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.
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.
Students may do an independent clinical project in the Fall, Winter, or Spring term. They may work 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.
Winter 2017: November 1, 2016 (midnight)
Spring 2017: January 13, 2017 (midnight)
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.
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.
Limited funding is available for domestic winter term independent clinical students.
Students will be eligible for funding of one January term independent clinical. If students are contemplating applying for two winter term domestic independent clinical placements they should plan accordingly.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
6. Complete Student Evaluation