range of housing options. HUH has already committed to unprecedented flexibility in lease start dates for applicants whose schools are online. If you are interested in applying for HUH housing for start dates beginning now and extending through January, please visit the Harvard University Housing website. As always, there is no cost to apply for HUH housing and no obligation to commit until you have selected a unit and signed a lease. Students can view and select currently available units now.

 

Remote Learning Decisions

Remote Learning Decisions

Why has Harvard Law School decided to hold its winter and spring 2021 terms online?

Our first priority is, and must continue to be, the health and safety of our community. As Dean Manning recently wrote to the HLS community, the U.S. is now experiencing its third spike in COVID-19 cases since March, and cases have been on the rise in Massachusetts, as more communities in and around Boston and the eastern half of the Commonwealth have been deemed high risk. With large unanswered questions about the impact of cold weather on the virus’ transmission and the potential interaction of COVID-19 with seasonal flu, the School believes that the risks and uncertainties associated with the pandemic in the winter and spring terms are too great to justify a significant return of students, staff, and faculty to campus.

The School has also learned from the fall 2020 experience that faculty have found creative and effective ways to adapt online practices to the distinctive pedagogy of law school; that students have been present and engaged in the classroom experience; and that classes and clinics are generally going well. After broad consultation at HLS and with colleagues at other schools, the Law School concluded that pedagogical considerations favor the continuation of online instruction at present.

Finally, the School determined that considerations of equity also support continued online instruction. Hybrid classes differentiate the educational experience among students not only on any given day, but also across the semester. Such classes are not equally accessible to students who come from countries subject to a travel ban, who face other difficulties securing visas, who have family or personal obligations or challenges that compel them to remain where they are now, or who suffer from underlying conditions that place them at high risk of serious illness should they contract COVID-19. Especially given the nature of HLS pedagogy, it seemed problematic to create a tiered experience in which only some but not all of the Law School community could engage fully.

Several other law schools are pursuing a hybrid model. Was this option considered for Harvard Law School and, if so, why has it not been adopted?

As Dean Manning recently wrote to the HLS community, the Law School exhaustively considered all aspects of offering classes on the HLS campus under current public health regulations and best practices, including CDC and state guidance for required physical distance. Under applicable constraints, the alternative to online instruction is not, as we all would wish, in-person instruction, but rather a form of hybrid learning. For example, in a typical Socratic class, only a fraction of the students could be present in the classroom on any given day; others would have to participate remotely from home; and both the teacher and in-person students would be required to wear masks, hindering the ability of everyone, especially those participating from home, to hear what is being said and to read expressions in a way that would contribute nonverbal communication to classroom dialogue. Even for small-class experiences, moreover, the School concluded that hybrid learning does not capture the benefits of either fully in-person or fully online instruction.

The School has also learned from the fall 2020 experience that faculty have found creative and effective ways to adapt online practices to the distinctive pedagogy of law school; that students have been present and engaged in the classroom experience; and that classes and clinics are generally going well. After broad consultation at HLS and with colleagues at other schools, the Law School concluded that pedagogical considerations favor the continuation of online instruction at present.

 

Leave of Absence

Winter Term

Winter Term

What is the minimum credit requirement for the winter term 2021?

To provide additional flexibility this year given the realities of COVID-19 and learning remotely, upper-level JD students and LLM students who remain enrolled for the winter and spring terms 2021 have the option of waiving the minimum credit requirement for the winter term 2021. Students electing this option must still meet all annual minimum credit requirements, including for the spring term 2021, and JD or LLM degree requirements. Students should submit the following form by December 1, 2020 to indicate their decision. Learn more in the addendum to the HLS Handbook of Academic Policies.

If I am a JD student participating in EIP in January 2021, do I also need to register for a winter term academic offering?

Because standard HLS attendance policies apply and preclude missing class in order to participate in EIP, it is recommended that students who are planning to participate in EIP but are not planning to waive the minimum credit requirement enroll in independent writing credits for the term to allow the flexibility to attend screener and callback interviews. Students who participate in EIP may not enroll in clinical credits for the winter term.

For more information on waiving minimum credit requirements for the winter term 2021, please see the addendum to the HLS Handbook of Academic Policies.

 

Additional Information Specific to International Students

Additional Information Specific to International Students

As an international student, how will the remote status impact me?

The remote nature of Harvard Law School’s academic program will have significant implications for students who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States. The Harvard International Office (HIO) prepared and sent detailed guidance to all entering and returning international students. Please read this guidance carefully and contact HIO Advisor Peter O’Meara at peter_omeara@harvard.edu with any questions.

