Academic Programs

How Legislative Policy & Drafting Clinics Work

Choosing a clinic

Drafters selected to the Legislative Policy & Drafting clinics choose one of four subject areas:

  • General Legislative Clinic - For 30 years, students in the General Legislative Clinic (formerly Legislative Services) have designed, drafted and evaluated legislation on the leading issues of the day. More course information.
  • Intellectual Property Legislative Clinic - Students design, draft and evaluate legislation on cutting-edge issues in intellectual property law. Problems include copyright, patent and trademark protection and their implications for fair use, privacy, free speech, international trade and development and scientific research. More course information.
  • Health & Environmental Legislative Clinic - Students design, draft and evaluate legislation on rapidly-evolving issues in health law, including problems of privacy, patient protection, new technology and industry reorganization. More course information.
  • African Issues - Students produce high quality research reports and draft bill language in support of the African Parliamentary Knowledge Network (APKN). More course information.

For a representative list of past projects that students have worked on in the Legislative Policy & Drafting Clinics, please click here.

Drafters in the Intellectual Property Legislative Clinic and Health & Environmental Law Legislative Clinic may count the clinic toward the Concentration in Intellectual Property Law or the Concentration in Health Law.

Seminar

During the first half of the semester, drafters in all of the Legislative Clinics (General, IP, Health & Environmental, and African Issues) meet together in a twice-weekly seminar on policy analysis, research methods and legislative drafting techniques.

Critique groups

During the second half of the semester, the clinics separate and meet in small critique groups that bring together drafters, editors and faculty. Critique group members review the first draft of each report and bill. The group advises each drafter on researching facts and law, presenting a persuasive analysis and drafting clear, enforceable legislation. Many drafters have reported that their analytical skills and writing style improved significantly through the critique group process.

Editorial support

The Legislative Clinics provide each drafter with a student editor selected from former drafters in the program. Editors are selected based on their work as drafters and their enthusiasm for advising drafters, and may serve for one or two semesters. Editors advise their drafters throughout every phase of the analysis and drafting process.For specific course information for editors, click here.

Cert through the Legislative Clinics

Satisfactory completion of the research report satisfies the Upperclass Writing Requirement. During the semester, each drafter receives in-depth comments on the research report from a critique group of faculty, editors and drafters, as well as extensive support from an individual editor.

Credits

One semester (spring) – six graded credits. After completing the drafting semester, a student also may be selected by the clinic faculty to serve as an editor for one or two semesters. Editors receive two graded credits per semester.