Prepare incoming law students for success with Zero-L.

Developed by Harvard Law School, Zero-L is an online course designed to ensure all incoming students, whatever their backgrounds and previous areas of study, start with foundational legal knowledge that enables them to thrive in law school.

It’s time to bridge the legal knowledge gap. Zero-L is here to help.

Students come away from Zero-L:

  • FULLY PREPARED TO DIVE INTO LAW SCHOOL CLASSES
  • thinking like a law student
  • FAMILIAR WITH LEGAL TERMINOLOGY AND PROCEDURES
  • feeling prepared and confident
“If I had not taken Zero-L, I would have been lost in class.”


Gonzalo Robles LL.M., HLS ’19

Zero-L Modules

Ensure incoming law students feel more confident and better prepared.

Intro to ZERO-L

A brief introduction to Zero-L’s structure and goals. 

Intro to law and the court systemS

This module deepens student understanding of what law is and how to “think like a lawyer.” Students learn about the structure of federal and state courts, the hierarchy of authorities, and the differences between various kinds of law.

How to Read a Case and Understand Precedent

Using a real case, students learn step-by-step how to read a case for class. They will also be introduced to standard common law arguments, and the role of precedent in judicial decisions.

WORKING WITH STATUTES

Students learn how to locate and read statutes, and are introduced to the tools and major schools of statutory interpretation.

A PREVIEW OF 1L COURSES

Students get a preview of the most commonly taught first-year courses so they are ready to excel in class starting from day one.

INTRO TO THE LEGAL PROFESSION

Students are introduced to their career options, the impact they can make as a lawyer, and how the profession continues to change and evolve.

LEGAL THEORY AND SCHOLARSHIP

Students gain exposure to some of the larger theoretical questions raised by law, questions which will often be lurking in the background of readings and classroom discussions.

Test Drive: Applying Learning

This capstone opportunity enables students to apply what they have learned in Zero-L in a final exercise that provides a perfect bridge to day one of class.

Learn more about the skills and concepts taught in Zero-L.

The Zero-L Learning Experience

Zero-L is designed to provide students from all backgrounds with the tools they need to feel more confident and better prepared starting law school. Available in an online, self-paced format, law schools can guide students to focus on the modules most relevant to their first year in law school.

Compact Lessons

Quickly review high impact content.

Engaging format

Dynamic videos that teach and encourage.

Access During Year One

Revisit course material as needed.

Comprehension Checks

Evaluate progress without any pressure.

Featured Faculty

Harvard Law School’s faculty is comprised of the top legal minds from every subject area, dedicated to excellence in teaching. Students learn how to prepare for law school from practitioners and scholars who shape the legal landscape around the world.

Glenn Cohen
James A. Attwood and Leslie Williams Professor of Law and Faculty Director for the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology & Bioethics

Student Testimonials

Mara Chin Loy
“Zero-L really helped prepare me for my first year. I could focus all of my time on learning in class, as opposed to spending weeks figuring out what was even going on.”


Mara Chin Loy, HLS ’21
Gonzalo Robles
“If I had not taken Zero-L, I would have been lost in class.”


Gonzalo Robles LL.M., HLS ’19
Andy Boes
“I didn’t have a lot of exposure to the legal world, other than the tangential background from political science classes. Zero-L’s lessons gave me a good foundation and made me feel more comfortable going into law school.”


Andy Boes, HLS ’21
HLS faculty are featured throughout Zero-L.

Students no longer have to worry about what they don’t know before starting law school.

Zero-L is here to help with:

  • Lessons on fundamental legal concepts
  • An overview of Legal Procedure
  • Insights from Experienced Faculty
  • Opportunities to Practice legal skills
  • Learning how to read a case

Frequently Asked Questions

Zero-L was created to ensure that all incoming law students, whatever their backgrounds and previous areas of study, start with the foundational knowledge to enable them to thrive in law school.

The course is self-paced, and each student will spend a different amount of time on it, depending on their background and preferences. On average, moving through the course content takes 12-14 hours, with the total completion time depending on the speed at which students watch the videos, how much time is spent on comprehension checks, taking notes, etc.

Although HLS had originally planned to make the full version of Zero-L available this summer to other law schools for a fee, HLS will instead offer it this year for free to any interested U.S. law school to help it and its incoming students bolster student success rates and overcome COVID-related pre-matriculation educational challenges.

Zero-L provides students with numerous occasions to check their comprehension of the material. It does not provide grades.

Zero-L’s self-paced content is universal and flexible. Law schools can identify modules that are most useful for their students and instruct them to focus on those particular areas, such as the best approach to reading a case, or an outline of the history of American constitutional law. HLS can also provide schools with guidance on which modules to assign to students who are admitted later in the summer and may therefore have less time to complete the course.

Students will able to access the course on July 1, 2020 and will have unlimited access throughout their entire first year of law school.

Zero-L is intended for personal use only and may not be shared or redistributed in any form without express written permission from Harvard Law School.

If you have any questions, please contact Jessica Soban, Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives, at hlsonline@law.harvard.edu.

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