At Harvard Law School, the academic year consists of a fall, a winter and a spring term. Winter term is a three-week period in January each year. In order to graduate, J.D. students must complete three winter terms. LL.M. students must complete winter term during the year they spend at HLS.

All first-year J.D. students take Problem Solving Workshop in the winter term. Problem Solving Workshop is designed to prepare first-year students for the day-to-day rigors of practicing law. Working collaboratively, students learn to confront their clients’ problems, and, using both legal expertise and practical judgment, help clients get the results they seek within the bounds of the law.

Second- and third-year and LL.M. students may choose among a number of options for winter term. Some of our students enroll in HLS courses offered in the winter term and receive law school classroom credits. Other students devote the winter term to doing the research for or to writing a substantial paper under the supervision of an HLS faculty member through the Winter Writing Program. Students with prior approval may travel€”domestically or abroad€”to conduct research that they have shown cannot be done in Cambridge and is necessary to the success of the project.

Students interested in a legal practice experience may participate in a clinical during the winter term, which allows them to spend the three week term doing direct client services or research and writing for a non-profit, government, or public interest organization. For students who have taken a clinical in a prior semester, the winter term offers the chance to extend that placement, if approved, through a continuing clinical. For subject areas not covered by existing clinical programs, students may, with Clinical Program approval, set up either a domestic or international independent clinical placement.

Students whose Winter Writing Program projects or independent clinical placements will take them overseas may apply for funding through the HLS winter term international travel grant program. All students with approved international projects who meet basic eligibility requirements receive the minimum amount of funding, with additional funding available on a competitive basis.