Honors Grow Scarcer for Harvard Law Grads


When members of Harvard Law School’s class of 1999 receive their prestigious degrees Thursday, 36% fewer graduates than last year will be awarded with honors, the school said Wednesday.

The relative scarcity of honors grads is the result of a new policy intended to boost the value of a cum laude degree and remove the stigma associated with not graduating with honors, Harvard Law spokesman Mike Chmura said.

Under a system implemented three years ago that first took effect with this year’s class, Harvard Law said it will limit magna cum laude degrees to the top 10% of the class. The next 30% will receive cum laude degrees.


The policy for summa cum laude, the highest honor, is unchanged. One summa degree was awarded this year, Harvard Law School said.

Under the old system, 76% of Harvard Law grads earned honors, the school said.