Prospective and Newly Admitted HLS Students

Thank you for your interest in Lambda and Harvard Law School!

HLS Lambda is a social and political student organization dedicated to serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and allied community at Harvard Law School. Lambda is one of the most active and visible student groups on campus, organizing a variety of social, political, and academic events throughout the year.

Social Activities

The critical mass of LGBTQ students here at Harvard truly constitutes a community rather than just another group. Throughout the year, Lambda hosts dinners, brunches, and parties as a chance to socialize and have fun. This past October, we held our 20th annual OutLaw Dance, which is one of the largest parties in Cambridge, at the nearby Sheraton Commander. Over 700 students and LGBTQ community members from the greater Boston area attended last year’s event. We also organize an annual retreat to Provincetown, MA, to help build our community, along with occasional excursions into Boston. In addition, Lambda assists individual members in planning more informal get-togethers to watch movies, play board games, hold pot lucks, etc. Further, we organize events focusing on internal identity communities such as women and Lambda members of color, and coordinate frequently with other identity-oriented student
organizations at the law school and across other Harvard campuses. We are always looking for new ideas for social events, so let us know your thoughts!

Political Activities

Harvard’s prominence and resources have greatly facilitated our efforts in political
programming. For example, we have co-sponsored an event welcoming David Boies, one of the lead attorneys in the successful federal challenge to California’s Proposition 8, to speak to a packed room of students, and an event discussing the recent case Kosilek v. Spencer (D. Mass. 2012), holding that denying trans prisoners access to gender reassignment surgery could constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment.

Our annual Harvard Lambda Legal Advocacy (HaLLA) Conference, held on April 5, 2013 and titled “Hanging in the Balance: LGBT Rights and the First Amendment,” included panels on the legal issues that arise from the intersection of LGBT rights and religious liberty and on student speech and censorship in education, in addition to a keynote address from the lead sponsor of a landmark bill in California that banned the practice of sexual orientation “conversion therapy” on minors. The diverse range of speakers included attorneys from around the country. For more information, feel free to check out the Events tab above.

Academic Activities

We are fortunate to have a welcoming student body and faculty and a very supportive
administration. Over the past few years, the school has taken great steps forward in expanding academic opportunities regarding the intersection of law and sexuality. HLS now has an LGBT legal clinic, which affords students hands-on experience providing critical legal assistance to LGBTQ clients and persons with HIV/AIDS in matters of estate planning and family law.

This past fall, HLS offered “Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Law and Public Policy,”
taught by R. Bradley Sears, the Executive Director of The Charles R. Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA School of Law. Other recent courses have addressed transgender issues and new influences on family law.

HLS has a number of LGBTQ professors, many of whom teach 1L classes. This year, Professor Bill Rubenstein, one of these professors, hosted the Lambda community and LGBT faculty members at his lovely home for a delightful morning of brunching, socializing and words of advice. Professor I. Glenn Cohen hosts game nights for the Lambda community during HLS’s January Term, and Professor Bob Bordone hosted a dinner to welcome admitted students to Cambridge during Admitted Students Weekend.

This year, we’ll be launching a new initiative to help LGBTQ 1Ls navigate the academic opportunities at HLS. You can look forward to mentorship opportunities, an outline bank, scholarship info, and other tailored academic resources.

Applying to Harvard Law School

HLS Lambda is only one of over a hundred student organizations on campus. Given the
breadth of activities and opportunities available, we believe that Harvard Law School provides a uniquely rich, rewarding, and satisfying experience for its LGBTQ students.

We invite you to e-mail us with any questions about the application process, academics and student life at the law school, as well as any other concerns you may have. You can find more information about Lambda on the rest of our website here. You may also wish to contact the Admissions Office directly at (617) 495-3179. If you’re still in the process of applying to Harvard Law School, good luck! If you’re a recent arrival, welcome! In either case, please don’t hesitate to be in touch! E-mail us at lambda@mail.law.harvard.edu.

Shane Hunt ’15 and John Dey ’14, Co-Presidents.