Regular Library Hours*
Sunday: 9:00 a.m. to midnight
Monday-Thursday: 8:00 a.m. to midnight
Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
*Please consult the library's website here for holiday hours.
24/7 Library Access
During the academic year, and Bar Review, Harvard Law School students have 24 hours a day, seven days a week access to the second floor of the Library. The Computer Classroom, Fishman Room and Lemann Lounge are all available as study space. Library services are not available except during regular service hours.
For any other access related questions, please contact Access Services.
Bibliographer for East Asian Law
|Service||Contact (Click name to e-mail.)|
|Database, passwords||Reference Desk|
|Document Delivery||Heather Pierce|
|Interlibrary Loan||ILL Department|
|Purchase requests||Liaison or Bridget Reischer|
|Renewing library materials||Circulation Desk|
|Request book, article||FRIDA|
|Research help||Liaison or Reference Desk|
|Scan and Deliver||Anne-Marie Taylor|
|Website corrections||Tim McAllister|
Circulation and access services are provided at the circulation desk at the entrance of Langdell Hall. If you have questions about borrowing, renewing, or requesting library materials, staff can assist you at that circulation desk, or over the phone at 617-495-3455.
Borrowing privileges are limited to current members of the Harvard community with a Harvard ID or those with a Fletcher, Officer Dependent or Spouse Special Borrowers card. S.J.D. graduate students, and Ph.D. candidates have semester loans with due dates of September 10, January 10, and June 10.
All books are subject to recall after they have been borrowed for 14 days.
Periodicals, journals, primary source materials, and looseleafs do not circulate. Approximately 20% of the Library collection actually circulates.
To check out a book or other item from Harvard libraries go to the library in which the item is located. Consult individual library listings for borrowing and access policies.
Books that have not been requested by another library patron may be renewed directly through HOLLIS by using the "Your Account," function, found at the upper left of the top menu. Log in using your University (or Special Borrowers) ID and PIN number. "Your Account" gives you access to your library circulation records, and allows you to renew and request items on-line.
To set up viewing your account Harvard University faculty, students and staff may request a PIN at pin.harvard.edu.
Overdue books may be renewed, but the user will be billed for any applicable overdue fines.
Books recalled by other patrons cannot be renewed.
There is a five-time renewal limit for any materials loaned from any Harvard library. Once an item has been renewed more than five times, it cannot be renewed online. That item will have to be returned or renewed in person at the owning library. The rationale for this policy is that patrons who keep books longer than five loan periods often find it difficult to produce them after that period of time has elapsed. Physically producing borrowed books every five loan periods should help locate these items when they are actually needed, enabling the libraries to account for the collections at regular intervals and to fulfill their preservation and conservation stewardship role.
Overdue fines are 50¢ per day up to a maximum of $15 per overdue item. Overdue fines for Reserve materials are $1.00 per hour up to a maximum of $28 per overdue item. Fines go to Term Bill or Accounts Receivable offices with no additional fee. Patrons owing the Law School Library $200 or more will be blocked from checking out additional books until fines have been paid.
All books are subject to recall after they have been borrowed for 14 days. Whenever a recall request is placed, a notice will be mailed indicating the adjusted due date. Failure to return the book within 7 days will result in fines of $2 per day up to a maximum of $28.
A book is presumed lost if not renewed or returned within 30 days, and a $85 replacement fee will be charged for each item; out-of-print or more valuable items may be billed at a higher rate, based on the judgment of the appropriate bibliographer. If the book is returned after a replacement fee has been charged, the patron will still be responsible for the $15 overdue fine. In lieu of the $85 replacement fee, patrons may supply an acceptable duplicate copy to be used for replacement; however, a $30 fee will be charged for the processing of the replacement copy.
All books are subject to recall after they have been borrowed for 14 days. Patrons may recall/request materials that are checked out through HOLLIS. You must be logged in to "Your Account." using your University (or Special Borrowers) ID and PIN number. If you have questions or problems with requesting materials, staff can assist you at the Circulation Desk or over the phone at 617-495-3455. The due date on a recalled book is adjusted to 7 days after the recall has been placed, unless the item has not yet been out for the guaranteed 14 day loan.
Patrons may request materials that are at Harvard Depository directly through HOLLIS. You must be logged in to "Your Account." using your University (or Special Borrowers) ID and PIN number. If you have questions or problems with requesting materials, staff can assist you at the Circulation Desk or over the phone at 617-495-3455.
Use HOLLIS+ to find books and other materials available at the Harvard University libraries, including the Law School Library. HOLLIS Classic, the older interface to the catalogs of the Harvard University libraries, remains available for your use.
