Government Lawyer: Semester in Washington Clinical Seminar

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Spring 2013 Course
3 classroom credits

By Permission: This course and its clinic require permission of the instructor.
Application Deadline: August 17, 2012.
Early Add/Drop Deadline: December 7, 2012 for Winter-Spring clinical students. January 18, 2013 for Spring clinical students.
Co-requisite Clinic: Government Lawyer Semester in Washington Clinic, either the Winter-Spring clinic (9 credits) or Spring clinic (6 credits).
LLM Students: Since this clinic requires a semester away, LLM students are not eligible to enroll.

Students spend the entire Winter and Spring terms (except for Spring break) in Washington, D.C. working as legal interns in a variety of federal offices while taking an evening course on government lawyering. Students are required to work 40 hours per week in the Winter, and at least 30 hours a week in the Spring semester. Clinical work exposes students to the distinct forms of lawyering practiced by government attorneys in diverse policy positions in the federal government. Placements are principally in federal government offices where lawyers conduct research and provide legal advice and assistance on policy, legislative or regulatory matters, rather than investigating and litigating cases.

Students attend an evening class twice a week during the Spring semester. Readings and classroom discussions will be supplemented by guest speaker events and visits to government offices on several occasions throughout the semester. Case studies will supplement the core readings. The course will focus on the role of the government lawyer in policymaking and the many forces that influence the work of policymaking generally, and the government lawyer's part in that process specifically. The course will examine the skills required of government attorneys in policymaking, the unique ethical, legal, and moral issues they face, and the impact of politics and ideology on their work. The course will explore the role of think tanks and interest groups on policymaking, how these organizations have proliferated in Washington over time, and how their work and their influence have changed. The course will look at the discourse in policymaking in Washington, whether it has changed, and the implications of the state of discourse for the government lawyer involved in policymaking, legal advice, and advocacy. Finally, the course will explore the process of policymaking, the use of data and research in policymaking, and the role of the bureaucracy. The course will include student discussions of their experiences in their clinical placements. Students will be required to come to class prepared to discuss relevant elements of their work each week. Guest speakers, including government lawyers, issue advocates, and think tank scholars, will visit the class periodically throughout the semester. Students will be expected to research the background of the guests and participate in class interviews to explore their work. The class may also include visits to government offices to examine, for example, how data used in the policymaking process is actually collected and synthesized. A course paper relating to the student's work or to classroom subjects will be required in lieu of an examination.

This course fulfills the Professional Responsibility requirement.

To view Program details, students may access the Semester in Washington iSite, which contains detailed information about last year's syllabus, course requirements, events, funding, housing, placements, etc.

Enrollment is by application and limited to 2L and 3L students. Students must be enrolled full-time at Harvard Law School in 2012-2013 to apply. Interested students can apply by submitting an application form, current resume, academic transcript, and a writing sample of no more than 10 pages. Apply through an Subject Areas: Government Structure & Function , Legal Profession, Legal Ethics & Professional Responsibility , Procedure & Practice .