June 17, 2002 


Beginning with the Winter Term of 1994, I have taught a full course on food and drug law for second year, third year, and masters students at Harvard Law School.  The class meets three hours each morning, five days a week, for the first three weeks of January.  The students take only one course during Winter Term.  Some forty to seventy students have taken the food and drug law course each year.  My overwhelmingly positive experience the first year has been documented in Peter Barton Hutt, Food and Drug Law:  Journal of an Academic Adventure, 46 J. Leg. Educ. 1 (March 1996). *  That experience has now been replicated over several years not only at Harvard but also when I taught the same course during Spring Term in 1998 at Stanford Law School. 

The first year that I taught the course, I gave the students a choice between a take-home examination and a paper on any food and drug law subject.  Roughly ninety percent of the class chose the paper.  Beginning in 1995, therefore, the examination option was dropped and a paper became mandatory.  During 1994 through 1996, I set gradually increasing page limitations for the paper.  Beginning in 1997, there has been no page limitation of any kind.  During the first few years, there was an extraordinarily brief time available to prepare a paper -- it was due shortly after the end of the three-week course.   During the past few years, I have extended the time for submission of the paper by several weeks and have given liberal extensions beyond that upon request.  Over time, I have come to appreciate that page limitations and deadlines constrain scholarship for no academic purpose, and I have thus sought to eliminate all barriers to student creativity and initiative.  Regardless of the rules (or increasing lack thereof) at any time, the papers have been of exceptionally high quality. 

Harvard Law School requires the preparation of a substantial third year paper as a condition for graduation.  Some students in the food and drug law course have combined their paper for the course with the third year paper, resulting in a major analysis of a subject.  Some have also written separate third year papers on food and drug law issues.  Masters students, often from abroad, have prepared both course papers and combined course-LL.M. papers. 

Throughout my teaching experience at Harvard, I have emphasized the importance of scholarship and publication not just during a studentís academic years but in later life as well.  Some of the papers for the food and drug law course have been published, but the vast majority have not.  As students leave law school, not surprisingly they focus on their initial jobs and not on publishing their law school papers.  These papers thus gather dust in attics and basements throughout the country. 

Because of the high quality of the student papers, I resolved to edit a book of the best Harvard Law School student papers on food and drug law.  I borrowed this idea from my son, Peter Barton Hutt II, who had founded with his roommate a student publication to publish outstanding student papers at Yale College during his undergraduate years there.  As I considered the matter further, however, I realized that it would require a tremendous commitment of time and effort to select the best papers and edit them into a standardized format.  It was clear that I could not undertake this commitment and continue to teach and practice law as well. 

At a dinner in New Jersey in December 1998, in response to my description of this dilemma the person seated next to me, Kathleen Trainor, suggested that I consider an electronic book rather than a printed book.  The simplicity and flexibility of that approach was immediately apparent.  It eliminates any need for paper selection and editing, permitted an ever-expanding compilation of student papers as they are prepared during future years, and can be implemented on a yearly basis. 

All papers on food and drug law that I have received from Harvard Law School students or that I will receive in the future have been or will be included for publication in this electronic book if the student consents. Many reflect original research that is extremely valuable to the field.  Some are in final publishable form.  Others are more in the nature of working papers.

In order to guide the consistent development of this electronic book I have established the following governing principles: 

  1. The copyright of each paper remains in the student author. 

  2. A paper is included in the book only if the student gives consent. 

  3. Each paper is included as it was presented to me for grading, without editing or change of any kind. 

  4. If a paper has been published in the legal literature, the citation to the published article is substituted for the paper. 

  5. The full name of the author, the title of the paper, and the year that the paper was written is shown for each paper. 

  6. The book is organized into chapters and, in most instances, subchapters.  Within each chapter or subchapter, the papers are placed chronologically, with the oldest papers first followed by those in subsequent years.  Within each year, the papers are placed alphabetically by the authorís last name at the time the student prepared the paper.  A paper in satisfaction of the third year written work requirement is marked by an asterisk (*) in front of the studentís name. 

  7. Many of the papers cover more than one subject and thus could be included under more than one chapter of the book.  In each case, I have made a judgment with respect to the primary focus of the paper.  All readers should thoroughly explore the book, however, because many of the papers exhibit a wide diversity of coverage. 

  8. Each paper begins with a paragraph-length abstract.  For 1994-2001, these abstracts were prepared by student research assistants.  Beginning in 2002, most of the abstracts have been prepared by the author.  The key words in the abstracts are searchable terms. 

  9. The book is published on the Harvard Law School website.  It is freely available to anyone who wishes to access it.  I was not able to obtain an electronic copy of many papers submitted before 1998; a .pdf version of such papers is available upon request.

  10. The proper citation to a paper in this book is (for example):  Thomas Colby, What Would Happen If Salt Were Invented Today?: An Hypothetical Journey Through The Regulation Of Food And Food Additives (1995), in Peter Barton Hutt, ed., Food and Drug Law:  An Electronic Book of Student Papers.

  11. An increasing number of recent papers (post-2000) have been submitted with graphic images. Some of these papers cannot be stored on the database unless the graphics have been deleted. We can supply a .pdf version of the unredacted paper upon request.

This book will continue to grow into the indefinite future, as more papers are received each year. This will give further impetus and long-deserved recognition to student scholarship in this important field. 

I wish to thank the staff of the Harvard Law Library for their work in the initial stage of this effort and my daughter, Sarah Hutt Ludington, for her work in carrying it through to completion.   

In 2011, Harvard replaced the LEDA database with a new DASH database. Thanks to the help of Michelle Pearse, all of the student papers have now been transferred to the new system.  Any questions should be directed to me at phutt@cov.com or (202) 662-5522.

Peter Barton Hutt


* The original version of that journal, from which the published version was extracted, is included as an appendix to this electronic book. 

Title PageOutline of ContentsTable of ContentsAppendix

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