Skip to Main Content
The first building constructed specifically for Harvard Law School, Austin Hall opened in 1883. The building signified a new era in the school's history, far removed from its humble beginnings in a single room belonging to Harvard College.
Designed by famed architect Henry Hobson Richardson, its entryway features sweeping arches in the Romanesque Revival style. Close inspection reveals the intricate carvings of faces and mythological creatures that serve as the building's year-round welcoming committee. Additional arches are to be found on the first floor, which houses three large classrooms in addition to the offices of the Clinical Program, where students apply their academic experiences in realistic legal situations.
Residing on the second floor are the Harvard Law Admissions offices, as well as the Ames courtroom, named for Dean James Barr Ames (1895-1910). Originally serving as the law library, the courtroom's uses have been expanded to include mock trials argued by second and third year students under the direction of practicing judges (including Supreme Court justices) to real cases of the Supreme Court of the Navajo Nation. In addition to the fireplace that occupies most of the rear wall, the courtroom's most magnificent features are the carved wooden ceiling beams that stretch the entire width of the room.
Austin Hall also houses the Criminal Justice Institute, located on the third floor along with the Morgan Courtroom, and the Program on Mediation and the Tenant Advocacy Project, which bookend a computer kiosk on the lower level.
Back to Top