Advanced Writing Requirement (AWR)

Advanced Writing Requirement for Students

An “AWR” is a requirement for graduation at Seton Hall Law. As its name suggests, an “Advanced Writing Requirement” is designed to build on both research and writing skills students first encountered in 1L Introduction to Lawyering . The resultant student work product is typically a sophisticated analysis of a current legal question. It not only satisfies academic standards but can play an important role in job placement because a successful effort will make the writer an expert in the topic addressed.

How to Write a Student Article
Eugene Volokh, Professor of Law - UCLA School of Law

Dictionaries/ Thesauri/Compilations of Quotations
Oxford English Dictionary - The Definitive Source on the English Language
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
Roget's Thesaurus
John Bartlett "Familiar Quotations"

Editing & Proofreading
University of North Carolina Writing Center

Getting Grammar On-Line English Grammar

Lexis Interactive Citation Workshop
Cornell Law School - Introduction to Basic Legal Citation

Read the Plagiarism Memo written by Professor Charles A. Sullivan.

Certification and Requirements

Minimum Requirements for Papers for Credit

The following requirements shall apply to papers written for a class of two or more credits in which students are required to write a research paper which will account for at least 60% of the student's final grade. These requirements are in addition to any other requirements imposed by the professor.

  1. Topic Approval. The proposed topic for the paper must be approved by the professor. In addition, at the time the topic is approved, the student must provide the professor with a description of all written projects previously worked on by the student, in higher education or during the course of employment, which are related to the proposed topic. The professor may consider this information in deciding whether to approve the topic, how to evaluate the project, or for any other purpose deemed relevant by the professor.

  2. Paper Requirements. The paper must exhibit substantial research and analysis that has substantial impact on the law or legal system. It should be at least twenty-five pages in length. It should include extensive footnotes that comply with the Blue Book or another citation system approved by the instructor. The paper should rely on multiple sources. It may be based on empirical or other research rather than or in addition to more traditional legal research, provided the professor approves of the project, and provided the overall tenor of the paper is legal.

  3. Outline and Draft Required. The student must submit an outline and at least one preliminary draft to the professor. The outline and draft shall each be evaluated by the professor and returned to the student in sufficient time to permit the student to incorporate the professor's comments.

  4. Advance Legal Writing Requirement. For papers which are intended to satisfy the advanced legal writing requirement, the professor must agree that the topic is appropriate for advanced legal writing credit. After completion of the paper, the professor must certify to the registrar that the paper satisfies the advanced legal writing requirement. At the option of the professor, this certification may be based on revisions which are made after the student has received a final grade in the seminar. Revisions made after the conclusion of the seminar may not result in any change in the final grade.

  5. Credit in Two Classes. A paper written for one class may also be used for credit in a second class being taken simultaneously, if both faculty members agree in advance. Such paper must evidence extraordinary work meriting the award of the total number of credits to be earned.

  6. Limits on credit. No paper or any significant part thereof may be used (i) for credit in multiple classes not being taken simultaneously; (ii) for credit in a class and for journal participation; (iii) for credit in a class and credit for any internship or clinic work; (iv) for credit in a class and for independent research; or (v) for credit in a moot court competition and in a class or independent research. This prohibition shall not be construed to prohibit joint projects by two or more students, if approved by the faculty member(s) involved, or to prevent a student from including work from another project in a paper, so long as credit is not awarded based on the work from the other project.

  7. Final grade. In a class where a single paper accounts for 60% or more of the final grade, a professor may base up to 40% of the student's final grade on any other permissible grading method.

Independent Research Approval Form

Cover Sheet

All papers require a cover sheet to be included when submitting to professor.  Click here for a sample cover sheet.

Picking a Topic

Students who need help with picking a topic should contact their professor.

Sample Papers

To see the kinds of papers fellow students have submitted, visit Law School Student Scholarship in the Rodino Law Library’s eRepository.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn about what questions students ask related to the Advanced Writing Requirement here.

Writing Contests for Law Students / Search for External Writing Competitions

Search for currently available writing contests here.