About the Bureau
The Harvard Legal Aid Bureau is a student-founded, student-run legal services organization where second and third year law students represent low-income clients in proceedings to fight unfair evictions, resolve domestic disputes, obtain public benefits, and claim unpaid wages.
Bureau members have also led the fight against the foreclosure crisis, breaking the mold of traditional legal advocacy to organize tenants living in foreclosed properties. Students have won jury verdicts of more than $55,000 and have worked outside of the courtroom to create lasting legislative change for low-income residents in Massachusetts.
Practicing as a student attorney with the Bureau is one of the most rewarding experiences Harvard Law School has to offer. Students gain knowledge of the law and client advocacy skills while participating in a collaborative community of student attorneys and experienced clinical instructors. They emerge as well-trained, capable attorneys with an enduring network of fellow Bureau members.
Each year the Bureau selects around 25 first-year Harvard Law School students to join the Bureau for the remainder of their studies. In addition, the Bureau selects Summer Fellows from various law schools to handle its cases during the summer recess.
For more information about the Bureau, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.
1Ls interested in applying to the Bureau must register in advance to receive an application, which is then sent out via email on the Application Release Date. Registering for an application does not obligate you to submit an application. This year, applications will be released on March 1, 2024 (students may still request an application after March 1). To register for an application, please follow this link. This link will be disseminated at all HLAB events (see schedule below).
Recruitment and Selection Timeline
APPLICATIONS RELEASED VIA EMAIL
FRI., MAR. 1, 2024
[NOTE APPLICANTS MAY REQUEST AN APPLICATION AFTER MAR. 1 AS WELL]
FRIDAY, MAR. 29, 2024, 11:59PM
All first-year Harvard Law School students who will be returning to the Law School next fall are eligible to apply for Bureau membership.
The application process consists of:
- Written Application
- Case Strategy Memo
- Interview Process
Applicants will be asked to provide responses based on material included in the application. The Case Strategy Memo involves responding to questions based on fact patterns that resemble real cases that Bureau members may handle. The application does not require any outside research or knowledge of a specific area of substantive law. The Case strategy Memo, written application, cover letter, and resume will be anonymized and evaluated by current Bureau members. Based on these materials, a group of finalists will be selected for interviews.
The Bureau is committed to maintaining a diverse membership for the benefit of the organization and our clients. To address the needs of our non-English speaking clients, we may give some weight to strong skills in languages other than English.
HLAB will be hosting several recruitment events for prospective applicants to learn more about the Bureau. Applicants will have the opportunity to speak with current Bureau members about their experiences and ask any questions they may have!
March 1, 2024, 12:20pm, 23 Everett St.: Open House: Meet the Bureau and Tour. Lunch will be provided.
March 19, 2024, 12:20pm, 23 Everett St.: Open House: Application Tip Session. Lunch will be provided.
March 26: OCP Clinic Fair
If you would like to connect with a current HLAB student, please email HLABVPMembership@gmail.com. A coffee chat interest form will also be sent to all those who request an application.
For Transfer Students
All transfer applicants are encouraged to apply to the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. In order to be considered for membership, each transfer applicant is required to submit a modified application and participate in a round of interviews.
Transfer students who wish to receive an application should write to HLABVPMembership@gmail.com. Last year the dates for application requests was between for before June 6, 2023, and the application was due on June 16th, 2023. Dates for the 2024 transfer student application process will be updated soon.
We will read apps and conduct Zoom interviews accordingly after that. Information about the organization itself can be found on our website.
If admitted to both the law school and the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, each transfer student will be required to attend orientation and training in Cambridge, MA in late August. Please email HLABVPMembership@gmail.com for more information.
For Summer Intern Applicants
During the summer, HLAB selects approximately 15-20 law students to serve as Summer Interns, who will interact directly with clients, opposing parties, witnesses, and government agencies; engage in extensive factual and legal investigation; hone their research and writing abilities; and develop their litigation skills. Most Summer Interns working at HLAB do so full-time, although we are willing to discuss alternative arrangements with students facing extenuating circumstances. Due to funding restrictions, HLAB is unable to pay its Summer Interns.
HLAB Summer Interns serve as the primary case handlers on every matter assigned to them and manage client contact, drafting of pleadings and motions, communication with opposing counsel, and advocating in courtroom and administrative hearing settings. Their work is supervised by HLAB’s Clinical Instructors, practicing attorneys with years of trial and supervision experience, and students will be trained in all the relevant areas of the law.
HLAB Summer Interns generally experience a broad range of litigation and legal experience in as many as four primary practice areas. In the Family Law practice, HLAB represents victims of domestic violence in restraining order hearings, divorces, paternity, visitation, child support, and custody disputes. In the Housing Law practice, HLAB represents individual clients who are being evicted from public, subsidized, and private housing, as well as works with tenant unions and other progressive organizations to ensure the availability of affordable housing in the Greater Boston area. In the Government Benefits practice, HLAB represents clients at hearings to obtain or retain their Social Security and Social Security Disability benefits, unemployment benefits, and welfare benefits. Finally, in the Wage and Hour practice, HLAB allows students to work on affirmative lawsuits addressing violations of state and federal labor laws. We ask student to choose a primary concentration in the area of housing or family law.
Application Instructions (accepted on a rolling basis until all positions are filled): Please send (1) a resume, (2) a cover letter, (3) a law school transcript, and (4) two references to:Director of Summer Counsel Recruitment
Harvard Legal Aid Bureau
23 Everett Street, First Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138