Legislative Policy & Drafting Clinic
Gain an insider’s perspective on lawmaking.
Through a combination of classwork and fieldwork, you will learn the theoretical and practical aspects of law-making bodies: how statutory law is created through a variety of case examples; Constitutional limits to law-making; the ethical responsibilities for those involved in the process; and how law makers anticipate and shape the way the public and courts will interpret their work product. This one-semester program is offered to both 2Ls and 3Ls, with priority going to 3Ls. The clinic is offered in the fall and spring semesters.
Legislative Policy & Drafting: Clinic Option (C): LAW JD 786
THIS CLASS IS RESTRICTED to students who have formally applied to and been accepted to the Legislative Policy & Drafting Clinic. Students learn about the law-making process through coursework and hands-on experience working with a client seeking to advance a bill or project through the state legislature. Students work on several projects during the semester that highlight different aspects of the legislative process, allowing students to relate and test the theories discussed in class to real life situations. The in-class seminar covers subjects that affect the legislative process including: constitutional interpretation by legislatures, theories of representation, legislative organization and rules, lobbying, legislative oversight powers, and legislature-executive agency relationships. The clinic instructor works with students to select projects in the students' specific areas of interest, if any. In particular, students interested in business and tax, environment law, or health law, may specialize in those areas for the full semester. NOTE: This clinic counts toward the 6 credit Experiential Learning requirement. GRADING NOTICE: This course does not offer the CR/NC/H option.FALL 2023: LAW JD 786 A1 , Sep 6th to Dec 6th 2023
Recent Student Projects
Recently, Legislative Policy & Drafting Clinic students have worked on bills to:
- Reduce corporate tax haven abuse
- Provide long-term care to elders and disabled citizens
- Expunge the records of juvenile delinquents and criminal offenders
- Provide improved workforce training for the unemployed
- Ban the use of harmful chemicals in furniture, carpeting, and clothing
- Reform the scope of professional practice
- Reform economic development tax incentives
In addition, the Clinic conducts oversight projects to review whether existing statutes and government programs are functioning as intended. For example, Clinic students have assisted the Governor’s Commission on Corporate Taxation in reviewing the state’s corporate tax laws, and have reviewed the Gun Control Act of 1998 on behalf of the Joint Committee on Public Safety.
Finally, Clinic students work on the Legislative History Project. As an ongoing project of the clinic, students gather, organize, and put into context documentation related to recent substantive changes to the General Laws. This documentation includes testimony submitted to the relevant committees, speeches given on the floors of the Senate and House, and committee reports. These sources will then be posted on the web as a resource for anyone trying to understand or interpret Massachusetts statutes.
The Policy & Drafting Clinic is taught by Clinical Associate Professor of Law Sean J. Kealy.