Harvard Law School

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
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Ken
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Harvard Law School

Postby Ken » Tue Nov 15, 2005 3:13 am

Harvard Law School is considered the best law school in the nation by anyone outside of the legal profession (Yale Law School is the best, as most site readers know). Thus, those who drop the “H-Bomb” when discussing where they went to law school will get instant credibility and respect. There are many other pros and cons to attending the most famous law school in the world.

The greatest benefit of attending Harvard Law School is the multitude of choices that any graduate has. Whether one wants to be a judicial clerk, a law school professor, or work at one of the top 100 law firms anywhere the nation, Harvard Law School opens up all doors. While Harvard Law School has more than its fair share of “gunners” going for top grades, the fact that great opportunities are available to anyone who graduates in the top half of their class greatly lessens competition.

Harvard Law School has the greatest collection of legal talent and stars that compose the faculty. While there are too many great names to mention, a few of the most prominent include Alan Dershowitz, Laurence Tribe, and Charles Fried. While many students will have a hard time taking classes from these well-known professors, who generally spend their time researching and publishing, their being there helps build the mystique of Harvard Law School.

Harvard Law School’s large size, with nearly 1500 students, allows for an impressive and diverse array of activities. While some smaller law schools have a single law review, Harvard Law School has 14 and this number is only growing. Harvard Law School has such a large and impressive faculty that there are few specialties that Harvard Law School is not mentioned as one of the top law schools in each field. A strong clinical program and innumerable offerings ensure that for every student there are several engaging activities. The recently renovated law library is also the largest in the nation, housing over two million legal texts.

Harvard’s location in Cambridge, a vibrant and exciting college town, only adds to the pleasures of attending law school at Harvard. HLS students who eventually tire of Cambridge’s many bars and restaurants can visit nearby downtown Boston.

The peers you will meet at Harvard Law School will be unequaled in their brilliance, and for some, competitiveness. However, most Harvard alumni value the great friendships they formed and active intellectual debates that were had while at Harvard Law School (“HLS”).

While most HLS alumni enjoyed their time at Harvard and were particularly happy with their career prospects upon graduating, several shared their concerns with HLS. While the large size of HLS allows for many academic and social options, it also led many students to complain about the very large class sizes, the all too high student/faculty ratio and the professor’s focus upon research and not engaging students. Some students complained that “gunners” would dominate classroom discussion and continually compete with others, but generally HLS students felt that they were a minority and that most students led balanced and non-competitive lives.

Additionally, the high tuition of Harvard Law School coupled with the high cost of living in Cambridge led many students towards corporate jobs versus public interest careers.

All HLS alumni, of which there are now nearly 40,000, would universally agree that Harvard Law School has an amazing reputation, however, some would argue that it is not necessarily a great three years for everyone. Because of the great academic and career opportunities that HLS offers, any accepted there must clearly consider attending but should visit Harvard Law School first. Yale Law School and Stanford Law School, the other twin titans of the legal world, also offer an amazing education in a less competitive environment, so they too should also be visited and considered.

Law school rankings generally rank Harvard Law School second, below Yale and just above Stanford. The acceptance rate is typically around 11%, with LSAT scores generally ranging from a 169-175, and GPAs typically between a 3.80-3.95. Tuition is approaching $35,000.

Harvard Law School is ranked amongst the top 5 law schools in the fields of tax law, international law and dispute resolution.

Harvard Law School is ranked amongst the top 20 law schools in the fields of intellectual property law, clinical training, and trial advocacy.

Read about detailed law school profiles at http://www.top-law-schools.com/profiles.html

See all of the 2007 law school rankings at --LinkRemoved--

Read about law school personal statements at http://www.top-law-schools.com/statement.html

Read an interview with the Dean of Admissions at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall at http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... .php?t=950

Or view the home page at http://www.top-law-schools.com
Last edited by Ken on Tue Aug 29, 2006 1:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Ken
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Harvard Law School - in-depth profile

Postby Ken » Tue May 30, 2006 1:01 am

An in-depth profile with photos of Harvard Law School can be viewed by clicking on the link below:

http://www.top-law-schools.com/harvard-law-school.html

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Ken
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Harvard Law School Professor Changes

Postby Ken » Sun Sep 24, 2006 1:37 am

Over the last few years, Harvard Law School has lost several distinguished scholars, but has added 14 new professors with excellent reputations, more than replacing the losses.

Gone (10): Samuel Bagenstos, Christopher F. Edley, Jr. (Berkeley, to become Dean), Heather Gerken (Yale), Christine Jolls (Yale), Diane Ring, Margo Schlanger, Henry J. Steiner (retired), Detlev F. Vagts (retired), W. Kip Viscusi (Vanderbilt), Jonathan L. Zittrain.

New (14): Rachel Brewster, Jody Freeman (UCLA), Jack L. Goldsmith III (Virginia), Adriaan Lanni, Daryl Levinson (NYU), Bruce Mann (Penn), John Manning (Columbia), Gerald Neuman (Columbia), Jed Shugerman, Matthew Stephenson, Jeannie Suk, George Triantis (Virginia), Mark Tushnet (Georgetown), Adrian Vermeule (Chicago).

