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Research Programs & Centers

Harvard Law School’s research programs and centers produce cutting-edge work in a wide range of fields and disciplines while providing students with valuable research and clinical opportunities and the chance to work directly with faculty members on projects at the cores of their scholarly agendas.

students sitting around a table

Access to Justice Lab (A2J)

The Access to Justice Lab works to transform law from its current status of disdain for evidence-based thinking into one that bases policies and procedures on credible evidence.  The A2J Lab generates the required evidence by conducting randomized control trials, field experiments akin to medical clinical trials, to discover how to make the justice system work best for low-income individuals and families.

Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society

An entrepreneurial research program founded in 1997 to explore and understand cyberspace; to study its development, dynamics, norms, and standards; and to access the new or lack thereof for laws and sanctions.

Brooks McCormick Jr. Animal Law & Policy Program

Committed to analyzing and enhancing the treatment of animals in the legal system. The Program aims to engage with academics, students, practitioners, and decision makers to foster discourse, facilitate scholarship, develop strategies, and implement solutions in the rapidly evolving area of animal law & policy.

Center for Labor and a Just Economy (CLJE)

Center for research, teaching, and creative problem solving related to the world of work and its implications for society. CLJE organizes projects and programs that examine critical changes in labor markets, labor law, and the experiences of working people, and analyze the role of advocates, unions, worker organizations, business, and government in improving the quality of life for working families in the U.S. and around the world.

An empirical, research organization dedicated to providing a richer understanding of the rapidly changing global legal profession. We do this by conducting, sponsoring, and publishing world-class empirical research on the profession; innovating and implementing new methods and content for teaching law students and practicing lawyers; and fostering broader and deeper connections bridging legal practitioners and the academy.

Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice (CHHIRJ)

CHHIRJ builds, contributes to, and supports evidence-based legal theories at the contemporary frontiers of racial civil rights, offering and fostering innovative, interdisciplinary solutions to ongoing threats to racial equality and justice. To learn more about the current priorities and activities of CHHIRJ, visit the Houston Institute website.

East Asian Legal Studies Program (EALS)

East Asian Legal Studies is one of the western world’s oldest, largest, and most comprehensive academic programs devoted to the study of the law and legal history of the nations and peoples of East Asia, their interaction with the United States, and their impact on global order more generally.

Environmental & Energy Law Program

The EELP team of faculty, staff, and student researchers analyze and track federal and state environmental and energy policy developments, and court decisions. We bring innovative, rigorous legal analysis to facilitate the transition to a low-carbon sustainable future, mitigate the disruptive effects of climate change, protect public health and welfare from environmental degradation, promote sustainability and climate adaptation, and ensure environmental justice and a just transition for communities.

Foundations of Private Law

An interdisciplinary research program at Harvard Law School dedicated to the academic investigation of private law. “Private law” embraces the traditionally common law subjects (property, contracts, and torts), as well as related subjects that are more heavily statutory, such as intellectual property and commercial law.

Harvard Law School Project on Disability (HPOD)

The Harvard Law School Project on Disability (HPOD) undertakes scholarship and advocacy across a variety of local, national, and international fora to promote the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities, and thereby serve society at large. Since its founding in 2004, HPOD has worked closely with and learned from our partners and clients on a pro bono basis in the US and over 40 other nations.  

Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP)

The Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP) is an active learning community of students, staff, and faculty who engage in cutting-edge work in dispute systems design, negotiation, mediation, facilitation, and conflict management. HNMCP seeks to contribute to a more just and equitable world through clinical work and student practice organizations; scholarship and original content creation; and innovative coursework and curriculum design. Inspired by a belief that systems should be informed by the people they affect, the Dispute Systems Design Clinic works to help client organizations and communities envision more effective and inclusive systems and engage conflict more effectively, and the HLS Negotiators and Harvard Mediation Program offer students and community members additional practical opportunities. HNMCP also seeks to create space for new voices and dialogues through its blog, podcast series, and public reports.

Harvard Negotiation Project

Founded in 1979, the Harvard Negotiation Project’s mission is to develop theory for practitioners – analytical tools and skills for navigating the real world, dealing with our differences and finding ways to collaborate to crucial issues.  HNP is built on 3 pillars: Teaching, Writing, and Practice.  The HLS Negotiation Workshop and the HNP Teaching Network continue to innovate what and how we teach.  On the Practice front, HNP is also the home of the Rebuild Congress Initiative, whose goal is a strong, functional, representative U.S. Congress that can fulfill its constitutional responsibilities. And HNP is the home of a number of classics in the field, including Getting to YES, Difficult Conversations, Getting It Done, and Thanks for the Feedback

Human Rights Program (HRP)

In addition to giving impetus and direction to international human rights work at Harvard Law School, the Human Rights Program seeks to inspire critical engagement with the human rights project and to inform developments in the field through impartial, innovative, and rigorous research.

Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP)

A collaborative faculty effort to foster new thinking about the ways we are governed at the global level. Fosters research and policy dialog about the structure and potential for global governance as we confront the most pressing issues of global policy.

