LLM/SJD Weekly Seminar Information
(including instructions for the presentation)


The LLM/SJD weekly seminar is held at the Law School during the fall and spring semesters. The seminar is a chance for new and continuing LLM and SJD students to hear about each other's research efforts -- struggles and successes -- as well as to hear special presentations related to advance legal research and writing techniques. It is also a time to take a break from your research and get together with your program peers.

Location: A pre-determined room in the Law School. Please refer to the seminar schedule for dates, times, and locations. 

  • Regular attendance is expected as part of your LLM and SJD program. If you are unable to attend a seminar, please notify the Chair of the Graduate Programs Committee, Professor Asifa Quraishi-Landes.

The main purposes of the "work-in progress" presentations in the LLM/SJD seminar are:

  • To give each person a chance to talk about his or her research in front of a friendly audience composed of peers;
  • To give each person the experience of preparing a formal presentation to a group of other academically-minded people;
  • To give those in the “audience” a chance (1) to hear what others in the two research programs are doing, (2) to ask questions about others’ research, and (3) to exchange ideas about research projects.

Information and Instructions If Presenting 

Before the Presentation:  

At least three days before the day of your presentation: Send by email attachment to the other LLM and SJD students an “abstract” (brief summary) of your research project including the questions that you are trying to resolve and also a current outline of your research project. These will give the seminar students a brief introduction to your project and will help them be alert listeners as well as determine the questions that they may have about your research. The seminar students should print these and bring them to the seminar.

If you have specific questions about your presentation, please email the Graduate Programs Committee Chair, Professor Asifa Quraishi-Landes, in advance with your questions.  

At least one or two days before the day of your presentation: Prepare a handout of your presentation. The handout should be short -- no more than one page -- and should outline the important points that you will be covering in your presentation.  The Graduate Programs office will make copies of your handout if you request it. In this case, please email or bring a copy of the handout to the Graduate Programs office at least two days before your presentation. The office will follow-up once the handouts are ready.

During the Presentation:

On the day of your presentation: The Chair of the Graduate Programs Committee or another moderator will introduce you as the presenter. Make sure that everyone has received a copy of your handout. The presenter usually presents from the front of the classroom, talks either sitting or standing, and then asks for questions.  PLEASE - DO NOT READ YOUR PRESENTATION! WHEN A PRESENTER JUST READS, IT MAKES IT HARD FOR OTHERS TO FOLLOW AND TENDS TO BE NUMBING! You should know your material well enough so that you can talk through your presentation, referring to your notes occasionally as you present.

Timing of your presentation: Your presentation should be around 25 minutes. Focus on one area of your research project that you find especially interesting (do not try to cover everything). You should have about 20 minutes remaining for questions from the group and discussion of those questions, as well as a few minutes at the end of the class for announcements. The seminar itself is 55 minutes long.

Your presentation, a total of 25-30 minutes, should include a substantive part and a process part, as explained here:

  • For the substantive part: Briefly tell about your overall topic and the thesis you are trying to establish with your research (around 2-3 minutes). If you do not have a firm thesis yet, state what you think your thesis might be. Explain why you became interested in your research topic. Choose one area of your research that is of particular interest to you and make that be the focus of your presentation (around 15 minutes).
  • For the process part: Discuss what research approaches and sources you have used; say what has worked well and what has been a disappointment to you in the progress of your research. Talk about any surprises – especially pleasant ones – that have helped you to progress in your research. Research usually is not a smooth, straight line of progress; others are interested in hearing how you are approaching your research project. Tell the group what your future research and writing plans are. Allow about 5 minutes to talk about your research strategies, sources, and experience.

Following your presentation, you may ask the audience for their questions. You can also feel free to let the audience ask questions during your presentation. In either case, respond to the questions as best as you can. The idea is to encourage discussion as a result of your presentation. You should feel to ask questions to the group, if you wish.

After the Presentation:

Please email a short evaluation (1-3 paragraphs only) to the Graduate Programs Committee Chair, Professor Asifa Quraishi-Landes, to reflect on how you felt your presentation went. Include any comments that you think would be helpful for future presenters in their preparation.  

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