Skip to Main Content
Every year, Harvard Law School hosts a significant number of high-profile events, which often involve extensive publicity, more complicated event logistics, and extra protocol or security measures.
Examples of high-profile events include:
Allow much more time for planning and preparation.
Be sure to allow significant lead time to plan and publicize your event, especially if you are drawing on multiple resources within HLS and outside it. This advance notice can help ensure that HLS offices and outside vendors will be able to provide the staff and time needed to support your event. Finalizing your plans and publicizing your event early will also help build your audience and may deter other departments and groups from scheduling an event on the same day.
Identify a project owner.
It is very important to identify the person (or people) who can make decisions and answer questions relating to the event, and to provide his/her contact information to HLS staff, vendors and others who are helping you with event arrangements. This is especially critical when an event is co-sponsored by two or more parties.
Check the HLS and University calendars.
Before inviting high-profile speakers and guests to visit HLS, organizers should check the HLS Calendar and other University calendars to see if other events are scheduled at the same time. You may also want to double-check the HLS academic calendar and the dates of public and religious holidays. This step is often overlooked, and you will want to ensure that you will be able to reserve an appropriate venue for your event and that your audience is not pulled away by competing events and other scheduling conflicts.
Be aware of special requirements.
High-profile events often involve special arrangements for security, media presence, protocol, and permissions. For example:
These arrangements almost always require extra time and more communication among the people involved in planning the event. We also strongly recommend that you finalize these special arrangements and resolve any issues well before your event is publicized, to ensure that the event can go ahead as planned and to limit any unforeseen problems.
Inviting Heads of State, Dignitaries and Other High-Profile Visitors to Speak at Harvard
The University Marshal’s Office offers advice and assistance on matters of protocol and appropriate procedures for issuing invitations to heads of state and other high-level dignitaries and officials. All schools and other event sponsors at Harvard should consult with and alert the University Marshal's Office before extending invitations to high-level dignitaries and guests, including incumbent heads of state and government officials and other major international or American political leaders. The Marshal's Office coordinates these visits to avoid significant conflicts, such as multiple invitations to the same person from different schools or the possible appearance of two major international leaders on the same day. They will also oversee security arrangements and can advise you on other matters of protocol, including proper forms of address, customs, gift exchanges, document signings, speaking formats, and Q&A requirements. Please see the University Marshal's Office website for more information.
News Coverage, Photography and Recording
If you are inviting high-profile speakers or guests to HLS, or if your event is especially newsworthy, please let the Office of Communications know about your plans as early as possible. We provide advice and assistance on news coverage, recording guidelines, access for outside film crews or photographers, and other special arrangements or permissions that may be required.
Under Harvard University policy, a Harvard University Police (HUPD) detail may be required under the following circumstances:
Determinations of the need for and size of a police detail will be made by the Chief of Police or his designee in consultation with other University officials. Please visit the HUPD website to request a police detail.
Please see our page on HLS Resources for information on other event planning resources and services, such as room reservations, catering, technology services, and parking.
Student organizations and journals planning high-profile events should also work closely with the Dean of Students Office. Please see HLS Orgs: Planning an Event for more guidance.
Back to Top