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The Harvard Law Review is a law review published by an independent student group at Harvard Law School. According to the Journal Citation Reports, the Harvard Law Review's 2015 impact factor of 4.979 placed the journal first out of 143 journals in the category "Law".[1] It is published monthly from November through June, with the November issue dedicated to covering the previous year's term of the Supreme Court of the United States. The journal also publishes the online-only Harvard Law Review Forum, a rolling journal of scholarly responses to the main journal's content.

Harvard Law Review  
Publication details
The Harvard Law Review Association (United States)
4.979 (2015)
Standard abbreviations
BluebookHarv. L. Rev.
ISO 4Harv. Law Rev.
OCLC no.46968396

The Harvard Law Review Association, in conjunction with the Columbia Law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and the Yale Law Journal, publishes the Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation, a widely followed authority for legal citation formats in the United States.


The Harvard Law Review published its first issue on April 15, 1887, making it one of the oldest operating student-edited law reviews in the United States.[2] The establishment of the journal was largely due to the support of Louis Brandeis, then a recent Harvard Law School alumnus and Boston attorney who would later go on to become a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

From the 1880s to the 1970s, editors were selected on the basis of their grades; the president of the Review was the student with the highest academic rank. The first female editor of the journal was Priscilla Holmes (1953-1955, Volumes 67-68);[3] the first woman to serve as the journal's president was Susan Estrich (1977), who later was active in Democratic Party politics and became the youngest woman to receive tenure at Harvard Law School; its first non-white ethnic minority president was Raj Marphatia (1988, Volume 101), who is now a partner at the Boston law firm of Ropes & Gray;[4][5][6] its first African-American president was the 44th President of the United States Barack Obama (1991);[7][8] its first openly gay president was Mitchell Reich (2011);[9] its first Latino president was Andrew M. Crespo, who is now tenured as a professor at Harvard Law School.[10] The first female African-American president, ImeIme Umana, was elected in 2017.[11]

Gannett House, a white building constructed in the Greek Revival style that was popular in New England during the mid-to-late 19th century, has been home to the Harvard Law Review since the 1920s. Before moving into Gannett House, the journal resided in the Law School's Austin Hall.

Since the change of criteria in the 1970s, grades are no longer the primary basis of selection for editors. Membership in the Harvard Law Review is offered to select Harvard law students based on first-year grades and performance in a writing competition held at the end of the first year except for twelve slots that are offered on a discretionary basis.[12][7][13] The writing competition includes two components: an edit of an unpublished article and an analysis of a recent United States Supreme Court or Court of Appeals case.[12] The writing competition submissions are graded blindly to assure anonymity.[13][14] Fourteen editors (two from each 1L section) are selected based on a combination of their first-year grades and their competition scores. Twenty editors are selected based solely on their competition scores. The remaining twelve editors are selected on a discretionary basis. According to the law review's webpage, "Some of these discretionary slots may be used to implement the Review's affirmative action policy."[12] The president of the Harvard Law Review is elected by the other editors.[7][15]

It has been a long tradition, apparently since the first issue, that the works of students published in the Harvard Law Review are called "notes," and they are unsigned as part of a policy reflecting "the fact that many members of the Review besides the author make a contribution to each published piece."[16]


Volume 1 of the Harvard Law Review (1887–1888).

Prominent alumni of the Harvard Law Review include:

