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Experiential Learning

Hands-on learning.
Real-world experience.

Credit: Lorin Granger

“When I was in the Family Law Clinic, it was a great experience to get my feet wet in trial advocacy and run my first trial. It also felt wonderful to win for my client.”

—Alexis Alvarez ’21

A trailblazer in developing experiential pathways to learning, Harvard Law School continues its commitment to excellence through transformative approaches in legal education. Experiential learning opportunities such as those outlined below provide students with invaluable opportunities to broaden their skills and to learn by doing.

Clinical Program

Through Harvard Law School’s legal clinics, students gain invaluable hands-on legal experience while making a positive impact in people’s lives and communities. HLS clinics encompass training in a broad range of legal fields, from human rights, immigration, health, and housing law, to cyber, tax, veterans’ law and much more.

1L January Experiential Term

The 1L January Experiential Term (JET) curriculum allows first-year students to explore different areas of law and experience what it’s like to practice law in different settings. The courses emphasize teamwork, skills training, and self-reflection, and are designed to help students bridge the gap between academic courses and practical lawyering, while making connections with fellow first-year classmates.

Trial Advocacy Workshop

The Trial Advocacy Workshop is an intensive course in trial analysis, skills, and techniques. It includes simulated exercises on all aspects of in-court trial practice including opening statements, development of witness testimony on direct and cross examination, use of illustrative aids and exhibits in evidence, impeachment, expert testimony and summations. An important feature of the Workshop is the on-the-spot evaluation and critique by experienced trial lawyers and judges. 

Negotiation Workshop

By combining theory and practice, the Negotiation Workshop aims to improve both the participants understanding of negotiation and their effectiveness as negotiators. Drawing on work from a variety of research perspectives, the readings and lectures will provide students with a framework for analyzing negotiations and tools and concepts useful in negotiating more effectively. Participants will spend much of their time in a series of negotiation exercises and simulations where, as negotiators and critical observers, they will become more aware of their own behavior as negotiators and learn to analyze what works, what does not work, and why.