The Library is rearranging the Langdell and ILS stacks. Check this guide to find each country’s current location and general call number locations.
Find Books Beyond Harvard
Borrow Direct Search Borrow Direct enables current Harvard faculty, staff, and students to borrow materials directly from Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Yale. More information.
HathiTrust Digital Library The HathiTrust Digital Library is a shared repository of works digitized by its research library members. The catalog provides information about more than 5 million books and journals and is growing daily. More than 2.5 million volumes are in the public domain so may be viewed in full text.
Harvard Google Book Search Harvard Google Book Search allows you to search the full text of all books available in Google Book Search with the addition of a Find at Harvard University link displayed next to each item in your search result. If an online version a book has been licensed by Harvard, you will be taken directly to the full text.
Library of Congress CatalogThe Library of Congress serves as the research arm of the United States Congress. It is also the largest library in the world, with nearly 128 million items on approximately 530 miles of bookshelves.
WorldCat Use WorldCat to locate the books and other materials from over 12,000 libraries worldwide.
For more information about Finding Books, see Find a Book page.
Perma.cc is a free, easy-to-use tool that ensures your links don’t rot: it captures an archive of the page and gives you back a 'Perma Link' to be used in your citation.
Anyone can create a free Perma.cc account and create up to 10 Perma Links a month, and those at academic institutions such as HLS can be upgraded to an institutional account to create unlimited links. Contact Tim McAllister (firstname.lastname@example.org) to be setup with an institutional account, and check out the Perma.cc libguide here.
Many other electronic resources are available from other Harvard libraries on the Harvard E-Resources page. You can filter the databases by keyword, title or subject including regional and cultural studies databases. If you attempt to access some of these remotely, you may be prompted for your Harvard credentials.
Numerous options are available for keeping up with newly published literature, including those listed below. Please contact your librarian liaison or the Reference Desk for information about customizing journal alerts to meet your current awareness needs.
Current Index to Legal Periodicals (CILP)
Current Index to Legal Periodicals (CILP), updated weekly, offers tables of contents for newly published law periodicals, tracking over 500 major law reviews and journals. CILP is available 4-6 weeks earlier than other commercial legal periodical indexes. The latest issue of CILP is available every Friday.
CILP is available in html, pdf, and Word format. The html version allows a direct link to the cited articles in full text articles on Westlaw and Lexis. (You will be prompted for your Lexis or Westlaw password.)
SmartCILP provides a weekly email listing new citations from journals and on topics of interest to you. The citations are drawn from the CILP database. Please contact the Reference Desk, 617-495-4516, for information on subscribing to SmartCILP.
EconPapers provides access to RePEc (Research Papers in Economics), the world's largest collection of on-line economics working papers, journal articles, new titles and software.
Any search on Google Scholar allows you to create an email alert for any new articles matching that search. Perform your search, then look to the bottom of the filters on the left side of the page.
You can also follow certain authors if they have a Google Scholar Profile. Click on the name of an author underlined in a Google Scholar citation. You will be directed to that author's personal page. Click on the blue "Follow" button to track that author.
LegalTrac Search Alert
LegalTrac Search Alerts allow you to create email alerts and RSS feeds of searches run in LegalTrac. Email alerts can be sent daily, weekly or monthly. After running a search in LegalTrac, create an alert using the Create Search Alert link on the right.
IngentaConnect, a database of the tables of contents of more than 28,000 multi-disciplinary journals, allows you to create a profile in which you designate journals of interest to you and receive regular email alerts of the table of contents of new issues.
1) register as an individual
2) select My Profile
3) Create new publication alerts and follow the instructions.
Journal Alerts through Publisher/Vendor Platforms
Many journal publishers and vendor platforms provide alert services. Try the following strategy to discover whether an alert service is available for a journal of interest to you:
Sometimes, the links in the alerts will not work properly. There are two possible workarounds. You can try using the Harvard LibX toolbar. Once installed in your browser, right-click (PC) or CTRL-click (Mac) the link and select "Re-load via Harvard Access." Alternatively, you can try inserting .ezp-prod1.hul.harvard.edu just after the .com and before the first slash in the URL. For example,
Please contact the Reference Desk if both of these workarounds fail.
SSRN Social Science Research Network
SSRN is dedicated to rapid dissemination of social science research and provides an email alert service in several specialized areas, including law, management, accounting, economics and politics. Through Harvard's institutional subscription, you may create e-mail alerts to a range of subject matters and series in various networks on SSRN. When you register for an SSRN, make sure you affiliate yourself with Harvard's institutional subscription. Ask your librarian liaison or contact the reference desk if you need assistance.