Institute to End Mass Incarceration (IEMI)

The Institute’s mission is to end mass incarceration in the United States. To do so, it combines a movement-centered advocacy program with a bold and ambitious innovation institute. Across its different areas of work, the Institute aims to build widespread community power to promote the radical democratization and decarceration of communities impacted by the American penal system. The Institute supports fellows engaged in organizing and advocacy work and engaged in research. It hosts convenings and trainings for practitioners and is home to a clinic that trains future lawyers in movement-supporting decarceral lawyering. The Institute also publishes Inquestan online magazine featuring decarceral ideas and essays from a broad range of authors.

John M. Olin Center for Law, Economics, and Business

Supports research, issues discussion papers, and offers research assistantships and fellowships to Harvard Law students in law and economics.

The Julis-Rabinowitz Program on Jewish and Israeli Law

Pursues excellence in the scholarly study of Jewish law, conceived as a dynamic religious system, and Israeli law, the legal system of a state formally committed to democratic and Jewish values.

The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics

An interdisciplinary research program dedicated to the unbiased legal and ethical analysis of pressing questions facing health policymakers, medical professionals, patients, families, and others who influence and are influenced by health care and the health care system.

Program in Islamic Law (PIL)

The Program in Islamic Law at Harvard Law School is dedicated to promoting research and providing resources for the academic study of Islamic law. We host a suite of projects toward that end: a portal for organizing the world’s information on Islamic law (SHARIAsource), a set of publications for cutting-edge scholarship in Islamic legal studies (a book series, occasional papers, and a peer-reviewed journal), and myriad program events and support for students, fellows, and scholars working in the field of Islamic legal studies.

Seeking to inspire confidence in Biblical law as a source of truth powerful enough to meet global challenges, yet personal enough to inspire individual purpose, the Program equips students to become leaders committed to serving constituents in need of hope, clients in need of justice, colleagues in need of encouragement, and adversaries in need of grace.

Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy

Studies a range of issues at the intersection of behavioral economics, law, and public policy.

Program on Corporate Governance

Seeks to foster research and scholarship about corporate governance and facilitate discourse in this field among academics, practitioners, and policy-makers.

Program on Institutional Investors (PII)

Seeks to contribute to research, policy-making, discourse, and education with respect to institutional investors and issues of interest to institutional investors.

Program on International Law and Armed Conflict (PILAC)

The program provides a space for research on critical challenges facing various fields of public international law related to armed conflict. HLS student researchers contribute extensively to the program’s initiatives. In addition to publishing academic and policy analyses, the program convenes workshops, hosts scholarly events, and briefs senior practitioners on its research.

Program on Law and Political Economy (LPE@HLS)

LPE@HLS is a vibrant intellectual community committed to advancing the study of political economy as an integral part of law. The program seeks to provide both formal and informal settings for scholarship and teaching anchored in the law school, but encompassing cross-disciplinary interactions with students and faculty throughout Greater Boston who are concerned with how law functions to shape productivity, justice, and power in market societies.

Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World

The Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World (PLSMW) is a research program with a mission to support rigorous and cutting-edge scholarship that addresses the complex relationships between law and society in Muslim majority and minority contexts around the world. We offer visiting fellowships for scholars and practitioners in the field, support student research and academic engagement through travel grants and mentorship, and host a wide range of scholarly workshops and events.

Program on Negotiation (PON)

An innovative, inter-university (Harvard, MIT, Tufts) research center dedicated to improving the theory and practice of negotiation and dispute resolution. PON hosts a wide range of scholarly events, publishes numerous educational materials, and offers negotiation training through its Harvard Negotiation Institute and Negotiation and Leadership courses for senior managers and executives.

Shareholder Rights Project (SRP)

Works on behalf of public pension funds and charitable organizations seeking to improve corporate governance at publicly traded companies in which they are shareowners, as well as on research and policy projects related to corporate governance.

Systemic Justice Project (SJP)

The Systemic Justice Project is devoted to teaching and working with students to understand and respond to systemic injustices by analyzing the legal, historical, cultural, political, economic, and psychological causes of those problems, by recognizing the intersecting relationships among those problems, and by developing theories of change to respond to those problems. The Systemic Justice Project also collaborates with a variety of justice-centered individuals, organizations, and institutions working to address systemic injustices.

Tax Law Program

Provides opportunities for the study of tax law at Harvard through a significant array of courses, seminars, and reading groups in U.S. tax law, open to students in both the J.D. and LL.M. programs. There are also opportunities for Visiting Scholars and Researchers in Taxation who wish to further their research at Harvard Law School.

Youth Advocacy & Policy Lab (Y-Lab)

The Youth Advocacy and Policy Lab (Y-Lab) advocates for the creation of child-serving systems that are trauma-sensitive, healing-centered, and antiracist, enabling all children to learn and thrive. Y-Lab prioritizes elevating the voices of young people and uses legal and policy tools to transform public systems like schools that impact them and their families. Through legal clinics and courses, Y-Lab teach law students the theory and skills they need to become future leaders in system change advocacy.