Academic Policies Guide

Working as a Research Assistant for a Law School Professor

Credit Requirements

  • Full-time faculty members may offer JD and/or LLM students the opportunity to work as research assistants (RAs) for monetary compensation or, if the professor deems it appropriate based on the nature of the work, for academic credit.
  • The decision of whether an RA assignment will be for academic credit or monetary compensation must be made before the assignment commences.  It may not be changed from credit-earning to monetary once work has begun under any circumstances, including if an RA fails to meet the requirements for earning the credit(s).  Per federal regulations, I-9s must be completed within three days of hire, and time worked for pay must be reported in real-time.  As such, retroactive employment is not permitted. Student R.A.s who work for monetary compensation need to comply with a number of administrative requirements that are set forth in the Hiring NYU Students Page.
  • All credits earned for RA work must be graded on a credit/fail basis.
  • For RA work to qualify for academic credit, a student must do enough work to earn at least one academic credit, which requires a minimum of 45 hours of work. Except for the special circumstance noted below for Summer 2021, work must be performed during the school year, not during the summer. The work does not need to be completed in a single semester; it can be spread across semesters or even across academic years.
  • When students work as RAs, they must maintain careful records of the number of hours they work.
  • RA credits may not be used for TA work.

Registering and Credit Maximums 

In order for a student to be registered as an RA for academic credit, the professor must submit:

  1. A description of the anticipated scope of the research for credit project to the Office of Records and Registration in the form of a brief single-page memo that explains the nature of the work, including the type of research tasks and memos or other work expected of the student.
  2.  An online form for the Office of Records and Registration. All full-time faculty will receive an email in the summer with the link to the online form. Students should provide the professor with their NetID as the online form will ask for this information.

When the Office of Records and Registration receives the above documents, they will register the student for the RA credit(s).  

  • Although ordinarily, credits in excess of 90 credits may require additional payment per credit, credits earned for RA work are exempt from this rule.
  • A JD student may count a maximum of two RA credits per academic year (and an overall maximum of four RA credits during law school) towards meeting the JD requirement of a minimum of 83 credits for graduation, and the non-classroom credit maximum of 19 credits.
  • An LLM student may count a maximum of two RA credits towards the minimum of 24 credits needed for graduation.
  • However, a student can exceed these limits by receiving authorization from both the professor and the Office of Academic Services (JD students) or the Office of Graduate Affairs (LLM students) to treat the excess credits as not counting towards the minimum number of credits needed for graduation.
  • SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCE: For Summer 2021, full-time faculty may offer JD, LLM, and JSD students RA positions.
    1. Students may ONLY be registered in Fall 2021 to avoid the charges that would ensue from Summer 2021 registration.
    2. Summer 2021 registrations will appear on the transcript under the Fall 2021 semester  as "Summer 2021 Research Assistant"
    3. Faculty must submit requests for Summer 2021 RAs by 3 pm on Friday, May 21, 2021.  No late requests will be processed.
    4. Students will be registered for Summer 2021 RA credits by June 1, 2021.
    5. Students who are Summer 2021 RAs and will also be RAs in Fall 2021 or Spring 2022 must register for a separate RA credit, even if they are continuing to RA for the same professor.
      1. The regular academic year RA credits will appear on the transcript as "Research Assistant" and will be placed in the correct semester (Fall 2021 or Spring 2022).
    6. Summer 2021 RA credits will count towards the overall RA credit caps (i.e., no more than 4 credits for JDs and no more than 2 credits for LLMs and JSD's.)
    7. For JDs Summer 2021 RA credits will interact with any additional Fall 2021/ Spring 2022  or subsequent semester as follows:
      1. ​​​​​​​Summer 2021 RA credits = 3/  No more than 1 additional RA credit for the rest of the JD  student's academic career registered in Fall 2021 or any other regular semester.
      2. Summer 2021 RA credits = 2/ No more than 2 additional RA credits for the rest of the JD student's academic career registered in Fall 2021 or any other regular semester.
      3. Summer 2021 RA credits = 1/ No more than 3 additional RA credits for the rest of the JD student's academic career, with a maximum of  2 RA credits registered in any given semester  - Fall 2021 or any other regular semester.