TL;DR (a.k.a. Executive Summary)
- Attend the Student Activities Fair on September 17th to learn more about different student groups at HLS;
- Take a look at this website to learn more about the journals that HLS offers and this website to learn about student organizations at HLS. Also take a look at this website to learn about Student Practice Organizations and feel free to attend this event on September 15 at 6 PM to hear from a panel of SPOs across HLS;
Advice / Word of Caution
- Pretty much everyone who comes to HLS has gotten used to getting involved in as many opportunities as possible which means that FOMO feelings have affected all of us at one point or another. However, your first semester is time consuming so please focus on your classes and getting adjusted to law school (personally, I’m still not used to profs calling 40 pages per week reading for a single class “light”).
- Attend the Activities Fair and, if you’d like sign up for mailing lists. But, please don’t feel that you’ll miss the boat if you don’t get involved right away in the Fall Semester. Ultimately, if you decide to become more actively involved, take a position (e.g. student advisor in a SPO or a subciter in a journal) and then decide if you’d like to get more involved in the same group or with other groups over the Spring Semester.
- What is It? Law is one of the few fields in which most of the major scholarly journals are managed by students. So, students that join a journal run every aspect of it from gathering submissions and selecting them to editing and publishing selected articles.
- What Rules Do Students Play? Every journal has three sides:
- The first side is the “submission side” which entails taking gathering submissions from authors, reviewing them, and selecting a few for publication in each volume of the journal. Different roles includes submission committee members (who read and provide feedback on whether to select an article) to Submission Editors (who are accountable for gathering feedback from submission committee members, using them to select articles that match the journal’s vision, and interacting directly with authors);
- The second side is the “print side” which entails taking articles that have been selected for publication through multiple rounds of substantive, grammatical, and structural editing to get them ready for publication. Different roles include subciters (who check portions of cited references to verify that they state what the author argues they state) to Article Editors (who are accountable for preparing one article for publication by leading a team of fellow law students and interacting directly with authors). Usually, students are required to complete at least one subsite to get involved with the journal
- The third side is the “administration side” which entails recruiting students, organizing academic symposiums, managing finances, and making sure that each volume of the journal gets published on time and with a high quality. Typical roles include symposium committee members (who work on organizing an academic symposium with academic and professional practitioners on a topic related to a journal’s area of specialty) to Managing Editors (who take care of finances) and Editors-in-Chief (who are in charge of the whole journal).
- What are the Benefits of Joining? First, you get to know a community of fellow students that are interested in the same topics as you. Additionally, joining a journal is a great way of improving your legal writing and editing skills as well as interacting with authors and practitioners that are the top of their fields.
- How Do Students Get Involved? Students typically start as subciters for a semester or two as 1Ls. Then, if they liked the experience, they’ll take on more responsibility by taking on more senior roles on the Submission, Print, or Administration sides of the journal as a 2L. Over the 3L, students can run for one of the leadership positions (e.g. Editor-In-Chief) or stay involved with a journal in any other capacity.
- How Can I Learn More About Student Journals at HLS? Start by taking a look at this website to see the journals that HLS offers as well as the link to each of their own website.
Student Practice Organizations
- What is It? Student practice organizations are student groups that provide legal support to members of the community under the supervision of legal practitioners. They serve the community by supporting vulnerable populations (e.g. the Tenant Advocacy Project) or providing high quality legal advice to those who cannot obtain them otherwise (e.g. supporting up and coming artist in protecting their rights via the Recording Artists Project or helping Not-for-Profits with their transactional law questions via the Law & Entrepreneurship Project).
- What Rules Do Students Play? In essence, students run small legal practices so they’re in-charge of soliciting clients, providing legal advice, and advocacy on issues that matter to their clients under the supervision of practicing lawyers.
- What are the Benefits of Joining? You work with a community of likeminded individuals on improving your community by helping those who need legal help yet can’t afford it. Additionally, this is a great opportunity to learn more about different practices of law in a safe environment while working under practicing lawyers.
- How Do Students Get Involved? Students typically start in junior roles, which vary by the SPO for a semester or two. Then, they become eligible for taking on more responsibilities in more senior roles and, from there, they can focus on directly interacting with clients, running and managing the organization, or advocating on causes that matter to the organization.
- How Can I Learn More About SPOs at HLS? Start by taking a look at this website to learn about SPOs. Also, feel free to attend this event on September 15 at 6 PM to hear from a panel of SPOs across HLS.
- What is It? These are, basically, student clubs. They include affinity groups (e.g. Women’s Law Association, La Alianza), interest groups (e.g. National Security Law Association, Association for Law and Business), and politically-oriented organizations (American Constitution Society, Federalist Society).
- What Rules Do Students Play? Similar to any student club, students basically can either attend as members or join the club’s board and arrange events and run the organization
- What are the Benefits of Joining? You work with a community of likeminded individuals on improving your community by helping those who need legal help yet can’t afford it. Additionally, this is a great opportunity to learn more about different practices of law in a safe environment while working under practicing lawyers
- How Do Students Get Involved? Attend the Student Activities Fair to learn more about how to get involved with each group or contact leaders in any org via the directory here if you have any questions. Everyone is pretty friendly and excited to talk to potential members so don’t feel that you’re bothering anyone 🙂
- How Can I Learn More About Student Organizations at HLS? Start by taking a look at this website to learn about student organizations.
Research Assistant and Teaching Fellows
- What is It? You’ll be working with faculty on supporting their research and classes
- What Rules Do Students Play? You’ll be working under the supervision of the faculty on specific tasks such as writing or editing parts of their publications or reviewing student answers to sample exams
- What are the Benefits of Being a RA/TF? First, you get to work on the cutting edge of a field of law that you’re interested in. Second, faculty members at HLS are globally known and leaders in their fields so they can write letters of reference for you, support you in getting published yourself, and put you in touch with their network
- How Do Students Get Involved? Check the postings on HLS AdUp for roles. Also, feel free to go to office hours or email faculty members directly to see if they have open roles/opportunities.