Established in 1817, Harvard Law School is among the oldest law schools in the country with its origins dating back to Isaac Royall, Jr. who in his Last Will and Testament gave land to Harvard University to establish the school’s first professorship in law. Royall’s heirs subsequently inherited and sold the remainder of his estate, and used the proceeds to establish Harvard Law School.
Located in an urban area of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard Law School typically ranks among the top three law schools in the country according to U.S. News and World Report’s annual ranking. In the 1870s, Harvard Law School’s then dean, Christopher Columbus Langdell, introduced the Socratic Method to the law school and founded what is now the typical first-year law school curriculum. Today, Harvard Law School has a broad curriculum consisting of over 400 courses with a wide variety of offerings, including, but not limited to clinical placements, research programs, independent writing projects, and opportunities to study abroad. In addition, the Cambridge area is ripe with opportunities for students to explore the law outside the classroom as it offers law students access to federal, state and local courts and agencies, correctional facilities, private law firms and legal aid organizations.