Bureau Membership

The Harvard Legal Aid Bureau is the best program at Harvard Law School in terms of providing legal services to low income individuals; offering litigation training and experience; and creating a community of talented, dedicated, and compassionate students and attorneys.” – Lam Ho, Harvard Legal Aid Bureau President 2006

The Harvard Legal Aid Bureau consists of approximately 50 second- and third-year Harvard Law School students and 16 Summer Fellows. A member’s duties consist of handling all aspects of cases from the initial interview through final disposition, staffing case intake, and participating in the Bureau’s administration.

Practicing at the Bureau requires involvement with clients with varied backgrounds and experiences. Thus, the Bureau places a high value on cultural awareness and diversity, and actively recruits applicants with diverse backgrounds. In addition, the Bureau places high value on recruiting bilingual students.

Membership Details

Bureau students practice as S.J.C. Rule 3:03 counsels under the supervision of a clinical instructor. Students attend weekly Practice Area Meetings (PAMs), where they present on intake and vote on cases to accept for Bureau representation.

  • During their 2L year, students enroll in Introduction to Advocacy: Civil Legal Aid Ethics, Theory, and Practice (2 units in the fall, 1 unit in the spring), a graded course that satisfies HLS’s Legal Profession requirement. 2Ls are required to enroll in Evidence during their fall semester and have the option to take Trial Advocacy Workshop during their J-term.
  • During their 3L year, students enroll in Advanced Clinical Practice (1 unit in the fall, 1 unit in the spring), a non-graded course. 
  • By completing 2 years in the Bureau, members fulfill their experiential education and pro-bono service requirements. Many members also fulfill part of their Option 2 writing requirement through HLAB.