Substantial Writing Requirement

Each student must individually prepare, during his or her second or third year, a substantial paper. Students may not fulfill the substantial writing requirement during the first year of law school.

The standards and procedures are:

  1. The paper must be original work consisting of criticism, analysis, synthesis or history of law or a law-related topic. The paper must not be a paraphrase or summary of the work of others. It must advance and defend one or more central theses.
  2. The paper must be of satisfactory quality, meaning that it must have been revised in accordance with paragraphs II.G. 8 and 9, and that it must qualify for a grade of 3.0 or higher, or a pass grade in a pass/fail offering. The paper must be at least 30 letter-size pages long, including footnotes. Text shall be double-spaced, and footnotes shall be single-spaced.
  3. The paper must be written for credit in connection with a Law School course or seminar, a co-curricular law journal, or directed research. Courses that offer the substantial writing option are so designated in the Law School course materials. Briefs and trial advocacy documents, whether prepared for a course, seminar, co-curricular program or other activity, do not satisfy the substantial writing requirement.
  4. A paper written for a co-curricular law journal may satisfy the substantial writing requirement if the paper is written for credit (including co-curricular credit), is submitted to the supervising faculty member without co-curricular editorial advice or revisions, and meets the other standards and procedures described in this section (II. G.). The faculty advisor of the co-curricular program is not automatically the supervising faculty member for the paper; students shall find their own supervising faculty member.
  5. The paper must be supervised by a Law School full-time faculty member, except that supervision by a law library faculty member, a part-time faculty member, or an adjunct faculty member may be authorized by the Associate Dean—Faculty and Curriculum in circumstances that he or she finds appropriate, such as expertise on the part of the authorized supervisor that is not available in the full- time faculty.
  6. The student must obtain the supervising faculty member’s written agreement to supervise the paper, preferably by the end of the second week of the semester.
  7. The supervising faculty member shall be available to meet individually with the student to provide supervision, guidance, and individualized assessment regarding the paper.
  8. The student shall submit at least one draft of the paper to the supervising faculty member for comments and suggestions, and that faculty member shall make comments and suggestions as appropriate.
  9. After making appropriate changes, the student shall resubmit the paper to the supervising faculty member for approval or directions for further revision. When the supervising faculty member finds that the paper meets the applicable standards, he or she will certify completion of the substantial writing requirement by signing a blue card obtained by the student from the Law School Registrar.
  10. The student must submit certification of completion for the substantial writing requirement to the Law School Registrar before graduation.