1. Optional Written Work
In addition to the Written Work Requirement for each degree, upper-level and graduate students have the option of doing additional written work for credit. With the agreement of the instructor, a student may do such optional written work for additional credit in conjunction with a Law School seminar or course, or on an independent basis with Law School faculty supervision. These are excellent opportunities for pursuing topics in depth, for exploring issues beyond the formal curriculum, for developing publishable scholarship, and for tailoring the law school experience to the student’s personal interests.
a) Credits: J.D. student optional written work may receive one or more writing credits and is expected to be of the same scope as a paper written to fulfill Option 1 of the J.D. Written Work Requirement that receives the same number of credits (see Section I. (K)(1)). LL.M. student optional written work may receive one or two writing credits and is expected to meet the standards for LL.M. Required Written work in form (at least 25 pages of the student’s individual written work, for one credit) and in substance. The number of credits granted for a particular piece of writing must be arranged in advance between the student and the faculty supervisor. Rules relating to supervision and registration of optional written work are the same as those for Option 1 work.
b) Registration for Optional Written Work (see also Section VII and Section VIII): J.D. students must register for Optional Written Work by submitting the required registration form and proposal to the faculty supervisor for approval and then to the Office of the Registrar by the second Friday in October for fall term, by the second Friday in November for winter term, and by the second Friday in February for spring term. Forms are available in hard copy in the Office of the Registrar and online. LL.M. students who pursue Optional Written Work must register for such work by submitting the required registration form and proposal to the faculty supervisor for approval and then to the Graduate Program Office by October 21, 2019 for fall term and by February 7, 2020 for spring term. Forms are available in hard copy in the Graduate Program Office and online.
c) Research Assistant Work for Credit: Law School faculty members and instructors with a Law School teaching appointment have the discretion to give a student written work credit for writing done as a research assistant, subject to the following conditions (see also Section I. (K)(1) and Section II. (A)(5)):
i. In order to qualify for academic credit, the writing must be equivalent to work that would qualify for optional independent written work credit. Research assistant work that does not qualify for academic credit includes cite-checking, research summaries without analysis, and compilations or summaries of data without analysis.
ii. In no case may a student receive academic credit for research assistant work that is also compensated.
iii. To register for Research Assistant Work for Credit, please complete the required registration form and submit it to the Graduate Program Office, for LL.M. students, or the Office of the Registrar, for J.D. students.
d) J.D. students should consult the Office of the Registrar with questions about optional written work or Research Assistant Work for Credit.
e) LL.M. students must consult with the Director of Administration and Student Affairs for the Graduate Program before undertaking optional written work or Research Assistant Work for Credit.
2. Winter Term Writing Program
Participants in the Winter Term Writing Program (WWP) devote the winter term exclusively to the intensive research and/or writing of a paper under the supervision of a Law School faculty member or an instructor with a Harvard Law School teaching appointment. Participation in the WWP requires registration for Option 1 of the J.D. Written Work Requirement or Optional Written Work of at least two and no more than three credits, or for LL.M. students, a 50-Page paper—written independently of a course or seminar—with the credits assigned to the Winter Term. Participation in the program is in lieu of taking a Law School course for the winter term, and to meet the minimum residency requirement, the research/writing done during the term must be toward the completion of a single writing project with a minimum of two credits.
a) J.D. Students
J.D. participation in the WWP, with the credits registered into the Winter Term, will satisfy Option 1 of the Written Work Requirement if the requirement has not been previously satisfied.
b) J.D. Students — Special Considerations
i. Option 2 of the J.D. Written Work Requirement does not qualify for the WWP.
ii. Written work for which J.D. students registered in a previous academic year is not eligible for the WWP in the current year.
iii. Credits for WWP projects are registered into the Winter Term only.
iv. Students participating in the WWP must spend the winter term in Cambridge, working on the relevant paper unless the nature of their research requires them to travel.
v. Students should note that taking the WWP instead of a winter course eliminates the winter term as a source of Law School classroom credits. Third-year students considering the WWP in lieu of a winter course should first check their upper-level credits against Harvard Law School degree requirements to confirm that they will meet the required upper level 36 Law School classroom credit minimum set forth in Section I. (D).
c) LL.M. Students
Students who have registered for a single written work project worth at least two credits, such as the LL.M. 50-Page Paper written independently of a course, are eligible to apply for the WWP. LL.M. students who are accepted to the WWP must spend the winter term in Cambridge, working exclusively on the relevant paper.
d) Application and Registration Process
The WWP registration forms for J.D. students and LL.M. students are available online and in hard copy at the Office of the Registrar and in the Graduate Program Office respectively. See Section VII for more information about registration and Section VIII for submission deadlines for papers written as part of the Winter Term Writing Program.