Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores range from a low of 120 to a high of 180. If you hope to gain admission to Harvard Law School, you almost certainly need a score in the 170s, which is in the top 2% of LSAT takers. The average student enrolled at Harvard Law has achieved a 173 on the LSAT.
Harvard Law, to most people’s surprise, is not the No. 1 ranked law school in the country. As of 2019, it is ranked No. 3, behind Yale Law School at No. 1 and Stanford Law School at No. 2. Despite that, Harvard remains the most colloquially prestigious U.S. law school with the best-known reputation. Needless to say, you need a stellar LSAT score to have a good chance at admission.
Moreover, to most people’s even greater surprise, you no longer have to take the LSAT to attend Harvard Law. As of Fall 2017, Harvard Law, along with about 30 other law schools, accepts the results of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) instead of the LSAT. This handful of schools hopes to attract a broader and larger pool of applicants. However, the schools still look most favorably on scores from the familiar Law School Admission Test.
In any event, data confirms that 173 is a good LSAT score for Harvard Law. Although Harvard insists that it has no “cutoff score” below which you won’t be considered, the average student body score of 173 is a good indicator of the minimum needed to have a decent chance.
Harvard Law has said that it has “no computational methods for making admission decisions, no mechanical shortcuts, and no substitutes for careful assessment and good judgment applied to individual cases.” They allow “several strong factors to offset another factor on which an applicant may perform only modestly in comparison with other applicants. As a result, [they] emphasize that there are no ‘cut-off’ GPAs or standardized test scores below which an application will not be considered in its entirety.”
However, even with an LSAT score at or above the school’s average, no guarantees can be made regarding admission. In 2014, at least one applicant with a perfect 180 score and a GPA of 3.9 was denied admission. On the other hand, that same year another applicant was admitted with a 148 LSAT score (which is below the national average score of 150) and a GPA of 2.8. Information about applicants is never made public, so there is no way of knowing the rest of these applicants’ qualifications, but it goes to show that the process is indeed somewhat holistic.
Still, getting accepted to Harvard Law is tough. Harvard Law received 7,333 applications for the class of 2021 and offered admission to only 916 of them, for an acceptance rate of only 12.49%. That being said, you have a slightly higher chance of being accepted to Harvard Law when compared to Yale or Stanford Law, simply because the class size at Harvard Law is significantly larger. The 2021 incoming class at Harvard Law is 564 students—for Yale, the class size is 212, and for Stanford, a mere 180 students.
Overall, a good LSAT score for Harvard would almost certainly need to be in the 170s, and most likely at or above 173 to have a good chance of admission. You can use this online tool created by the administrators of the LSAT to determine your rough chances of admission at any ABA-accredited law school by inputting your GPA and actual or anticipated LSAT score. Another tool, the 7 Sage Law School Predictor, allows you to add to your query whether you are an underrepresented minority, an international student, or an early applicant to get even more refined results.
In sum, study hard and aim for that 173!