Independent Written Work

Students are encouraged to undertake Independent Written Work (IWW) projects under the supervision of individual faculty members to improve their writing skills, to deepen and enhance their studies in a substantive area covered in a course, to specialize in an area not covered in the curriculum, and to satisfy the Advanced Writing Requirement for graduation. Ordinarily, independent written work qualifies for one or two credits. A one-credit paper is usually legal writing in which a student analyzes a particular case, statute, or legal development. A two-credit paper normally has a broader scope. Two-credit papers are expected to be substantial products demonstrating legal analysis based upon substantial research or containing significant original thought. In extraordinary circumstances, subject to the approval of the Curriculum Committee, a student may be permitted to earn more than two credits, up to a maximum of seven credits, for extensive dissertation-quality projects. Written work done for more than two credits ordinarily entails review by a panel of three faculty members (including the principal supervisor) and an oral defense of the work.

A student may arrange to do independent written work as a full-year program rather than during a single semester. Where the scope or complexity of a project warrants it, several students may work on a writing project together. The Advanced Writing Requirement for graduation will not be satisfied by joint work in which the contributions of the individual students are not susceptible to separate evaluation or do not constitute the equivalent of a two-credit paper. Independent Written Work may not be registered for or enrolled in a student’s last semester of law school to satisfy the Advanced Writing Requirement.

Before a student registers for independent written work, he or she must make arrangements to do the work under the supervision of a full-time faculty member. The Faculty Council has adopted a policy defining faculty supervision of student written work. Written work done for credit under faculty supervision is an important instructional tool. "Supervision" entails at least one meeting with the student to plan the student's writing project monitoring the student's progress through the review of one or more written outlines or drafts submitted by the student, and communicating to the student the faculty member's evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the student's final project.

As part of the registration process, students must submit to the Office of Registration & Enrollment a Written Work Authorization Form signed by the faculty supervisor. The Curriculum Committee must also authorize in advance written work for more than two credits. Procedures to obtain committee approval must be initiated in writing in such time that the committee can complete its review by the end of October for the following spring semester or by the end of March for the following fall semester.

Key to Codes in Course Descriptions
P: Prerequisite
C: Prerequisite or Concurrent Requirement
R: Recommended Prior or Concurrent Course