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How to Get Into Harvard Law - Acceptance Rate & Statistics

February 15, 2024
8 min read
Contents

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Reviewed by:

David Merson

Former Head of Pre-Law Office, Northeastern University, & Admissions Officer, Brown University

Reviewed: 11/6/23

Harvard Law School is one of the nation’s top schools for future lawyers. If you’re wondering how to get into Harvard Law School, read on for tips, tricks, and more. 

Harvard Law School

Harvard Law is the fifth-best law school in the country, according to U.S. News World and Report. If this Ivy League school is one of your frontrunners, our guide will explore programs offered, Harvard Law requirements, essays, stats, and more.

Harvard Law School Acceptance Rate: 9.5%

In a recent admissions cycle, Harvard Law accepted 9.5% of its applicants. It received 8,393 applications and offered admission to 798 students. 

Let’s take a look at Harvard’s low acceptance rates over the years to gain a better understanding of just how competitive it is!

Year Number of Applicants Number of Accepted Students Acceptance Rate
2023 8,393 798 9.5%
2022 8,170 822 10.1%
2021 9,933 685 6.9%
2020 7,448 968 13%

How Hard Is It to Get Into Harvard Law? 

Harvard Law School is highly selective; only 1 out of every 10 students is offered admission. The average law school acceptance rate is around 41%. 

Take our interactive quiz below to find out how likely you are to get into Harvard Law School.

Programs Offered & Ranking

Harvard has three main pathways for law students: the traditional J.D., LL.M., and S.J.D. programs. 

Programs Offered Length of Program Key Information
Juris Doctor (JD) 3 years A traditional JD program that emphasizes interdisciplinary study and collaboration
Master of Laws (LLM) 1 year Allows students to specialize in their preferred area of law
Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) 3 to 5 years Harvard’s most advanced law degree involving independent study, research, and writing
Joint Degrees Around 4 years JD/MBA, JD/MPP, JD/MPH, JD/MUP, or JD/PhD

Ranking

Harvard Law is the fifth-best law school in the nation. It’s best known for its corporate law, constitutional law, and dispute resolution programs, which rank number one in the nation!

Female student wearing Harvard hoodie

Harvard Law School Admissions Statistics

Learning more about Harvard’s successful applicants can help you position yourself as a more competitive candidate:

Average GPA: 3.93

In the 2023 application cycle, the average GPA of accepted students was 3.93. The range of accepted GPAs went as low as 3.84 and as high as 3.99!

Average LSAT Score: 174

The class of 2027 had an average LSAT score of 174. Only 25% of admitted students had an LSAT score as low as 171, which is still in the 95th percentile!

Average GRE Score

Past admitted students had an average GRE Quantitative score of 165, an average GRE Verbal score of 165, and an average GRE Writing score of 5.5. Harvard is one of the many law schools that accepts the GRE in lieu of the LSAT. 

Harvard Law School Requirements

All Harvard Law School requirements must be met for your application to be considered complete. All Harvard applicants must submit applications through the LSAC portal. These are the Harvard Law requirements you must satisfy: 

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited university
  • Transcripts from every post-secondary institution attended
  • A 2-page personal statement
  • A 1-2 page resume
  • LSAT or GRE scores
  • LSAC CAS report
  • At least 2 letters of recommendation (at least one should come from an academic source)
  • An optional diversity statement
  • An interview, if you’re offered one
  • Application fee of $85 or a fee waiver

If you want extensive Harvard Law School admissions help to secure these application materials and ensure they stand out, Juris has got you covered!

Letters of Recommendation

Students are asked to submit at least two and up to three letters of recommendation as part of their applications. At least one should come from a professor or TA, but the more recommendations you have from academic sources, the better.

Personal Statement

The Harvard Law School personal statement is your opportunity to add insight into your character and show the admissions committee why you’re the perfect candidate. Although there isn’t really a prompt for your personal statement, Harvard Law provides the following directive: 

“The personal statement is intended as an opportunity to give the Admissions Committee a better sense of who you are as a person and as a potential student and graduate of Harvard Law School.” 

The prompt is intentionally broad. Harvard Law states that past applicants have used this element to: 

  • Provide context on how their experiences and traits will make them “valuable contributors to the Harvard and legal communities
  • Dive deeper into their interests or intellectual background 
  • Clarify or expand on information presented elsewhere in their application 

Harvard Law Personal Statement Example

Harvard Law graduate Cameron Clark submitted this Harvard Law School personal statement example. We've provided an excerpt of his original statement and commentary on what made it great and what could have been done differently. 

