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HLS Dissertations, Theses, and JD Papers

Guide to finding Harvard Law School dissertations, LL.M. papers, and JD papers in HOLLIS and elsewhere.

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Introduction

This is a guide to finding Harvard Law School (“HLS”) student-authored works held by the Library and in online collections. This guide covers HLS S.J.D Dissertations, LL.M. papers, J.D. third-year papers, seminar papers, and prize papers.

There have been changes in the HLS degree requirements for written work. The library’s collection practices and catalog descriptions for these works has varied. Please note that there are gaps in the library’s collection and for J.D. papers, few of these works are being collected any longer.

If we have an S.J.D. dissertation or LL.M. thesis, we have two copies. One is kept in the general collection and one in the Red Set, an archival collection of works authored by HLS affiliates. If we have a J.D. paper, we have only one copy, kept in the Red Set. Red Set copies are last resort copies available only by advance appointment in Historical and Special Collections.

Some papers have not been processed by library staff. If HOLLIS indicates a paper is “ordered-received” please use this form to have library processing completed.

S.J.D. Dissertations

The HLS Doctor of Juridical Science (“S.J.D.”) program began in 1910.  The library collection of these works is not comprehensive. Exceptions are usually due to scholars’ requests to withhold Library deposit. 

LL.M. Papers, LL.M. Theses

The Master of Laws (“LL.M.”) degree has been awarded since 1923. Originally, the degree required completion of a major research paper, akin to a thesis. Since 1993, most students have the option of writing the LL.M. "short paper."  This is a 25-page (or longer) paper advised by a faculty supervisor or completed in conjunction with a seminar.  Fewer LL.M. candidates continue to write the more extensive "long-paper." LL.M. candidates holding J.D.s from the U.S. must write the long paper. See the current explanation of the LL.M. written work requirement for the master of laws.

The library generally holds HLS LL.M. long papers and short papers. In recent years, we require author release in order to do so. In HOLLIS, no distinction is made between types of written work created in satisfaction of the LL.M. degree; all are described as LL.M. thesis. Though we describe them as thesis, the law school refers to them solely as papers or in earlier years, essays. HOLLIS records indicate the number of pages, so at the record level, it is possible to distinguish long papers.

HLS LL.M. Papers are sometimes available in DASH and Hein's Legal Dissertations and Theses. See descriptions above.

 

J.D. Papers

The HLS J.D. written work requirement has changed over time. The degree formerly required a substantial research paper comparable in scope to a law review article written under faculty supervision, the "third year paper." Since 2008, J.D. students have the option of using two shorter works instead.  See the current J.D. written work requirement.

Of all those written, the library holds relatively few third-year papers. They were not actively collected but accepted by submission from faculty advisors who deemed a paper worthy of institutional retention. The papers are described in HOLLIS as third year papers, seminar papers, and student papers. Sometimes this distinction was valid, but not always. The faculty deposit tradition more or less ended in 2006, though the possibility of deposit still exists. See the explanation of the faculty deposit program.

HLS Third Year Papers in HOLLIS

To refine these search results by topic, faculty advisor, seminar or date, click Add a New Line.

Prize Papers

HLS has many endowed prizes for student papers and essays. There are currently 16 different writing prizes. See this complete descriptive list with links to lists of winners from 2009 to present. Note that there is not always a winner each year for each award. Prize winners are announced each year in the commencement pamphlet.

The Library has not specifically collected prize papers over the years but has added copies when possible. The HOLLIS record for the paper will usually indicate its status as a prize paper. The most recent prize paper was added to the collection in 2006.

Addison Brown Prize
Animal Law & Policy Program Writing Prize
Victor Brudney Prize
Davis Polk Legal Profession Paper Prize
Roger Fisher and Frank E.A. Sander Prize
Yong K. Kim ’95 Memorial Prize
Islamic Legal Studies Program Prize on Islamic Law
Laylin Prize
LGBTQ Writing Prize
Mancini Prize
Irving Oberman Memorial Awards
John M. Olin Prize in Law and Economics
Project on the Foundations of Private Law Prize
Sidney I. Roberts Prize Fund
Klemens von Klemperer Prize
Stephen L. Werner Prize

HLS J.D. Papers in Other Collections

Some J.D. students have deposited their work in DASH.

Many papers on food and drug law written in conjunction with Professor Hutt's seminar are available from 1995 forward in DASH and in subject arrangement Food & Drug Law: An Electronic Book of Student Papers.

Submitting Your Paper to an Online Collection

The following information about online repositories is not a recommendation or endorsement to participate.

Sponsored by Harvard University’s Office for Scholarly Communication, this is an open repository for research papers by members of the Harvard community. See more information about the project. 

Some HLS students have submitted their degree paper to DASH.  If you would like to submit your paper, you may use this authorization form or contact June Casey, Librarian for Open Access Initiatives and Scholarly Communication at Harvard Law School.

Other Sources for Student Papers beyond Harvard

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