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JD Writing Requirement: Starting

This guide provides students with resources and information that support them in completing the Berkeley Law writing requirement.

How to Use the Writing Requirement Guide

This guide is designed to provide advice and support to students at any stage of completing the Berkeley Law writing requirement. This includes:‚Äč

  • Understanding the requirement options
  • A how-to for preemption verification
  • Tips and tricks for selecting a topic
  • Strategies for organizing research
  • Guidance for developing a topic
  • Avenues for future publication

Though the guide offers an array of resources, both internal and external, schedule an appointment with a research librarian to discuss and tailor your research approach. 

What Is the "Writing Requirement"?

The writing requirement is a mandatory element of the Juris Doctor curriculum and must be completed during the third, fourth, or fifth semester of the program. 

There is great flexibility in choosing how to satisfy the writing requirement: students may choose one or more writing experiences consistent with their interests and career goals, and any member of the instructional law staff holding the title of professor (including full, assistant, adjunct, clinical, emeriti, and visiting professors) or lecturer may provide supervision. Qualifying courses may include seminars, clinics, and skills classes, so long as the instructor certifies that the course includes a rigorous writing experience for those who elect to write a paper.

Option 1

Completion of two courses that are at least two units each and that include a rigorous research and writing experience under the supervision of a member of the faculty. The Option 1 writing experience may consist of a single written work or a series of substantial written projects. Please see the Academic Rules Appendix B for details. 

Option 2

Completion of a single course or sequence of courses that include a rigorous writing and research experience under the supervision of a member of the faculty, which results in a single written work, or, in clinics a series of written work, that equals at least 30 pages in length.

Students may also satisfy the Option 2 requirements through a 299 course that results in a single work of at least 30 pages. Law 299 consists of individual research and writing projects conducted under the active supervision of a member of the faculty.