Information regarding the SWR


The St. Thomas Law Student Handbook provides information regarding the Senior Writing Requirement (SWR):

    1. The student must submit a significant paper that is thoroughly researched and that reflects, independent thought and critical thinking on the part of the student writer. Factual reports fail to meet the standard. A student must be intellectually involved in his or her work product which should reflect analytical achievement and creativity. A simplistic case-by-case presentation of the law fails to meet the standard. Instead, a paper must include a synthesis.
    2. Students should aim to submit a paper of publishable quality. Minimally, the paper must reflect the quality of work expected of a first year associate or law clerk.
    3. The production of a paper will require not only an outline but a number of drafts. Though the final product should evidence excellence, the researching and writing process constitute equally important educational experiences and as a result, students will meet with faculty members mentoring their papers a number of times.
    4. It is difficult to establish exact quantitative standards but most papers will be at least thirty (30) pages in length with at least seventy (70) citations. All citations must be in the proper format.
    5. The writing requirement is not automatically satisfied by successfully completing the requirements of the seminar or by receiving a grade on a independent research project.
    6. The faculty member teaching the seminar or supervising an independent research project must certify to the Registrar that the student has fulfilled the writing requirement.
    7. The faculty member supervising the senior writing paper (whether in a seminar or as per-approved independent research project) will establish guidelines and deadlines for the submission of outlines, drafts, and the final paper.

In accordance with these guidelines, a professor must be able to certify that a student paper:

  • is a significant analytical paper
  • reflects substantial legal research
  • contains original thought
  • displays proper writing style, and
  • uses correct citation form.

You can find a copy of the certification form here.

FAQs regarding the SWR can be found here.