Law School Registration
All students must complete certain mandatory administrative clearance procedures before they can register as Harvard Law School degree candidates. The Graduate Program will provide further information about this process to LL.M. and S.J.D. students. Students are also required to update their address and emergency contact information online in HELIOS by no later than August 23, 2022.
Upper-year S.J.D. candidates must complete the registration procedures described under “Residency Status” in the section on Academics: S.J.D. Candidates.
Late registration will not be permitted, except in extreme cases and only with permission of the Graduate Program.
A. International Student Clearance
International students must register with the Harvard International Office (HIO) immediately after arriving at Harvard, and will not be permitted to register at HLS until they have received clearance from the HIO. For the 2022-2023 academic year, the HIO registration process will take place online. To register, students must complete the HIO Registration Form (hio.harvard.edu/hio-registration-form), and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
B. Financial Clearance
No student who has an outstanding balance on their bill will be allowed to register.
C. Health Services Clearance
When in-person operations resume, new graduate students must submit the required medical forms and immunization records and receive approval from the Health Services Office in order to maintain their enrollment at the law school.
International students 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: hio.harvard.edu/social-security-numbers.
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 website at: store.thecoop.com.
Some used casebooks are available at The Coop, at the Harvard Bookstore (1256 Massachusetts Avenue), and at 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 as you complete your course selection.
Important: Please note that all students are expected to have read the assigned materials and to come to the first class prepared to discuss those readings.
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 entering their HarvardKey and password at: canvas.harvard.edu/.
Graduate Program students can take advantage of a robust network of advising and mentorship resources. Each LL.M. student is matched with an experienced alumnus, typically a student in the S.J.D. program, who provides individualized course counseling, conducts small group meetings, organizes occasional social events, and serves as a guide throughout the year. In addition, HLS faculty members offer special advising sessions and other events specifically for LL.M. students, including an advising panel during Orientation, topical “lunch” talks, casual discussions, and more. As well, students receive regular advice and support from faculty, from senior Graduate Program staff members, and from the network of S.J.D. students who serve in various advising and coordinator roles (see the section on “The Graduate Program“).
Please report any change of residential address to the Graduate Program 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 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: hio.harvard.edu/report-change-address.
Information about Harvard University’s guidance on university-related travel, both international and domestic, can be found at www.harvard.edu/coronavirus/travel-guidance and hls.harvard/edu/ils/opportunities-abroad/international-travel-procedures/.
On and Around Campus
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: https://hls.harvard.edu/research-programs-centers.
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.
Many graduate students are also involved with the publication of the Harvard 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: hls.harvard.edu/student-life/office-of-community-engagement-equity-and-belonging/student-orgs/ and hls.harvard.edu/student-life/office-of-community-engagement-equity-and-belonging/student-journals/.
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. Students should be sure to lock their room or office even if leaving it for only a short time. Thefts also occur in the Caspersen Student Center. Students should not leave valuables, including laptops, books, and papers, unattended anywhere in the Law School at any time. 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 secure method for locking it. Many students recommend using a lock referred to as a “U-Lock.”
Students are strongly encouraged to register their bicycles and laptops with the Harvard University Police Department. Registration, which can be done online, serves as a deterrent to theft and can help in the recovery of stolen property. For more information, visit the HUPD website at: hupd.harvard.edu/bicycle-registration or hupd.harvard.edu/laptop-theft-prevention.
Graduate students who are not living in the Law School residence halls 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 email@example.com.
Subject to COVID-19 restrictions, the Graduate Program Lounge, Wasserstein 5053, is available to Graduate Program students during normal building hours. Scheduled use of the room for group functions, such as Writing Workshop meetings, may be available by appointment through the Graduate Program Office in Wasserstein 5005; such arrangements must be made at least one week in advance. The Lounge may not be used for private meetings unless permission is granted by the Graduate Program .
The Caspersen Student Center will begin its regular operating schedule of three meals a day with the start of classes in early September.