Law Commons (BePress)
Law Commons is a network of law school repositories on the BePress Digital Commons platform. You may follow specific authors, institutions and subjects that interest you. Look for the blue "FOLLOW" buttons:
Within Westlaw, you can set up a search to be run regularly and have the results delivered to you. You can also create an alert from a search you have already done. Look for the bell icon.
Set up a KeyCite Alert to be informed when new materials are added to the KeyCite report for the authority you are citating. Westlaw offers documentation about its alerting services.
BNA publications give you access to cases, laws and regulations as well as news and analysis on a large number of topics. Highlights and headlines can be delivered to your email inbox daily.
You can do e-mail keyword alerts from many of the BNA publications through Lexis, Westlaw and Bloomberg.
A list of recent law library acquisitions is available here.
ExpressO is a service allows authors to electronically submit manuscripts to their choice of 750+ law reviews. For an overview read the "Getting Started with ExpressO" page. If you would like to set up an account, please contact June Casey, email@example.com. ExpressO also provides FAQ about the submission process.
CIAO Columbia International Affairs Online
CIAO publishes a wide range of scholarship from 1991 to the present, including working papers from university research institutes, occasional papers series from non-governmental organizations, foundation-funded research projects and proceedings from conferences.
Olin Center Fellows Discussion Paper Series
The John M. Olin Center for Law, Economics, and Business at Harvard Law School promotes faculty research in and furthers student understanding of law and economics.
Comparing Law Journal Impact Factor/Prestige, Harvard Law School Library.
Law Journals: Submissions and Rankings, Washington and Lee University School of Law Library, http://lawlib.wlu.edu/LJ/.
Law Journals, Washburn School of Law, http://www.washlaw.edu/lawjournal/ (list of journals with short description)
Google Scholar's Metrics listing Top 100 publications in different disciplines and languages.
Need a book chapter from Widener? An article from MCZ? Use Scan & Deliver to save a trip by requesting their material be scanned and emailed to you.
Scan & Deliver, a free electronic document delivery service of the Harvard University libraries, allows Harvard faculty, students and staff to request scanned copies of chapters and articles from materials held at the Harvard Depository and participating Harvard libraries. When viewing an item in Hollis or Hollis Classic, initiate a request by clicking the Scan & Deliver link located in the Holdings or Availability portion of its record. A one-time registration is required for first-time users.
Log in to your Scan & Deliver account to track filled and outstanding requests.
Please note the following:
Scan & Deliver is just one of the Harvard Library's Get It suite of services, providing Harvard researchers with a full range of options for locating and requesting materials. Please contact the Library Circulation Desk, 617-495-3455, for more information.
What is FRIDA?
How should I request materials?
What information should I include in my request?
When is FRIDA available?
What kinds of materials can I get through FRIDA?
How long will it take to fill my request?
Read and reread everything:
Discuss the why:
Get to know the funding organization:
Other thoughts on grant writing:
There are an overwhelming amount of resources for finding grants.
One of the best places to start is the Harvard
This GSAS site allows for easy searching of grants for graduate students, using a variety of parameters, such as geography and citizenship status.
Another recommended place to start is the Harvard FAS site for grant support:
Three of these include:
On this part of the FAS site, you can also browse funding agency by type, for example, government agency or private funder.
There are many specific databases for locating funding opportunities. Here are two in the area of Human Rights:
Empirical Research Overview
If your goal is to use statistics in your research, review information at HLS support for Empirical Research Services.
Empirical Research Classes
Harvard offers a variety of empirical courses.
For self-guided education, consider some of the resources here:
Empirical Research Software
Stata is available on some computers in the second floor computer lab, and on one computer in L408 (library fourth floor near Reference Desk).
Stata may also be licensed for a fee through the Stata site.
Empirical Legal Studies uses data analysis to study the legal system. Empirical Legal Studies is comprised of the body of scholarly research in this field, the methods employed to conduct this research, and the application of this research.
No matter your relationship to numbers and charts, many researchers will want to find and use data to illustrate and support points made.
Browse by category of data:
For the novice numbers person, here are easy-to-use resources for finding charts:
For the intermediate to advanced numbers person, there are a variety of data sources that provide replication datasets:
Conduct a literature review to help you identify data made or cited by others.
For ideas on what data may be useful, browse the HLS Library Reference collection of statistical materials in the range of H61 to HA4675.
