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Welcome to the Harvard Law School Graduate Program

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The Graduate Program is the division of Harvard Law School responsible for the Master of Laws (LL.M.) and the Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) degrees, and for various aspects of graduate legal studies, including the Visiting Scholar and Visiting Researcher program. A centerpiece of Harvard Law School's efforts to internationalize its student body, faculty, and curriculum, members of the Graduate Program constitute a vibrant academic community noted for its diversity of interests and backgrounds. Through our degree programs, we are working to train the next generation of leaders in academia, private practice, government, and non-profit and non-governmental organizations worldwide. In our other activities, we promote awareness of foreign law and legal systems among faculty, students, and alumni, both at the Law School and elsewhere at Harvard University.

The Graduate Program attracts lawyers of demonstrated intellectual and academic excellence from all over the world. Each year, the LL.M. program enrolls some 180 outstanding students representing more than 70 countries and a broad variety of backgrounds, legal interests and career plans. The S.J.D. program, modeled on the very best Ph.D. programs in other disciplines, hosts some 70 students planning careers in teaching and scholarship. Both programs expose students to American modes of legal education (which emphasize critical thinking and self-inquiry) as well as to substantive law, and enhance our students' ability to do advanced scholarly work. The Graduate Program also hosts the Visiting Scholar and Visiting Researcher program, which accommodates a small number of legal scholars and researchers from around the world who are engaged in major research projects for which the Law School's outstanding library resources may be of assistance.

In addition, the Graduate Program contributes to the intellectual life of the School by serving as a focal point for advanced study and research. Each year we sponsor a series of conferences, workshops, and colloquia on developing issues in law, legal education and practice, and legal theory; these events attract not only the internationally-oriented members of the Law School community but also faculty and students whose primary focus is American law. The friendships that our students develop with other members of their class as well as with students in the J.D. program significantly enrich the experience of all students at the School, and form the basis of a lifelong network of professional and personal relationships all over the world. Alumni of the Graduate Program have distinguished themselves as leaders in academia, government, the judiciary, and private practice in more than 80 countries around the world.

In sum, the Graduate Program provides a vibrant, dynamic environment where students can study, explore, and interact with people from almost anywhere in the world. Admittedly both the Graduate Program and the Harvard milieu are large by the standards of American legal education. To prevent students from getting lost in the sheer size and complexity of this environment, the Graduate Program works hard to create a sense of community for our students. Many faculty work closely with LL.M.s and S.J.D.s alike, dedicated to helping them reach their full academic potential. The Graduate Program staff -- a group of dedicated, accessible and academically accomplished professionals -- helps guide students through the maze of choices they must make. We also actively enlist students in our ongoing efforts to improve and enhance the program. Together, we work to make each student's experience at Harvard a rich and fulfilling one that broadens his or her intellectual horizons.

The following pages provide more detailed information about the Graduate Program's activities, students, and staff, not to mention information on how to apply to our LL.M., S.J.D., and Visiting Scholar and Visiting Researcher programs. We hope that you will find them of interest. Once again, welcome to the Harvard Law School Graduate Program!

With best wishes,

William Alford
Vice Dean for the Graduate Program and International Legal Studies; Director, East Asian Legal Studies

Last modified: November 16, 2012

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