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Spring 2024 Seminar

Legal Profession Seminar

Prerequisites: None

Exam Type: No Exam

Students are required to write short response papers (around 2-pages) for each session, actively participate in the discussion, and to write a 10-15 page final paper on a topic relating to one of the seminar’s themes.

This seminar examines the changing nature of the legal profession. We do so through direct engagement with cutting-edge, empirical research—presented by leading academics and practitioners—on issues critical to the legal profession. The seminar is structured around three themes—careers and diversity (e.g., the career paths of HLS graduates; the role of student debt), how globalization is reshaping the market for legal services around the world (e.g., global pro bono; the rise of “international” JD students), and innovation and the role of technology (e.g., litigation finance; online courts). Students can view previous weekly topics and guests on the HLS Syllabus archive page. Structured akin to a reading group, each session features an original piece of research presented by the author and a robust class discussion. The authors come from a broad range of disciplines (e.g., law, sociology, political science) and have diverse methodological commitments (e.g., surveys, experiments, interviews). The seminar has a particular focus on assessing the strengths and weaknesses of empirical research, but it is not important for students to have any particular background in empirical methodology. Rather, the goal is to help students become better consumers of the kind of explicit and implicit factual claims that are often made about lawyers and their careers. 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls, and LLMs are all welcome.

Note: This seminar will not satisfy the Professional Responsibility requirement.