Academic Services

Writing Requirement


IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to register for the appropriate credits to satisfy the substantial writing requirement. If you will satisfy the substantial writing in a seminar or course (as opposed to directed research), once you have received faculty approval, you must register through ABRA during the add/drop period for the additional Writing Credit associated with the seminar/course by the stated deadline. After ABRA closes for add/drop registration, you must submit an add/drop form to the Office of Academic Services by the stated deadline. No retroactive registration is permitted.

For all Writing Requirements: Regardless of the type of project involved, students are, of course, expected to submit original, non-duplicative work for each and every course.  When in doubt about the proper use of a citation or quotation, discuss the issue with the instructor.  The reuse of work you did for another class for law school credit without approval is a serious offense that may merit severe discipline. (See Procedures for Offenses Requiring Formal Discipline in the Student Handbook for a definition of plagiarism).

PLEASE NOTE: Substantial Writing credit may not be earned for work a student does for pay.

As a condition of graduation, a student must satisfy the Substantial Writing requirement as follows:

Substantial Writing Requirement

The writing requirement: In order to graduate, a student must produce an original analytic paper of substantial length (ordinarily at least 10,000 words in length and undergoes a comment and draft process) under the supervision of a faculty member, who may augment these requirements.

The character of the paper: The paper must be a sustained piece of writing and not purely descriptive.  It should be thorough, well-written, properly documented, and anticipate and address opposing arguments.

The form of the paper: The paper may be a traditional journal note; the author’s empirical research with analysis; a proposal for law reform with defense and commentary; a memorandum of law or a brief addressing a substantial legal issue: or an equivalent project showing original thought and analysis.

The scope of faculty oversight: Students should present an outline of their paper to the supervising faculty member for approval before doing substantial work.  After approval, the student must prepare a first draft of the paper and, after faculty review, and discussion, the student must prepare a rewritten second draft that is responsive to the instructor’s criticism and acceptable to him or her.

The time for completion of the paper: A student should have completed his or her first draft no later than January of the student’s final semester to ensure adequate time before graduation for the supervising faculty member to critique the paper, the student to rewrite the paper, and the faculty member to review the second draft and determine whether to approve it or request further work.  A small number of seminars will satisfy the Substantial Writing requirement automatically since a Substantial paper is required of all students in the seminar.

A student may earn Substantial Writing credit under the supervision of a faculty member either through a two-credit Directed Research or as part of a seminar or other classroom activity. In the case of a seminar with an optional one credit writing component, students who write such a paper can earn an additional credit for the seminar by registering for the writing credit portion in addition to the seminar itself. For example, if you are registered for Law & Society in China (LAW-LW.10871.001) for two credits, you should register for Writing Credit: Law & Society in China (ALW-LW.12112.001) for the additional credit. You may add the Writing Credit on ABRA during the add/drop period, or in person at the Office of Academic Services with an add/drop form by September 30 for Fall 2013 and by February 11 for Spring 2014 classes. Writing Credit courses are listed in the Schedules of Classes.

For lecture courses, satisfaction of the course requirements through completion of the Substantial Writing paper will be awarded the number of credits that the course normally carries.

Substantial Writing credit may not be earned for work a student does for pay.

2013-2014 Substantial Writing Requirement
Fall 2013 Courses
Spring 2014 Courses

2012-2013 Substantial Writing Requirement
Fall 2012 Courses
Spring 2013 Courses

2011-2012 Substantial Writing Requirement
Fall 2011 Courses
Spring 2012 Courses

2010-2011 Substantial Writing Requirement
Fall 2010 Courses
Spring 2011 Courses

2009-2010 Substantial Writing Requirement
Fall 2009 Courses
Spring 2010 Courses

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