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.
Students may continue to use their HLS student email accounts for 365 days after they graduate, at which time access will no longer be available. As your class nears graduation, you will receive a reminder that your account will be available for another year together with tools that will enable you to transfer data to other email accounts (such as a personal Gmail account).
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 for facilitating discussions on important topics such as class events, 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.
The Graduate Program sponsors an informal arrangement known as the LL.M.-J.D. Matching Program. LL.M. students who have expressed an interest are matched up with a J.D. student. The J.D. students 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 their LL.M. matches.
The HLS Administrative Updates page at hls.harvard.edu/dean-of-students/ad-up/ is a dynamic, web-based listing for administrative announcements at the law school, and includes course announcements, student organization announcements, administrative news, lost and found, job opportunities, 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 hls.harvard.edu/calendar.
News@Law and Harvard Law Today
During the academic year, the Harvard Law School Office of Communications issues a daily e-mail newsletter, news@law, containing news media mentions of Harvard Law faculty and students, and Harvard Law Today, a weekly e-mail newsletter with news and stories related to the law school. Students are added to the mailing lists for both publications.
Personal mail must be directed to your dormitory or off-campus residence address. The Graduate Program is not able to accept personal mail on behalf of students; personal mail directed to the Graduate Program will be returned to sender.
For procedures on reporting change of address or phone number during the year, please see “Reporting Change of Address” above.
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.
Each year the LL.M. class elects two representatives, and the S.J.D. class elects one representative, to the Harvard Law Student Government. The LL.M. class also elects 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 class marshals elected by the LL.M. class work alongside the class marshals elected by the J.D. 3L class. As a group, the class marshals bring the Class of 2022 — J.D.s and LL.M.s alike — together as a whole as they lead the class in Commencement-related plans and activities. The final honorable duty comes on Commencement morning, when the class marshals and the Dean of the law school lead the entire graduating class to Tercentenary Theatre in Harvard Yard.
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 the 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 during 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.
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, because most U.S. law firms and legal employers 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 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 Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising (OPIA) 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 typically held 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 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.
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 State Board of Law Examiners (“NY BOLE”), international students who are considering sitting for the bar exam should consult the NY BOLE website at nybarexam.org/Foreign/ForeignLegalEducation.htm 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 Online Foreign Evaluation Form (at nybarevaluation.org/Intro.aspx) 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 typically holds an information session in the fall regarding application procedures.
Please note that all applications to sit for the New York Bar Examination 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.
Pro Bono Requirement. 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 are now 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 Appeal (nycourts.gov/ctapps/520rules10.htm). 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 are 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 this rule at: http://ww2.nycourts.gov/sites/default/files/document/files/2018-07/FAQsBarAdmission_0.pdf.
Skills Competency Requirement. The New York Court of Appeals has instituted a requirement that students seeking admission to the New York bar must also satisfy a Skills Competency Requirement (in addition to all existing bar admission requirements). This requirement is effective as of August 1, 2018 for LL.M. students who plan to qualify for the bar exam using their LL.M. degree (and was effective for all others as of August 1, 2016). For more information about this requirement, please consult the New York Board of Law Examiners website at: nybarexam.org/Skills/skills.htm.
The Skills Competency Requirement can be satisfied in one of five ways, but at this time the only ways that are applicable for LL.M. students at Harvard Law School are “Apprenticeship” (22 NYCRR 520.18(a)(4)) (at least six months in duration) and “Practice in another jurisdiction” (22 NYCRR 520.18(a)(5)) (at least one full year of full-time work or two years of half-time work). Both the “Apprenticeship” and “Practice in another jurisdiction” requirements can be satisfied before or after the LL.M., but please note that completing this requirement after the LL.M. program through an “Apprenticeship” or through “Practice in Another Jurisdiction” in the home country or elsewhere may preclude international students from taking advantage of the authorization they could otherwise obtain to work in the U.S. after graduation for nine months to a year (depending on their student visa type).
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.
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