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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. Students should incorporate feedback they have received from the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs, their faculty sponsor, and placement supervisor. The more thought that the student puts into the planning of their work, the more likely they will be to have a rich learning experience and a successful placement.

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.

Learn about winter term funding

Application Deadlines

Incomplete applications will not be considered until all the necessary parts are submitted. Projects submitted after the deadline will also not be considered.

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

Submit an Application

Submit the Online Independent Clinical Application, attaching the following forms:

  1. Resume
  2. HLS Unofficial Transcript
  3. Detailed Project Description (at least one full page) including specific responsibilities and activities during the placement
  4. Faculty Sponsor Form
  5. Supervising Attorney Form
  6. Student Responsibilities Form
  7. Domestic: Assumption of Risk and General Release Form – If placement is within the U.S. but outside of the Greater Boston area (outside of 495)
  8. International: Assumption of Risk and General Release Form – If placement is abroad


If you are a student in the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau you must also submit the HLAB Supplemental Approval Form.

If your independent clinical project involves human subject research please review the Guidelines from the Committee on the Use of Human Subjects. Research is broadly defined, and it is essential to determine the need for review by the Committee well in advance of the due date, as seeking necessary approvals can be very time consuming. The Law School liaison at the Committee can assist the student to determine whether the project requires review, and assist with the committee process.

Review Criteria

OCP Staff review and approve the applications based on the strength of the proposed projects and the appropriateness of the placement as an educational opportunity.  Applications from students who are currently enrolled in or have completed an existing HLS clinic or externship, or who have substantial experience in the area of law that is the focus of the project, will be given preference. Applications from students who do not meet these criteria will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Students may be denied approval if his/her application is incomplete or the project is not deemed appropriate for academic credit.