More Data Resources
This section of the guide provides a brief overview of the process for researching an issue of U.S. law. It is intended to introduce you to important concepts and terms without going into too much detail.
The United States has a common law legal system. Applicable sources of law include both legislation (statutes) and judicial opinions (cases).
The United States Constitution provides the framework for the U.S. legal system. It also guarantees that certain powers, rights, and liberties, for both the states and the people, are protected.
Under the Constitution, there are three branches of the federal government, and each is endowed with unique powers:
In addition to the federal government, each individual U.S. state also has its own government that creates its own law. As is the case with the federal government, states create law through legislation enacted by the state legislature and judicial opinions issued by judges in state courts.
If a state law directly conflicts with a federal law, the state law is preempted by the federal law.
If you are doing comparative research in which the U.S. is one of the countries, it is important to understand that, in the U.S. common law legal system, certain areas of law are generally the exclusive domain of the federal government. These include, but are not limited to, bankruptcy, federal taxation, immigration, and intellectual property.
Likewise, some areas are, in general, a matter of state law. Examples of these include property law, corporate law, and family law. In the areas of law that are generally governed by the states, there are some common law principles that apply generally in every state. So, for example, if you would like to research divorce law in the U.S., you will need to look at both the common law principles and the laws of the individual states.
The United States has both federal courts and state courts. Each court system is organized in a three-tiered structure.
The court of first instance for almost all cases is the trial court.
Appeals from the trial-level courts are heard in the appropriate appellate court.
At the top of each system is the highest court.
In the U.S. legal system, law created by the judiciary has the same legal stature as statutory law. The idea of legal precedent is also very important. Under the principle of stare decisis, opinions from higher courts are binding on lower courts, and must be followed.
Judicial opinions are published in chronological order in case law reporters. These are available in print and electronically.
There are two types of case law reporters:
A citator is a tool that you can use to learn whether a judicial opinion is still good law. This is important because judicial opinions can be overruled by higher courts. The U.S. Supreme Court can also overrule its own previous decisions.
The two major citator services are part of larger subscription legal databases:
When you are looking at a case in either of these databases, there will be a symbol at the top of the screen that indicates its citator status. In both databases, a red symbol indicates that the case is no longer good on at least one point of law. This does not mean the whole case is no longer valid. Instead, the researcher will have to read subsequent opinions to determine the exact point(s) of law on which the earlier case has been overruled.
Legislative activity basically works the same way in federal and state governments. An identical version of a proposed version of a statute, called a bill, is passed in both legislative houses. Then, the bill is signed by the executive. At that point, the bill becomes law.
A simple graphic representation of the process for a bill becoming a law is available here.
There are two type of statutory publications:
Annotated codes, which are published by major legal publishing companies, are great for research. They include the statutory text and helpful resources, such as citations to relevant journal articles, legal encyclopedias, and judicial opinions.
It is best to start your legal research with secondary sources, because they can help you easily find and understand the law.
Types of secondary sources are listed below, in order of least depth to most depth.
Each type of secondary source, in addition to providing explanations and analysis, cites relevant judicial opinions and statutes.
The Harvard Law Library has a separate research guide that explains in much more detail how to use secondary sources for legal research. Check it out at http://guides.library.harvard.edu/secondary.
It is generally required that citations to legal sources in academic documents be in the format required by the Bluebook. The current Bluebook is the 20th edition (published in 2015).
You can borrow a copy of the Bluebook to use for up to two hours (in-library use only) from the law library's circulation desk. If you will be using it frequently, you may want to purchase your own copy. You can purchase a physical copy, access to the electronic version, or both. Note that the law school does not provide access to the online Bluebook for students.
From time to time, the law library provides Bluebook training classes for foreign law students. Slides and handouts from two recent classes (one on citing U.S. sources, one on citing foreign and international sources) are available at http://guides.library.harvard.edu/LLM-Bluebook.
For more information about legal citation, see the law library's Legal Citation Research Guide at http://guides.library.harvard.edu/legal-citation.
Once you have a topic, it is recommended that you conduct your legal research project in this order.
These resources will help you to find academic job postings, research potential employers and keep up-to-date on scholarship in your field. You may also want to look at the career portals for universities of interest to you, as jobs are often also posted on those sites.
Whether you are interested in working as in-house counsel or in working in a different type of corporate job, these databases will help you to research potential employers.
If you are interested in finding a job at a nonprofit, NGO or governmental agency, try these websites.
Those interested in working at a law firm will want to start their research with these resources. You may also want to consult the resources provided by the HLS Office of Career Services.