Advanced Research and Writing Requirement
All students must write an Advanced Research & Writing (“ARW”) paper as a requirement for graduation. Students are required to complete this requirement after their first year and are strongly advised to complete it before their final semester.
Purpose and Content
The ARW requirement is consistent with American Bar Association accreditation standard 302, which requires a “rigorous writing experience” after the first year. It is designed to reflect two key aspects of the practice of law identified in the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Responsibility. First, a lawyer is a counselor who is expected to “exercise independent professional judgment and render candid advice.” Second, a lawyer “is a representative of clients, an officer of the legal system and a public citizen having special responsibility for the quality of justice.”
The ARW paper furthers five competencies essential to law practice:
Writing, including organization, grammar, and style;
Strong personal work ethic and time management; and
Although many ARW papers will take the form of a law review-style essay, other kinds of writing may also satisfy the requirement. In each case, the focus is on using the competencies identified above to identify and solve a problem of the sort confronted by lawyers. Description and regurgitation are not enough.
Here are some illustrations:
|Unlikely to satisfy ARW requirement||Likely to satisfy ARW requirement|
|Essay describing a new case about the rights of homeless people||Essay assessing current homelessness and proposing new legislative approach|
|Business agreement based entirely (or nearly so) on a model or form document||Business agreement requiring substantial transactional analysis and problem- solving|
|Clinic brief reusing legal arguments made in other clinic cases; moot court brief relying on facts supplied by competition organizers||Clinic brief or amicus brief requiring development of facts and presenting novel legal arguments|
Permission and Credits
ARW papers are usually written under the supervision of a full-time faculty member. Supervision by an adjunct faculty member is permitted only if the paper is completed as part of an ARW-designated course taught by that adjunct faculty member or, in rare circumstances, if the paper is completed as part of an Independent Research Project.
Some courses are designated by the Curriculum Committee as satisfying the ARW requirement. Because of the intensive work required between class sessions, three-credit ARW courses meet for a minimum of 110 instructional minutes per week during a thirteen-week semester or an equivalent amount of time spread over a different period. Students who wish to take the course without fulfilling the ARW requirement and students who have fulfilled the ARW requirement and choose not to write an additional long paper in the course will register for two credits, rather than three. Students who wish to fulfill the ARW requirement and students who have already satisfied the requirement but wish to write another long paper in the course will register for three credits. A student who wishes to change the number of registered credits for an ARW-designated course (i.e., from two to three or from three to two) must follow the course add/drop procedures outlined in Academic Rule 1.7 of the Catalog. In any event, a student who does not write a long paper in an ARW-designated course will not receive three credits for the course.
Papers written for law review or journal articles require the advance permission of the journal’s Editorial Board, in addition to approval of a supervising professor. Such a paper receives the credit normally associated with journal service.
Independent Long Paper
Although students are encouraged to complete their ARW requirement through a seminar or other long-paper course, students may satisfy their ARW requirement by writing an independent long paper. The independent long paper option is permitted only in limited circumstances. The student must first complete and submit the Independent Long Paper Petition and obtain approval from a supervising faculty member.
Students must be in good academic standing and in their final two semesters to be registered for an independent long paper.
Independent long papers are graded A-F and earn two credits. Students may request a waiver from the Vice Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs for an independent long paper for fewer than two credits, but not more. The requirements to fulfill the ARW requirement remain the same regardless of the credits proposed. Students may not earn credits through independent research while completing their long paper requirement.
The petition must include the following:
- why the ARW requirement cannot be satisfied through a seminar or other long-paper course (i.e. why is an independent long paper necessary);
- a description of the topic;
- the reason for interest in the topic;
- the extent and type of research anticipated;
- previous work completed in the subject area;
- identification of a subject matter expert with whom the student will consult (which could be a faculty member); and
- a description of the written product that will be produced.
If approved, the independent long paper must meet all other ARW requirements set forth in this section.
In addition, students completing their ARW requirement through an independent long paper will be required to complete online modules on useful topics for satisfying the requirement, such as research and topic selection, as assigned by their faculty supervisor.
Regardless of form or genre, ARW papers shall ordinarily be at least 8,500 words including footnotes. This requirement is meant to ensure that the project is substantial enough to measure and develop the five competencies identified above and to provide a summative writing experience for the student. Beyond the length requirement, formats will vary according to context and should be appropriate to the genre of the writing project. So, for example, essays should generally adhere to law review style conventions, while briefs must adhere to good citation practices and the relevant jurisdiction’s filing rules. Prior to the first draft, the student and supervising faculty shall identify the appropriate format for the paper.
Writing Process and Deadlines
Unless the supervising faculty member requires otherwise, the paper is required to be written in the following stages:
Students should expect significant feedback from their faculty supervisors at each of these stages.
Missed deadlines may be taken into account in grading, particularly if the student does not obtain an extension until after the deadline has passed. Final papers are due no later than the last day of class for the semester. An extension of the final due date must be requested in advance and must be approved by the instructor. Students requesting a change should complete a “Request for Extension” form and submit this form to the Dean of Student Affairs and Student Life. This form can be found on the Office of the Registrar Forms webpage.
After the ARW paper is completed, the student should fill out and have the supervising faculty member sign an Advanced Research & Writing Certification form available on the Office of the Registrar Forms webpage. The signed form must be submitted to the Registrar in order for the ARW requirement to be satisfied.