“At the intersection of 21st and Speedway, I lay on the open road. My leg grazed the shoulder of a young woman lying on the ground next to me. Next to her, a man on his stomach slowed his breathing to appear as still as possible. A wide circle of onlookers formed around the dozens of us on the street. We were silent and motionless, but the black-and-white signs affirmed our existence through their decree: BLACK LIVES MATTER. 
On a rainy day, this past December, my fellow protestors and I momentarily transformed a bustling intersection on the University of Texas Austin campus into a space of disruption. As I participated in a die-in, I thought of my initial reluctance to join the protest, fearing retaliation from the agitators who I was certain would arrive… But soon, my mind turned to my role in a movement much bigger than any individual. I thought of my family, my friends, black people, all people of color, and white people. I thought about those who have fallen to the ground, never to stand up again. 
“We shall overcome. We, the citizens of the United States. Ours, in the end, is a story of optimism. A story of achievement that is unique upon this earth.” 
President Obama involved the iconic protest song movement in his keynote speech at the 2014 Civil Rights Summit. Attending the Summit…was a highlight of my undergraduate career. Leaders and former presidents spoke about the triumphs of the last half-century, but I was especially eager to hear President Obama’s reflections on the importance of the Civil Rights legislation and litigation throughout our country’s history…
“We Shall Overcome” has been sung to me throughout my life by my mother, my pastor, politicians, educators, and friends. For so long, these words kept me docile, waiting patiently for that “someday” prophesied in the song. My ancestors, buckled into the cargo holds of their slave ships, imagined that “someday” for their children. Emancipated slaves, freed from their chains but not from the bondage of poverty and illiteracy, prayed for the gifts of that “someday” to bless their offspring. Dr. King, Mrs. Parks, Mr. X, and countless others worked to realize that call, dreaming that the foretold “someday” was in reach. But there was more work to do. 
I no longer consider "We Shall Overcome" to be a lullaby. The hymn now serves as a battle cry. I will no longer wait idly for "someday." I am ready to use the blessings I have been afforded to secure rights and liberties for marginalized groups. Attorneys and legal scholars have paved the way for some of the greatest civil rights victories for women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and (people living with disabilities). At Harvard Law School, I will prepare to join their ranks by studying with the nation's leading legal scholars. For the past months, I have followed Harvard Law School’s student response to the events in Ferguson and New York City. I am eager to join a law school community that shares my passion for using the law to achieve real progress for victims of discrimination…I believe Harvard Law School will thoroughly train me to support and empower communities in need. 
Our act of civil disobedience that December day ended when the Tower’s bells rang out in two bars, hearkening half-past noon. As we stood up and gathered our belongings, we broke our silence to remind everyone of a most basic truth: Black lives matter.” 

Why This Personal Statement Worked

The opening scene of this personal statement is detailed, impactful, and compels the reader to continue and discover what's happening. Although Clark's essay includes very little about his achievements, the writing shows his sincerity, passion, and capacity to impact positive change in the world. 

Clark expertly relates his mission to Harvard Law and describes who he hopes to become after completing his law education. The ending of his personal statement brings the narrative full circle by returning to the events of the first paragraph; this is an excellent way to wrap up your writing and ensure the reader is left satisfied. 

Harvard Law Diversity Statement 

Harvard Law’s optional statement is just that: optional. If you choose to write one, you must follow this prompt

“The Admissions Committee makes every effort to understand your achievements in the context of your background and to build a diverse student body. If applicable, you may choose to submit an optional additional statement to elaborate on how you could contribute to the Harvard Law School community.”

Interview Format

All Harvard Law interviews are conducted over Zoom and last around 15 minutes. You will be assigned an interviewer at random, but it will be a member of the JD admissions team. 

Male admissions officer interviewing female student

Questions Examples

Some of Harvard’s admissions members’ favorite interview questions are:

  • Why Harvard Law School?
  • Why did you pursue “x” experience?
  • Can you give an example of a time you navigated a difficult conversation in an academic or professional setting?
  • Tell me about your senior thesis/a research project/paper that makes you proud.
  • What are some things you value in a community as you think about making a home for yourself over the next three years?
  • What are you afraid of? What are you motivated by?

Harvard Law School Tuition and Scholarships

Annual tuition to attend Harvard Law School is $75,008. However, with the addition of other expenses law students have, the total cost of attendance is estimated to be $111,000.

Here’s a breakdown of these costs:

Expense Cost
Tuition $75,008
Student Health Insurance Plan Fee $4,120
Housing $17,100
Food $5,850
Personal Expenses $5,547
Books, Course Materials, Supplies and Equipment $1,650
Travel Allowance $1,725
Total $111,000

Scholarships

Harvard mainly offers financial aid in the form of grants and loans to help students manage these high costs. 

Harvard Law School Application Deadlines

Harvard Law School’s applications for the 2023-2024 cycle open September 15th, 2023, and close February 15th, 2024. The first round of acceptance begin January 8th, 2024 and continue until March 18th, 2024. 

