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Peer Advising for J.D.s

Two students outside look at a paper

Credit: Brooks Kraft

Board of Student Advisers

Recognizing that new students benefit greatly from mentoring by 2Ls and 3Ls, the Law School has a program through which each member of the Board of Student Advisers (BSA) acts as a mentor to twelve to fifteen first-year students and are introduced at Orientation. Members of the BSA also serve as student teachers in the LRW course, offer small-group advising on particular topics, and provide one-on-one guidance to 1Ls needing additional assistance.

Through this mutually-enriching relationship, you’ll receive counseling and tutoring as well as general support as you make your way through the first year.

As Peer Advisers for J.D.s, BSA members:

  • Help 1Ls acclimate to HLS and the 1L Sections
  • Serve as a 1L’s adviser for the Legal Research & Writing Program (LRW) with the Climenko Fellow who is teaching the LRW course
  • Provide advice about life as a law student from a student perspective
  • Offer ideas about what electives to take during the Spring 1L semester, what courses to take as a 2L or 3L, and ideas about possible career choices
  • Provide direction about where a 1L can go to find support if there is something that cannot just be answered by a BSA member

DOS Peer Adviser Program

The Dean of Students Office will launch a Peer Adviser program that will provide an opportunity for interested 2Ls and 3Ls to advise 1Ls. The Peer Advisers are volunteers willing to provide advice and guidance for new students. 2Ls and 3Ls who were in a particular section when they were 1Ls will be available to advise current 1Ls who are in that section. The program is a variant of Section 6’s “Big Sibling” program. It also complements student organizations who match 1Ls and LL.M.s with 2L and 3L advisers.

Student Organizations

Students talk to another student at a table at the Student Activities Fair

Credit: Marcus Halevi

Student organizations are a source of peer advising and mentorship for all HLS students. Many of these organizations have formal mentoring programs that match incoming students with upper-level students. For 1Ls, these programs offer unique opportunities to find peer mentors in addition to the official BSA member assigned to each 1L Section. For LL.M. students, these programs supplement the mentoring available from S.J.D. students who have recently completed the LL.M. program.

See all Student Organizations


Peer Advising for LL.M.s

Credit: Heratch Photography

LL.M. students benefit from academic and related advising by a network of doctoral (S.J.D.) candidates, almost all of whom have completed the LL.M. at HLS in recent years. They include:

  • LL.M. Advisors, who provide individual guidance on course selection, hold regular group meetings to review key questions and foster a sense of community, and serve as resources for other aspects of academic and student life at Harvard.
  • Legal Research, Writing and Analysis I (LRWA I) Teaching Assistants, who lead small-group discussions and answer questions arising out of the LRWA I lectures offered during Orientation, and offer feedback on the essay exercise.
  • Writing Workshop Teaching Assistants, who offer advice and support for LL.M. writing projects, including guidance on choosing paper topics and supervisors, support with research and writing, and coordinating presentations of work in progress.
  • Byse Fellows: each Byse Fellow will offer a mini-course (six or seven two-hour sessions) on an issue of current doctrinal and/or theoretical interest. (Open to all HLS students.)
  • Harvard Empirical Legal Studies (HELS) series Coordinator, who designs and coordinates a yearlong program of talks and workshops by faculty from HLS and other institutions working on the forefront of empirical analysis in legal scholarship. (Open to all HLS students.)
  • Graduate Forum Coordinators, who take the lead in creating, planning, and expanding activities and events to foster closer integration among students in the LL.M., J.D., and S.J.D. programs at HLS, including the International Film Festival, which is open to all HLS students.