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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, working with organizations throughout the United States and around the world. 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 faculty-supervised paper.

Clinical Credit

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

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 3, 2017 through the last day of winter term January 20, 2017.

Application Deadlines

Fall 2016: August 30, 2016 (midnight)
Winter 2017: November 1, 2016 (midnight)
Spring 2017: January 13, 2017 (midnight)

Follow the Steps to Apply

  • 1. Make an Advising Appointment

    To initiate the Independent Clinical 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.

    Read More.

  • 2. Create an Independent Clinical Placement

    After meeting with an OCP staff member, a student will work on putting together his/her project proposal for an independent clinical project.

    Read criteria for eligible placements

  • 3. Submit an Application

    Students apply to participate in the independent clinical program by submitting an application which includes a project proposal, a faculty sponsor form, a supervising attorney form, and a proposed research paper topic. 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 access the online application

  • 4. Apply for Winter Term Travel Grant Funding

    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.

    Learn about eligible expenses and the application process

  • 5. Read Student Responsibilities

    As part of the independent clinical placement, students must comply with ethical and professional responsibilities, must submit weekly reflections and an academic paper.

    Read the 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