These are key deadlines you should be aware of:

Dates & Deadlines Application Stage
September 15, 2023 Applications open
November, 2023 Interviews begin
January 8, 2024 First round of acceptances
February 12, 2024 Second round of acceptances
February 15, 2024 Applications close
March 18, 2024 Third and final round of acceptances
May 1, 2024 Deadline to respond to your offer of admission

Harvard Law School Bar Passage Rate: 99.4%

With a bar passage rate of 99.4%, Harvard Law prepares its students well for prosperous legal careers. This rate surpasses the national average by over 17%. 

Harvard University

How to Get Into Harvard Law School: 4 Tips To Improve Your Admission Chances

If you want to make your application shine, consider following these three tips to get into Harvard Law School:

Focus On Yourself In Your Personal Statement

The primary purpose of the personal statement is to capture who you are in a way that's easy for the admissions committee to follow. 

Nefyn Meissner, Associate Director at Harvard Law, warns against making others the focal point of your statement: “should you talk about your grandmother? Only if doing so helps make the case for us to admit you. Otherwise, we might end up wanting to admit your grandmother.”

She also reminds students that Harvard Law already assumes you want to attend if you’re applying; so there’s no need to mention that you want to attend Harvard Law. Make good use of this limited space to share what the committee doesn’t already know.

Take a Rigorous Courseload

Assistant Director Lucas Harty urges students to avoid taking a less rigorous curriculum to achieve a better GPA. He warns that the committee looks at more than just the numbers, since this average doesn’t tell the full story of the classes you’ve taken and how you might have challenged yourself. 

The committee “appreciates seeing candidates who have the gumption and intellectual curiosity to push themselves outside their comfort zone by taking upper-level or otherwise challenging classes. So think twice before trying to pad that GPA by loading up on too many introductory-level courses.”

Avoid Retaking Standardized Tests

Another committee member suggests students plan their standardized tests strategically to avoid retaking them. 

“When balancing the decision to retake a test, ensure you aren’t neglecting the other elements of your application, and carefully weigh whether a potential marginal score increase will really be worth the time and energy on test prep.”

Keep Your Resume Simple

While it can make for a great job resume, the admissions committee encourages students not to add photos of themselves to their law school resumes and to keep the color scheme black and white.

They also suggest you include all of your work experience throughout your undergrad–not just the fancy internships. But, you should leave out your high school accomplishments.

Finally, adding a “personal” or “interests” section can take your resume up a notch and help the committee get a sense of you as a person, beyond the titles, responsibilities, and accomplishments.

What Does Harvard Law Look For?

Generally, admitted candidates will demonstrate strong potential for success in law school through an exceptional undergraduate academic record, top test scores, and substantial accomplishments. However, no single factor determines admission. 

They also consider factors like work experience, leadership, and intangible qualities like energy, ambition, and resilience. Their goal is to form a diverse, excellent, and vibrant student body!

FAQs 

For any other questions about getting into this Massachusetts-based law school, check out these FAQs! 

1. What GPA Do I Need for Harvard Law?

While there is no minimum GPA required to apply to Harvard Law, you should aim to match the median GPA of 3.94 or higher for a more competitive application.  

2. How difficult Is it to Get Into Harvard Law?

Harvard Law is a T-14 law school, and admission is competitive. Approximately 1 in 10 applicants are accepted: you'll need a stellar application to stand out. 

3. How Can I Get Admission to Harvard University for Law?

To gain admission to Harvard, you should have impressive stats and a polished application. Harvard Law seeks students with strong intellectual capabilities and the skills and qualities needed to become great lawyers. Ensure you emphasize your qualities in your personal statement!

4. Does Harvard Law Look at All Four Years?

Since Harvard Law receives all your transcripts, you can assume that admissions committee members will evaluate your entire undergraduate performance. If you have gaps in your undergraduate education, you should include addenda in your application. 

5. What Do You Need to Get Into Harvard Law? 

You must complete an LSAC application, register for the CAS, submit test scores, transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and a resume. 

6. Should I Submit LSAT or GRE Scores to Harvard Law? 

If you've taken the LSAT, your scores from the test must be reported. If you haven't taken the LSAT, you can submit GRE scores or both. Harvard Law doesn't have a preference for either test. 

7. Does Harvard Law School Offer Early Decision?

No, Harvard Law does not offer an early decision program. Its regular decision applications open September 15th, 2023 and close February 15th, 2024.

Get Into Harvard Law With Juris 

Getting into Harvard Law School can be challenging; your application requires time and effort. However, you don’t have to craft your law school applications alone. 

Our expert team at Juris Education can help with any part of your application to ensure your law school apps are edited to perfection, in line with what admissions committees expect, and submitted on time. 

Although getting into Harvard is difficult, we strive to make your law school journey easier. Good luck! 

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