Harvard Law School welcomes its LL.M.s., S.J.D.s., and exchange students

A new academic year begins, one step at a time

On Wednesday, Harvard Law School officially welcomed the LL.M. Class of 2022. Representing 64 countries and jurisdictions, from Argentina to the U.S.A., the class includes 184 new students and 33 LL.M. candidates returning from the LL.M. class of 2020–2021 to complete their studies in person. Together, they will spend the upcoming academic year pursuing a Master of Laws degree on Harvard’s reopening campus.

After a couple of days to settle into housing and explore the campus, the students’ first official week of Orientation began with greetings and introductory remarks from Professor Gabriella Blum LL.M. ’01 S.J.D. ’03, vice dean for the Graduate Program and International Legal Studies, and other senior Graduate Program administrators. In keeping with the law school’s carefully phased reopening plans, many LL.M. Orientation sessions will take place over Zoom, although there will be opportunities to gather in person — outdoors, with everyone masked and socially distanced — over informal meals and ice cream as LL.M. Orientation continues.

“The Harvard LL.M. and S.J.D. programs are like none other,” Blum reminded the students. “They are academically rigorous, challenging, and fast paced. They support generations of leaders in government and public service, academia, the judiciary, the legal sectors, and business globally.”

“I remember what an incredible experience this was for me as a student here,” she added. “You’ll foster lifelong connections and meaningful relationships that you couldn’t have formed any other way. Be kind, be open, be curious, be challenging and questioning, be supportive, rise together. You will do great things this year, and you will do great things in the future.”

The law school’s one-year LL.M. program attracts students from a variety of legal systems, with diverse backgrounds and career goals. As is typical, 98% of this year’s students hold law degrees from law schools outside of the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Many of them already hold advanced degrees in law, and/or in an array of other fields. In addition to lawyers in private or corporate practice, prosecutors, judges, arbitrators, diplomats, NGO and business founders, human rights advocates, current and former U.S. military JAG officers, and others who have served in their countries’ armed forces, the class includes 15 Fulbright scholars, a Rhodes Scholar, 18 supreme court or constitutional court clerks, and eight full-time law teachers.

Outside of the law, they are artists, actors, poets, songwriters, novelists, filmmakers, dancers, and musicians; amateur and nationally and internationally competitive athletes; a beekeeping enthusiast; a journalist; and a latte artist, to name just some of their pursuits.

In addition, seven students are beginning their studies for the S.J.D. (Doctor of Juridical Science) degree, the law school’s most advanced degree. These new candidates — another Fulbright scholar, three law teachers, attorneys with experience practicing in the fields of restructuring and litigation and dispute resolution, and a researcher working with the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society — join 49 continuing S.J.D. students.  Together, they represent 28 countries or jurisdictions.

HLS is also welcoming seven international students from the law school’s exchange partner schools in Australia, Brazil, China, France, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. These exchange students will spend the fall semester or the academic year pursuing J.D.-level studies or doctoral-level research.

During LL.M. Orientation, which continues through September 3, the students will take part in course consultations with their advisors, information sessions, social events, a special one-credit course on U.S. legal research, writing and analysis — and even their first Harvard Law School lecture, a talk by Professor Michael Klarman looking behind the scenes of the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown vs. Board of Education.