Let me start with a bit of background. I am a senior in a top undergrad business school right now. I have already signed my contract with Goldman Sachs; for the next 2 years I will be doing investment banking there. However, I think that I may want to go to law school after.
Here is the problem: my college GPA is really low, and I really want to shoot for a HLS school. My college GPA is low (about 3.65) because of only 3 semesters of poor performance. I had a medical condition that meant I couldn't really devote time to school. The other semesters are all fine with grades (lowest semester is a 3.85).
Assuming I get a really good LSAT score(I know, anything could happen, but lets just assume), like 172+, what are my chances of getting into HLS? Obviously the thing I worry the most about is my GPA hurting me. Would it be possible to overlook this fact, especially since I would have worked for 2 years at a top investment bank?
The good news is that harvard, yale and stanford tend to look at the "whole applicant" moreso than most schools who really only look at GPA and LSAT. (They claim otherwise, but the reality of the situation says otherwise.)
The bad news is that the very top schools have a flood of people with nearly perfect LSAT and GPA scores.
However, I would ask why you want to go to HLS? Is it because you want to be a federal judge and someday be competitive for a supreme court nomination? Is it because you want to teach? If those are your goals, then yes, there aren't many substitutes for a top law school... meaning THE VERY TOP. In fact, Stanford has only put one person on the SCOTUS in recent years, and that was clearly a diversity pick. Some things, you simply have to go to Harvard or Yale and no other path will work.
Other than the SCOTUS, you can do pretty much anything you want to do in the law by being at the top of your class. If you graduate top 10% from any top 14 school, you'll be in the running for biglaw jobs.
Hate to bear the bad news, but I would rate your chances of Harvard as being exceptionally poor. As in, the only way it would happen is due to an administrative error.
The only comfort I can give is that a top rank from a top school sets you up very well for a great career in the law, outside of the supreme court and teaching. (Increasingly, if you didn't graduate from Harvard or Yale, it is difficult to find a tenure-track teaching position, even at 4th tier schools.)
However, even that is fraught with peril because getting a high class rank is no mean feat at any school, let alone the very best schools in the country.
You've already got what appears to be a great career at an investment bank. The country has already shown that your industry is well-connected enough that the government will ensure your profitability even if it has to destroy the entirety of the rest of the United States to do it. I'd stay where you are, personally, but I can't know what is leading you to consider a career in the law. If you just have to be an attorney, they obviously, only being an attorney will do.