In-depth and exclusive law school profiles & photos of the nation's top law schools are at: http://www.top-law-schools.com/profiles.html

See all of the 2007 law school rankings at --LinkRemoved--

Read about law school personal statements at http://www.top-law-schools.com/statement.html

Read an interview with the Dean of Admissions at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall at http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... .php?t=950

Or view the home page at http://www.top-law-schools.com

BlackNumberLaw
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Inaccuracy

Postby BlackNumberLaw » Sat Oct 21, 2006 11:34 pm

Harvard Law School has the greatest collection of legal talent and stars that compose the faculty. While there are too many great names to mention, a few of the most prominent include Alan Dershowitz, Laurence Tribe, and Charles Fried. While many students will have a hard time taking classes from these well-known professors, who generally spend their time researching and publishing, their being there helps build the mystique of Harvard Law School.


I don't know what your source is, but I do not think it is true that the top profs you mention are that unreachable.

I am in my third semester, less than halfway done, and I have already taken Alan Dershowitz and Laurence Tribe. (The only reason I have not yet taken Fried is he teaches the same course as Tribe!) While it is true that 1Ls are assigned randomly to first-year courses, still a full seventh of them will have Dersh for first year crim, and the rest have the opportunity to take his upper-level courses. While is is quite famous, he is also very dedicated to his students and very accessible; he would meet us once a week before class just to chat over coffee and breakfast he supplied.

And while students are chosen for Tribe and Fried's Con Law classes by lottery, if it is your priority, and you rank them highly in your bids, you have a decent chance of landing a spot. Likewise, Tribe thus far seems to be very accessible. (although he gives us apples, not breakfast)

Before arriving at HLS, I assumed the same thing about profs, but I'm afraid that the one flaw you might assume that it would have, indeed is missing.

Likewise, the competitiveness is not high, for the reasons you mentioned earlier. (Indeed you understate even that, as students in the bottom of the class will also easily get good jobs) The students are hardworking, but each seems to compete only against their own standards they have set for themselves. Even though classes are graded on a curve, there is never any hesitation when asking fellow students for class notes, and the atmosphere is collegial.

It is a bitch to hear when you know how competitive it is, but it really is all that great.

indychamps
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Postby indychamps » Sun Dec 10, 2006 11:31 am

Thanks for the response Black Number Law. I just got into Harvard and wanted to try and decide if I would even consider Yale now so that I could get some peace of mind.

I love Boston, and realized that I didn't let the "difficult atmosphere" sway me in picking boarding schools, where it ended up being overhyped, so how could I let it sway me with regard to law school.

Its always nice to hear it from someone there. Thanks again.

at1234
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Postby at1234 » Mon Jan 01, 2007 4:44 pm

I would be careful in believing that Harvard is great for IP. Check out:

http://www.law.harvard.edu/academics/courses/myhls.php

You will see that Harvard offers a paltry number of IP courses, and there are many schools with greater breadth and depth of course offerings related to IP.

Don't buy into the hype that Harvard is a great school for absolutely everything and anything related to law.

It is not.

at1234

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Ken
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Harvard Law School - not an IP powerhouse

Postby Ken » Thu Jan 04, 2007 1:39 am

While Harvard Law School is strong in many areas, IP law is not one of them. Harvard Law School was a late comer to IP law and their recruiting efforts from other law schools such as Stanford and Berkeley/Boalt have not been successful.

You never see Harvard Law School listed as one of the top ten law schools in intellectual property law. Thus, if your focus is IP law, you may want to consider Stanford over Harvard.

For those interested, the following are the best law schools in intellectual property law:

1. Berkeley/Boalt
2. Stanford
3. George Washington
4. Santa Clara
5. University of Houston
6. Cardozo/Yeshiva
7. Duke
8. Franklin Pierce
9. Chicago Kent
10. Columbia

Others that are in the top 15 include:

NYU
Boston U.
Depaul
John Marshall Law School (IL)
U. of Texas
George Mason

The rankings above for IP are exactly that, just IP rankings. Obviously, Harvard will always be Harvard and anyone graduating from Harvard with any interest in IP will be able to get an excellent job.
Last edited by Ken on Wed Jan 31, 2007 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

3L who knows his s$$t
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Postby 3L who knows his s$$t » Thu Jan 11, 2007 1:23 pm

this is the perfect example of why specialty rankings mean ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. a harvard law grad with an IP background will have NO PROBLEM getting hired by the top firms (general w/ IP or boutique). if you think the hot patent boutique will take a santa clara or george washington grad over a harvard grad (other qualifications being equal), you're positively deluded (the ONLY exception is if a firm is dominated by one school's alums).

look, you don't learn how to practice law in law school. the classes you take mean almost nothing in terms of actually working as a lawyer (clinical coursework/externships aside). once you start the job is when you begin to learn what you need to know as a lawyer. firms know this, and hire the smartest people they can find.

the only reason to consider a school ranked high in a speciality (over a school like harvard) is if they have the best faculty around in your sub-sub-sub speciality (not just "patent" but "patents on phospholuminescent legumes derived from those found naturally in the madagascar rainforest"), and you cannot pass up the opportunity to co-author a paper with that professor.

