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The Independent Clinical Program is designed for students who are interested in a specialized area of the law or field of practice that is not currently offered in Harvard Law School’s existing clinical curriculum. Students may do an independent clinical project in the Fall, Winter, or Spring term. They may work at organizations throughout the United States and around the world during the winter term only. A number of students take the opportunity to work away from campus during the Winter term.

The educational goals of this program include: providing students an opportunity to be entrepreneurial and design a custom placement that will meet their individualized learning goals; giving students an opportunity to engage in and reflect on legal work in a community placement; and challenging students to delve into subject matter related to their independent clinical placement through researching and writing a paper supervised by a faculty sponsor.

Clinical Credits

Fall and Spring Term

For fall and spring terms, students receive either 2 clinical credits for working 8 hours per week or 3 clinical credits for working 12 hours per week.

Winter Term

Over winter term, students receive 2 clinical credits. Students must be in residence working full-time at their placements, from the first day of winter term, January 2, 2018 through the last day of winter term January 19, 2018.

Application Deadlines

Fall 2017: August 29, 2017 (midnight)
Winter 2018: October 31, 2017 (midnight)
Spring 2018: January 12, 2018 (midnight)

Winter Term Funding

Domestic Independent Clinical Placements

Students will be eligible for funding of 1 Winter Term domestic independent clinical project. If students are contemplating applying for 2 Winter Term domestic independent clinical placements they should plan accordingly.

Limited funding is available for domestic winter term independent clinical students. Students receiving HLS financial aid* may receive funding up to two thousand dollars ($0 – $2,000) towards offsetting costs of transportation and housing while students are off campus. Students who are not receiving any HLS financial aid may receive up to one thousand dollars ($0 -$1,000). All students will be required to sign a financial waiver authorizing OCP to consult with Student Financial Services.

* “on financial aid” is defined as being eligible for and receiving at least $20,500 in the form of an educational loan certified by the Student Financial Services office, or the equivalent for international students.

International Independent Clinical PLACEMENTS

Funding for International Independent Clinical Placements is administered by International Legal Studies. Please consult their website for their winter term grant policies and procedures.

Follow Steps to Apply

  • 1. Make an Advising Appointment

    To initiate the Independent Clinical application process, students must meet with Liz Solar, Jill Crockett, or Sheryl Dickey in the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs (OCP) to discuss their ideas about placement settings, supervising attorneys, and faculty sponsors, as well as the details of the work they will be proposing. Students should schedule these appointments as early as possible in the semester.

    Schedule your Appointment

  • 2. Create an Independent Clinical Placement

    After meeting with an OCP adviser, students will work on putting together their project proposal for their independent clinical placement.

    Review Criteria for Eligible Placements

  • 3. Submit an Application

    Students apply to participate in the independent clinical program by submitting an application which includes (1) project proposal, (2) faculty sponsor form, (3) supervising attorney form, (4) proposed research paper topic, (5) student responsibilities form, and (6) release for domestic travel form. In the application, students should outline their specific responsibilities during the placement in as much detail as possible, along with the various activities they will be involved in.

    Download Required Forms and Submit Online Application

  • 4. Apply for Winter Term Travel Funding

    Funding for Domestic Clinical Placements

    The Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs provides limited domestic funding to selected students who have proposed the most well-constructed, realistic independent clinical projects during the Winter Term. This funding is to offset the cost of transportation and housing while the student is off-campus. Access the Funding Application

    Funding for International Clinical Placements

    Funding for international independent clinical placements is administered by the Office of International Legal Studies. Students looking for funding to travel abroad for a clinical project must apply through their office by visiting the Winter Term International Travel Grants website.

  • 5. Read Student Responsibilities

    As part of the Independent Clinical Program, students must comply with ethical and professional responsibilities, must submit weekly reflections and an academic paper.

    Read Student Responsibilities

  • 6. Complete Student Evaluation

    The clinical evaluations are completed online through Helios. Responses do not affect grading, as the information reported is not reviewed outside of OCP until after the semester’s grading process has been completed. The placement evaluations are for student use only.

    Read More