Writing is arguably the most crucial skill of practicing lawyers and legal academics alike. While only some lawyers will enter careers involving significant oral advocacy, nearly all lawyers regularly write, provide feedback to colleagues on their writing, and respond to feedback on their own writing. At HLS, we recognize that excellent writing is not a solo enterprise, but takes a community. J.D. students receive their first intensive writing experience in the First-Year Legal Research and Writing Program (LRW). Upper-level J.D. students and LL.M.s develop their writing skills further through rigorous writing opportunities in courses, clinics, and independent writing supervised by a faculty member, completing in the process the J.D. Written Work Requirement and the LL.M. Written Work Requirement, respectively.
During their time at HLS, students can develop their writing skills through writing-intensive course work; independent studies in which a student writes a paper under a faculty member’s supervision; some clinical work, and writing groups, which provide a forum for structuring research and writing time and receiving peer in addition to faculty feedback. There are further writing opportunities through moot court, journals, and work as a research assistant for a faculty member. Explore below, by subject area, possible supervisors for an independent writing project.
Wondering where to begin? The Harvard Law Library has developed helpful guides on narrowing down a research topic, how to conduct research in various legal subject areas, and how to cite using the Bluebook or other citation systems.
Once a writing project is completed, students might consider submitting their work for one of HLS’ writing prizes and/or exploring possible paths to publication.