At HLS, students have excellent opportunities for writing in many different areas of the law, in a variety of different formats, and under the supervision of, or in collaboration with, many HLS faculty members. Faculty encourage and actively support student writing, working closely with students on papers written for academic credit, journal articles, and books.
The Written Work Requirement is a degree requirement for the JD and the LLM degrees, and students may satisfy this requirement in a number of ways, depending on individual interests and goals. The requirement can be fulfilled through one substantial paper, written for 2, 3, or 4 credits, or two smaller writing projects, one of which may be part of a moot court competition or a student-edited journal. Some students undertake written work produced as part of clinical courses, while others pursue work in a seminar or as an independent project under faculty supervision. Students interested in doing additional writing beyond the requirement may choose to write optional papers for writing credit. Participation in the Winter Writing Program allows students to use the winter term to focus exclusively on a particular writing project in Cambridge, or in the location best suited to research for the project, domestic or international.
In addition to writing for academic credit, HLS students often collaborate with faculty members, often serving as co-authors for books and law journal articles. Students also work closely with faculty to publish articles of their own. In the last few years alone, 70 HLS students published articles, notes or comments in leading law journals. Students may also publish papers through the online student paper series sponsored by the HLS Library.
In addition to students who publish papers or journal articles, many of our students are involved in reviewing, selecting, and editing faculty work for publication in Harvard’s sixteen student-run law journals. Journal participation is a central part of the intellectual life of many HLS students; over 800 students work on journals each year.
Whether working as research assistants on a faculty member’s latest book or journal article, researching and writing their own journal articles, or editing one of our law journals, many of our students are engaged in cutting-edge legal scholarship.
Each year the School recognizes top-quality student writing by awarding several student writing prizes. These prizes are given for the best student papers written in select fields. HLS faculty members judge the papers and choose the winner for each prize. The prizes carry monetary awards, and graduating winners are announced in the School’s Commencement program and on the School’s website.