President of the United StatesEdit

Supreme Court JusticesEdit

Other juristsEdit

Cabinet secretariesEdit

Other U.S. government officialsEdit

Other government officialsEdit


Other attorneysEdit

Writers and journalistsEdit

Other alumniEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Journals Ranked by Impact: Law". 2011 Journal Citation Reports. Web of Science (Science ed.). Thomson Reuters. 2012.
  2. ^ Friedman, Lawrence M. (2005). A History of American Law (3rd ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 481. ISBN 0684869888.
  3. ^ Greenfield, Jill (2011). ""She Rose Above Obstacles With Ease" Priscilla Holmes '55: 1924-2010". Harvard Law Bulletin.
  4. ^ Griswold, Erwin N (1987). "The Harvard Law Review — Glimpses of Its History as Seen by an Aficionado". Harvard Law Review: Centennial Album I. Retrieved 2012-05-02.
  5. ^ "Women and Law Review: An Historical Overview". Retrieved 2013-07-18.
  6. ^ "Raj Marphatia: Biography". Ropes & Gray. Retrieved 2012-05-02.
  7. ^ a b c d Butterfield, Fox (February 6, 1990). "First Black Elected to Head Harvard's Law Review". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  8. ^ a b Kantor, Jodi (January 28, 2007). "In Law School, Obama Found Political Voice". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
  9. ^ McKay, Caroline. "Harvard Law Review Elects First Openly Gay President". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b c "Harvard Law Review Membership Selection Policies". Harvard Law Review. Retrieved July 9, 2014.
  13. ^ a b Obama, Barack. "Review President Explains Affirmative Action Policy (letter)". The Harvard Law Record. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
  14. ^ "Prospective Transfer Students Applying for Membership". Harvard Law Review. Retrieved July 9, 2014.
  15. ^ Seo, Jane (February 7, 2012). "Tochilin '06 elected president of Harvard Law Review". The Harvard Crimson.
  16. ^ "About the Harvard Law Review". Retrieved 2018-04-23.
  17. ^ Ben Smith & Jeffrey Ressner, Obama Kept Law Review Balanced,, June 23, 2008
  18. ^ a b c d e Akhil Reed Amar, Heller, HLR, and Holistic Legal Reasoning, Harvard Law Review 122:145, (2008)
  19. ^ William M. Wiecek, The Birth of the Modern Constitution: The United States Supreme Court, 1941-1953 at 84 (2006)
  20. ^ Elena Kagan, [1], Harvard Law Review 99 (1985)
  21. ^ Harvard Law School, Senate confirms David Barron for U.S. Court of Appeals
  22. ^ Michael Boudin, Judge Henry Friendly and the Mirror of Constitutional Law Archived 2009-02-25 at the Wayback Machine, New York University Law Review 82:975, 977 (2007)
  23. ^ Nik DeCosta-Klipa, "Merrick Garland would give Harvard Law the majority on the Supreme Court",, Mar. 16, 2017
  24. ^ Congressional Record, Congressional Record
  25. ^ District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson profile, USDC District of Columbia.
  26. ^ Richard A. Serrano, et al.,"Roberts Was Ready at Every Turn", L.A. Times, July 25, 2005
  27. ^ a b c United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Circuit Judges' Biographical Information
  28. ^ Cornelia Pillard | NCJW
  29. ^ James Chace, Dean Acheson, in Edward S. Mihalkanin, American Statesman 2 (2004)
  30. ^ Jennifer O'Shea, Ten Things You Didn't Know About Michael Chertoff, U.S. News and World Report, Aug. 27, 2007
  31. ^ Harvard Law School, William T. Coleman Shares Stories From His 60-Year Legal Career, Apr. 14, 2007
  32. ^ Neil A. Lewis, Elliot Richardson Dies at 79; Stood Up to Nixon and Resigned in Saturday Night Massacre, New York Times, Jan. 1, 2000
  33. ^ Office of the Solicitor General, U.S. Department of Justice, Solicitor General Paul D. Clement Archived 2009-01-04 at the Wayback Machine