I am an international student. Will I be eligible for student loans if I am unable to obtain a visa?

Our preferred lenders have confirmed they will move forward with lending to international students who are outside of the United States. We are less familiar with the practices of other lenders so we encourage each student to do their own due-diligence when researching borrowing options.

 

Harvard University Health Services

Harvard University Health Services

As a student, what should I know about the mandatory student health fee and the optional Student Health Insurance Plan?

The mandatory student health fee is $603 per term for the 2020-2021 academic year for those living in Massachusetts. Because students living outside Massachusetts will have more limited access to Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) clinics and services, HUHS has granted a 50% discount and students are required to pay $301 per semester. As a result, a student living outside Massachusetts in the fall would have paid the discounted rate for the first semester. If that student returned to Massachusetts in the spring, they would pay the full rate for the second semester. More information can be found on the HUHS website.

Separately, students residing in the United States may also choose to purchase major medical insurance through the optional Student Health Insurance Plan, which is administered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. This plan is different from the HUHS services mentioned above, and covers hospital, specialty care, labs/radiology, and includes a prescription drug benefit. Students do not need to purchase this insurance plan if they have comparable coverage from some other insurance source.

I am a student enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan and am considering taking a leave of absence. Can I purchase an extension of my health coverage?

Current students enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan (which is separate and different from the services provided through Harvard University Health Services in exchange for the mandatory student fee), and who decide to take a leave may purchase up to six months of extended coverage. This represents an extension from the four months students have previously been permitted to purchase. For more information, please contact Member Services.

I am a student living in or around Cambridge, MA. Can I still access in-person care through Harvard University Health Services?

All registered HLS students can continue to access a limited array of in-person services at Harvard University Health Services (HUHS), whether in person or online. Please go to this page on the HUHS website for more information on available in-person services and how to schedule an appointment.

I am a student living outside Massachusetts. What Harvard University Health Services can I access?

The care that Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) can offer students in different states or countries is affected by licensing and other regulations in those locations. Each jurisdiction has regulations about who can practice medicine, and physicians licensed to practice in Massachusetts (as all HUHS clinicians are) may not be permitted to practice in another state or country. For information about telemedicine and other services available to students living outside Massachusetts, please go to this page on the HUHS website.

As part of HUHS, Counseling and Mental Health Services (CAMHS) continues to offer online and other resources to students living in locations remote from Cambridge. Regardless of where you reside, all registered HLS students have access to mental health urgent care, an initial mental health consult with a clinician, and CAMHS workshops and group counseling at no cost. The HUHS Center for Wellness and Health Promotion also offers a wide range of virtual meditation, yoga and other resources, which you can find by visiting their website.

CAMHS also continues to offer one-on-one therapy to students, but as noted above, the availability of this service is limited by the laws and restrictions of the state or country in which a student resides. Regardless, students with mental health needs should still schedule an initial consultation to determine appropriate next steps for care.

Finally, even if you can’t visit the clinics in person, HUHS clinicians continue to be available to provide medical consultations and guidance on appropriate next steps for transitioning care to local providers.

 

Travel

Travel

What is Harvard’s current travel policy?

Harvard has extended the prohibition on University-related international and domestic travel until further notice, and continues to strongly discourage personal travel, international as well as domestic. These measures are among the steps the University is taking with the aim of lowering the risk of coronavirus transmission and helping ensure the health and safety of the Harvard community, as well as slowing the worldwide spread of COVID-19. The travel prohibition does not affect individuals who are authorized to return to Cambridge/Boston and must travel to do so for the purposes of regular work or moving into on-campus housing. Further information can be found on the travel guidance section of Harvard’s Coronavirus website.

 

Commencement

Commencement

Will Commencement 2021 be held on campus?

We don’t yet know. Commencement activities are set by the University and are coordinated University-wide. Information on Commencement will be forthcoming.

New York Bar Waivers

New York Bar Waivers

I am planning to sit for the New York Bar after graduation. How will online learning this academic year impact my ability to do so?

The New York Court of Appeals has approved a number of waivers to alleviate the challenges presented by the public health crisis. This includes a programmatic waiver of distance learning limitations that enables law students to continue their coursework virtually through the spring 2021 term. The waiver applies to all categories of students, including J.D. students, LL.M. students, and students who have completed fewer than 28 credit hours. Please see the State of New York Court of Appeals September 15, 2020 order for more information.