Welcome to the Harvard Law School website! It offers a window into the programs and people of this remarkable institution.
Harvard Law School is a place for people who love ideas because ideas make a difference in the world; who want to think about the law's interaction with public policy, business, information and biomedical technologies, and human needs and perceptions; who are fascinated by the power of institutions and rules while mindful of the unintended consequences of policy reforms; and who pursue the legal profession’s service to society.
Our 105 full-time professors bring to the School a depth and range of experience unmatched by any other law faculty, and offer more than 300 upper-level classroom and clinical courses—over 100 having 25 or fewer students. Topics range from international legal studies, child advocacy, venture capital and social and economic rights, to the law of Ancient Greece and the law of cyberspace. Pathbreaking scholarship by faculty members influences the regulation of corporate governance and consumer protection, the design of domestic and international finance systems, the drafting of emerging constitutions, and scholarly debates in law and also in economics, history, psychology, literary theory, philosophy, and more. Members of our faculty regularly argue cases before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, shape governance of the Internet, devise proposals for better regulation of corporate and consumer risks, and advise developing nations on how to create effective legal systems.
Our students—accomplished women and men from around the world—organize human rights missions; advocate in local, federal, and international courts; launch and assist nonprofit organizations; analyze and monitor national security policies and laws; and mediate small claims and build dispute resolution systems for public and private organizations. They provide vital advocacy for people facing eviction, for prisoners, for children with disabilities and other vulnerable individuals; they advise cities on environmental protection and economic development. Students engage in and publish their own scholarly research and edit 17 internationally-renowned law journals, while also putting on plays, competing in intramural sports, organizing conferences, and pouring energy, leadership, and creativity into 90 student organizations.
Established in 1817, Harvard Law School is the oldest continuously operating law school in the nation, but its greatest tradition is its commitment to critical analysis—of law, legal institutions, and legal education itself. Curricular innovations revise rich traditions to keep pace with rapidly evolving legal, economic, and technological developments. Overhauled in 2006, the School’s introductory curriculum has included new courses on problem-solving, legislation and regulation, and comparative and international law. The School is deepening advanced programs of study in law and government; law, science and technology; international and comparative law; law and business; criminal law; and law and social change; cross-university initiatives including joint degree programs; and study abroad opportunities.
You may also get a sense of the School’s intellectual life from the variety of research programs. They focus on cyberspace, racial justice, legal developments in East Asia, environmental policies, human rights, European law, Islamic law, law and economics, international tax and finance systems, labor and health law, biotechnology and bioethics, corporate governance, negotiation and dispute resolution; the structures and norms of the domestic and global legal professions; and law and the sciences of the mind, brain, and cognition.
A spirit of public service infuses the Harvard Law School. In classrooms and in research projects, and in 28 clinics, our faculty and students seek innovative solutions to real-world problems. The extraordinary and innovative corporate law faculty instruct students not only in advising clients and structuring complex transactions, but also in thinking globally in designing sound, effective, and fair domestic and international regulatory frameworks. Our alumni include leaders in all branches and all levels of government, in academia, in media, in for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations domestically and around the world. The Law School is strongly committed to providing all students in need with financial assistance and offering those who choose to enter public service with substantial financial support.
The work of students and faculty receives support from superb staff and extraordinary resources, including those within the Harvard Law School library. It houses an unparalleled collection of legal materials, from unique historical works to the latest in digital resources, and offers students and faculty the most advanced research, teaching, and publication support. The alumni networks in every region of the world serve as an invaluable resource in mentoring students and offering networks of colleagueship and friendship among graduates.
I hope that you enjoy your virtual visit to the Harvard Law School through this website. If you have not visited recently or ever, I hope that you spend time at our real campus and connect with our vibrant, creative, and welcoming community.
Dean and Jeremiah Smith, Jr., Professor of Law