The Program on the Legal Profession has created Student Empirical Research Grants (SERG) designed to enhance and contribute to practice-related student research at Harvard Law School. The fellowships include access to PLP’s research resources, the opportunity to meet and discuss research with faculty and peers, and financial support to enable students to conduct empirical research and writing projects that might otherwise be cost-prohibitive.
SERG funding typically ranges from $1,500 to 2,500 and can be used to cover the costs associated with conducting empirical research, including survey design and administration, travel costs for site visits, interviews, other field research and related out-of-pocket expenses. The research project must be empirical in nature and must study the legal profession or a related aspect of the delivery of professional services. PLP Student Empirical Research Grants can be aggregated with other funding, such as winter term research grants.
Fellowships are offered throughout the academic year, and applications will be
considered on a rolling basis.
Download the application.
Questions? Email us.
Recent SERG recipients include:
Netta’s research examines how judges can encourage compliance with the law where law and religion conflict. Her study, which focuses on the education system in Israel, is based on in-depth interviews with religious educators and school principals as well as controlled experiments. The project aims to identify the factors that affect compliance in conflicted situations and attitudes towards legal decisions. The project then aims to develop practical tools for judges to mitigate the conflict between law and religion and increase compliance with their decisions.
Joe is studied the use of alternative fee arrangements in large law firm litigation matters by interviewing and gathering quantitative data from large law firms that are part of the preferred provider networks of five large companies. His study seeks to assess the effectiveness of varying alternative billing approaches.
Yan’s project aims to empirically examine the use of alternative billing arrangements by Chinese companies to purchase their legal service and the reasons behind their choices. Her project will particularly explore the impact of the unique legal, culture and social conditions in China on the choice of billing arrangements between Chinese companies and their international service providers.
Along with an Indian law student collaborator Aditya Singh, Jonathan is investigating academic integrity and student evaluation in Indian law schools by surveying law students and interviewing students and faculty to quantify the prevalence of plagiarism and other academic misconduct in Indian law schools, identify its causes, and determine how law schools presently evaluate students. This project will then develop proposals for law schools and their regulators regarding how best to promote academic integrity and improve student evaluation.
Kurt studied legal education and the talent pipeline for legal process outsourcing firms in India, using survey and interview data from major LPOs as a starting point to track graduates in the market. His work collected data to illuminate recruitment practices at Indian law schools and to provide perspectives from recent law graduates on their legal training and career options. His study helped us gain understanding of how Indian legal talent is moving on a larger scale, and to contextualize legal education in new ways, including the nature of the professional development provided and the market’s ability to absorb new lawyers.