Skip to content
Three students talking outside of the WCC
Credit: Brooks Kraft

Faculty Advising for 1Ls

1L Reading Groups

As a first-year student, you are invited to participate in 1L Reading Groups organized around topics proposed by law school professors. 1L Reading Groups provide an informal setting for you to meet fellow first-year students with common interests and get to know a law school professor early in your first year. The professor hosting your reading group serves as your faculty adviser. During your first year, you will meet individually with your professor for mentoring and advice about law school, academic offerings, and career paths. If you choose not to sign up for a 1L Reading Group, you may find an adviser through your section.

1L Faculty Leaders

The faculty leader of your 1L section is a resource for you for orientation, course registration, and general advising. Your section also has assigned faculty affiliates from different fields of legal study who are available for advising.

Faculty Advising for 2Ls and 3Ls

HLS faculty mentor and advise students throughout law school. Faculty who were 1L Section leaders are one group to which you can continue to connect. Students who participated in a 1L Reading Group can also continue to connect with the Faculty who led the reading group.

You also are encouraged to think about working with a faculty member as a research assistant or teaching fellow. Working as a research assistant is an excellent way to engage with a faculty member and be exposed to cutting-edge research and/or advocacy. Research assistant opportunities are posted on the Administrative Updates page. In addition, writing a paper under the supervision of a faculty member is a great way to engage with a faculty member and garner academic and other advice from that professor. If you need guidance on finding a paper supervisor, please feel free to consult with Catherine Claypoole and review our online faculty directory.

Programs of Study

To help you navigate the law school’s many and broad range of course offerings, the faculty has developed seven Programs of Study. The Programs of Study are pathways to guide students through the upper-level curriculum. They provide guidance from the faculty of how different courses, seminars, clinics, and extracurricular offerings relate to the work of practicing lawyers and academics. Each program has affiliated faculty advisers with expertise in related fields. You may decide to focus your upper-level studies within one or several of the Programs of Study, but there is no requirement that you do so.

Events and Opportunities to Connect

Engage with faculty and fellow students through panel discussions, social events, and workshops.

Guidance from a Network of Advisers

Get advice and support from faculty, senior Graduate Program staff, and Graduate Program Fellows.

Clinical Advising

As a 1L, you may get involved in a Student Practice Organization (SPO) and as a 2L and/or 3L, you may enroll in clinics. The Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs (OCP) offers advising for students on selecting SPOs, pro bono work, and clinics, which are part of the academic program. There are four attorney advisers and additional clinical staff who are knowledgeable about every clinic and Student Practice Organization (SPO), and they are familiar with the types of clinical work students will do in a particular clinic in upcoming semesters.

The clinical advisers can help you choose the best clinic for your interests – and discuss skills sets covered, supervisors who might be a good fit, how to set up an independent clinical, and how to best help achieve your learning goals. They can also connect you to clinical professors and clinical supervisors for additional advising about specific types of clinical work.

Registering for Clinics

Students register for clinics through the OCP, and clinical advisers can help you navigate the registration process. Schedule an advising appointment, or stop by the OCP and meet with an adviser.

Research Support from the Library

The Library’s Research Librarians are an excellent source of information about the law school, law faculty, and legal careers. Many of the Research Librarians are also attorneys and have worked at HLS for a number of years. They have a broad base of knowledge about faculty research areas and courses of study within the law school.

Research Librarians are available to discuss with you career paths and ways to fully research and prepare for your job interviews and entry into practice. With connections to colleagues, students, alumni, and faculty here at Harvard, the Research Librarians can connect you to people and resources to help with your academic and professional decisions.

Explore research assistance

Additional Advising Resources

Academic and Learning Support

From time to time, you might find that beyond guidance about choosing courses or Programs of Study, you would like additional support in your studies. You can find support by accessing the Dean of Students Academic and Learning support page.

Handbook of Academic Policies

The Harvard Law School Handbook of Academic Policies contains the law school’s academic rules and policies, including detailed information about the requirements for the J.D., LL.M., and S.J.D. degrees; registration and submission deadlines for all academic work; and policies regarding exams, academic honesty, and leaves of absence. If you have questions about the policies and requirements in the Handbook, please stop by the Registrar’s Office ( or Dean of Students Office (