Moving to Cambridge for law school was a big jump for me – I grew up outside of Philadelphia, did my undergrad in California, and was living in Australia before enrolling. I say this at the start to strongly affirm you don’t need to have loved Boston your whole life, or even intend to make it your home after Harvard, to make the decision to come to law school here be the right one.
Below are some of the considerations I took into account, and some of the awesome things I discovered about the Cambridge/Boston area since moving here, that have helped affirm for me that I made the right decision.
Housing and Healthcare:
I know this isn’t the most exciting topic in the world, but many of you might be like me and wondering how you can handle a move from far away. Harvard’s amenities made it incredibly easy. The Harvard Law School dorms are furnished and are on nine-month leases. This is important for a few reasons: First, you do not have to worry, in the midst of the excitement in the lead up to orientation, about furnishing a place as well! Second, a nine-month lease means you aren’t stressing about finding a subletter, so in the spring you can focus on classes and finals and not worry about finding a person to take over your lease.
Harvard also has its own student health insurance. For those of you that have it already from elsewhere, great! You can opt out! But I have been really pleased with the service this has provided. There is actually a Harvard-affiliated doctor’s office in one of the law school buildings, so care couldn’t be closer to care should you need it!
The Boston/Cambridge Area:
I have loved Harvard’s setting in the greater Boston area. Cambridge is an amazing place with great restaurants, bars, theaters, and a thriving events calendar with Harvard athletics and speakers, not to mention what nearby MIT attracts. Boston is only a fifteen minute train ride away, so you have access to an amazing city that is in turn close to other fabulous weekend destinations like the Cape! I know you’ll be working hard at school, but do not underestimate how great it is to have an array of study breaks available! When you are tasked with deciding if you want to go hear Yo-Yo Ma, listen to a Bill Gates speech, catch an NBA game, or go to a paint night or escape room, you live in a pretty amazing area.
Does coming to Boston shut me out of the job market elsewhere?
Absolutely 100% not a concern. If you want to stay in Boston? Great. But you are in no way limited if you choose Harvard and have an eye to a career in another city. Last summer I worked at a law firm in DC, but I have friends who were in NY, LA, SF, Chicago, London, Houston, and more. Harvard Law School is a globally recognized name, and it positions you to have a global reach for where you want to start your career.
Rachel Newell is a 3L from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who lives in Australia. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2015. Prior to law school she was a coach at a soccer club on the Great Barrier Reef. At HLS Rachel is on the law school soccer team, a member of the Women’s Law Association, and wrote for the Journal of Law and Technology summer digest. She spent her 1L summer at Wayfair where she learned a lot but can’t claim to be a talented interior designer. She spent her 2L summer at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman in Washington, DC. Rachel is a big Lord of the Rings fan, skier, and British comedy enthusiast.