  34. ^ Ken Gormley, Archibald Cox: Conscience of a Nation 29-30 (1999)
  35. ^ Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC Biography: Chairman Christopher Cox
  36. ^ Harvard Law Bulletin
  37. ^ Bancroft Associates PLLC, Viet D. Dinh Archived 2009-02-23 at the Wayback Machine
  38. ^ Office of the Solicitor General, U.S. Department of Justice, Solicitor General Charles Evans Hughes, Jr.
  39. ^ United States Trade Representative: Michael Froman
  40. ^ Stephen Labaton, Obama to Select Genachowski to Lead F.C.C., The Caucus, N.Y. Times, Jan. 13, 2009
  41. ^ Harvard Law Today
  42. ^ The White House. White House Author: Danielle Gray Archived 2016-01-04 at the Wayback Machine
  43. ^ "Your Witness, Mr. Murphy", Time Magazine, July 4, 1949
  44. ^ NCTC Director Bio
  45. ^ News Makers, [2], Harvard University Gazette, February 19, 1999
  46. ^ Finn, Peter (June 23, 2011). "Pentagon names new Guantanamo prosecutor". The Washington Post.
  47. ^ Bernard W. Nussbaum
  48. ^ Williams & Connolly. F. Whitten Peters, Partner
  49. ^ Edward Wyatt, "White House Elevates a Commissioner to Chairwoman of the F.T.C.", N.Y. Times, Feb. 28, 2013
  50. ^ Harvard Law School, Letter to the editor: the review and the White House, in review
  51. ^ Ambassador Barry B. White Archived 2014-12-29 at the Wayback Machine
  52. ^ Skadden, Arps, Preeta D. Bansal Archived 2009-01-02 at the Wayback Machine
  53. ^ The Trilateral Commission, Allan E. Gotlieb
  54. ^ Daniel Gross, Eliot Spitzer: How New York's attorney general became the most powerful man on Wall Street, Slate, Oct. 21, 2004
  55. ^ Fraser, Graham (2003-12-18). "The best PM Canada never had". The Toronto Star. p. A10.
  56. ^ Grimes, William. "Stephen Barnett, a Leading Legal Scholar, Dies at 73", The New York Times, October 21, 2009. Accessed October 22, 2009.
  57. ^ Mark H. Odonoghae, It's Official: Derek Bok, Harvard Crimson, Jan. 11, 1971
  58. ^ Eric Pace, Kingman Brewster Jr., 69, Ex-Yale President and U.S. Envoy, Dies, New York Times, Nov. 9, 1988
  59. ^ "Faculty". Yale Law School. Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  60. ^ President Friedman - Pace University
  61. ^ John Garvey
  62. ^ Harvard Law School. Annette Gordon-Reed ’84 to join the Harvard faculty
  63. ^ Cornell Law School, Biography of Charles Hamilton Houston
  64. ^ Yale Law School, Faculty - Harold Hongju Koh
  65. ^ Terry Shepard, Meet David Lebron President-Elect of Rice University Archived 2004-08-23 at the Wayback Machine, Sallyport, Winter 2004
  66. ^ Columbia Law School, Lance Liebman
  67. ^ Office of the President, University of Texas, Biography: William Powers Jr.
  68. ^ Nina J. Easton & Kevin Cullen, To Many, He Is A Quiet Conservative, Boston Globe, July 21, 2005
  69. ^ Harvard Law School, Professor James Vorenberg, Ninth Dean of HLS
  70. ^ Texas A&M, Michael K. Young Named Sole Finalist For President Of Texas A&M
  71. ^ Barnes, Bart (June 1, 2016). "Bennet Boskey, Washington lawyer, dies at 99," Washington Post.
  72. ^ Harvard Law School, Joseph H. Flom '48 (1923 – 2011)
  73. ^ John B. Quinn | Quinn Emanuel
  74. ^ George Washington University, Philip Graham (1915-1963)
  75. ^ Library of Congress, Previous Librarians of Congress - Archibald MacLeish
  76. ^ World Affairs, Speakers - Cliff Sloan, Publisher, Slate Magazine
  77. ^ CNN, CNN Programs - Anchors/Reporters - Jeffrey Toobin
  78. ^ Privcap, David Bonderman, Founder Partner - TPG Capital Archived 2016-03-23 at the Wayback Machine
  79. ^ Columbia College Today, "Alumni News: A Passion for Civil Liberties"
  80. ^ Jeff Kindler | Pfizer
  81. ^ MLB, Official Info: Rob Manfred
  82. ^ Ventures Africa, The Man Who Bought Gatwick Airport
  83. ^ New York law School, Nadine Strossen

External linksEdit