3L who knows his s$$t
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Postby 3L who knows his s$$t » Thu Jan 11, 2007 6:17 pm

that's a good point. of course, if you're in the top half at nyu, you really have the same employment prospects as someone in the top half at harvard - that is, you can get pretty much any big firm job if you have a decent personality.

one thing to remember too is that most big firms have summer associate programs with rotations between departments. they don't say "we need 10 tax people, 14 capital markets folks, and 76 litigators." they just find 100 people and let the groups and interests settle out during the summer (some don't even make group assignments until right before you come back full time, since the firm won't necessarily know its needs a year in advance). if they still have needs after that, they interview 3Ls...

but your point stands up well for boutiques and industry hires like goldman. in those cases, the tax wonk from NYU may have a leg up.

Fingersxed
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Postby Fingersxed » Thu Jan 11, 2007 7:25 pm

sad
Last edited by Fingersxed on Wed May 02, 2007 3:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

3L who knows his s$$t
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Postby 3L who knows his s$$t » Thu Jan 11, 2007 9:33 pm

it depends, i think, on just how prestige-whorish you are. if all you care about is a firm that's a good fit, and pays market, then i'd say the prospects are basically identical. it becomes more about personality at that point.

but, i would NOT say that UM, UVA and Penn will be the same as Columbia or NYU for the top, top firms. firms like wachtell and cravath will definitely go deeper in the classes at the top 6 schools (HYS CCN) than the next set (MVP etc.).

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letylyf
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Postby letylyf » Thu Jan 11, 2007 10:30 pm

So you would put NYU up with Chicago and Columbia? I generally see it with the rest of the "next tier" - although at this stage, making differences between awesome schools like that almost becomes meaningless.

I guess I applied to NYU only because of their ranking in international law, which - per this discussion - is a bit silly. I wouldn't have better prospects there than coming from HYS...

typical1L
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Postby typical1L » Fri Jan 26, 2007 1:23 am

To me, NYU is somewhat over-ranked. Columbia and Chicago certainly should be placed with the very top schools (although not identically with Harvard and Yale). NYU is unusual in that the law program is better-regarded than its undergrad; the rest of the t14 (maybe not including Northwestern and Georgetown) have highly ranked UG programs as well.

hoyablue

Postby hoyablue » Wed Feb 21, 2007 1:12 am

the rest of the t14 (maybe not including Northwestern and Georgetown) have highly ranked UG programs as well.


Um actually both of these are in the top 25 for national universities according to US News - above UVA, UMich. Those two schools are ranked MUCH lower for UG than Law (16 or so slots). NU is actually 14th for UG.

GU and NU's programs for law are ranked numerically higher than their UGs, but it's worth remembering that there's more competition amongst UG schools in terms of numbers (i.e. no need to worry about CalTech opening up a JD program anytime soon). Thus, a #14 in UG seems actually more impressive to me for NU than its #12 law school ranking.

jalong
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Postby jalong » Tue Mar 20, 2007 10:58 pm

The founders of Watchell went to NYU. They might disagree that it's overrated. I would too.

typical1L
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Postby typical1L » Tue Mar 20, 2007 11:21 pm

I was admitted to NYU days after posting that. I am Jack's chagrin.

At the same time, I feel like the USN rank above Chicago is sort of dubious. NYU seems closer to Penn to me.

BlackNumberLaw
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Postby BlackNumberLaw » Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:02 pm

After having a bit more experience in the area (summer job w/ really good IP firm, IP assignments, and trying to find IP courses for 3L year at HLS) I would agree with what 3L said.

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caribelita
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Postby caribelita » Tue Aug 07, 2007 9:15 pm

Ok, so for those of you going to HLS this fall, I thought I'd bump this thread so we could talk about whatever H-related stuff there may be. Lilipogo, stjobs, and anyone else out there...are you all nervous yet? :)

typical1L
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Postby typical1L » Tue Aug 07, 2007 9:33 pm

Just a little. I tend to follow the HLS 2010 thread on LSD since it seems to be much more active...

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matt_l
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Postby matt_l » Fri Aug 24, 2007 11:01 pm

//
Last edited by matt_l on Thu Nov 05, 2009 7:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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M20009
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Postby M20009 » Fri Aug 24, 2007 11:23 pm

HLS or Cambridge? Did classes start yet? ;)

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matt_l
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Postby matt_l » Sat Aug 25, 2007 2:48 pm

cambridge mostly... but didn't you hear? classes started early this year. :P

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M20009
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Postby M20009 » Sat Aug 25, 2007 3:01 pm

I doubt you're loving this heat wave. (thanks the god of window units)

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monty44
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Postby monty44 » Sun Aug 26, 2007 12:54 pm

And thank the god of corner markets. I would have hated to hoof it to Market Basket and back in 95 degree heat.

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deucethejuice
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Postby deucethejuice » Sat Nov 17, 2007 12:28 am

I'm going to go out on a limb here, but I'd say that graduating from Harvard at the bottom of your class is still probably better from a status and possible job opportunity standpoint than graduating at the top of your class from a lower ranked, less known school.




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