Click a question below to "jump" to the answer, or simply scroll down:
For example, rather than ask for a 50-state survey of a legal issue, invite students to identify a smaller number of states with different approaches to the issue, analyze the effectiveness of each regime, and identify best practices. Or, instead of asking whether testimony can be compelled based on a unique fact pattern, request a paper on whether compelling testimony is ever permissible for a certain class of witnesses.
What should the 100-word summary include?
Your 100-word summary is all that students will see when reviewing the database, so it will generate student interest to the extent it appears enticing. State the problem you want to address, so students see its impact on real people, then state clearly the legal research questions to be addressed.
What should the extended summary include?
Only students actually writing on your topic will receive the extended summary. It is not required that you provide such information, but in most instances, the more guidance you give, the more relevant the resulting paper will be to your practice. Some suggestions include:
Are all papers produced through ACS ResearchLink published?
Not necessarily. When a student picks your topic, you will certainly receive the resulting paper. The student may also submit the paper for publication in her school's law review or journal, some other publication, and/or in the ACS ResearchLink online library. However, if you wish to delay publication in any public venue, you may do so by indicating on the topic submission form a delayed publication date -- as soon as next year, or as long as five years from now. Please note, however, that distant publication dates will likely preclude students writing for law reviews and journals, who will generally seek topics for notes they hope to publish.
What is the ACS ResearchLink Library?
ACS will establish a searchable repository for those papers meeting minimum quality standards resulting from ACS ResearchLink topics. By making student research available to the advocacy community, ACS ResearchLink will provide an innovative scholarly resource for policymakers and practicing civil and criminal justice lawyers.
Must topics relate to federal or constitutional law, or involve a major public policy issue?
ACS ResearchLink is intended to be a resource for a wide range of both state and federal issues. While the topic does not have to be on a federal or constitutional issue, it must be sufficiently complex to justify academic credit, address issues of broad impact that aren't relevant only to a specific case, and require legal analysis.
When are students most likely to be looking for research topics? How long will it take to receive the completed research paper?
Students will be working on an academic calendar. As a result, they will typically seek topics at the beginning of each semester -- in August and September, then again in January and February -- to be completed in December or by June.
Some topics will involve different legal analysis depending on the student's ideological orientation. How will I know the student's perspective?
You won't necessarily know the student's ideological orientation. However, ACS student members will be the most likely to seek topics through ResearchLink and, in any event, you're likely to learn something about the student's perspective in your initial consultation. However, because the ACS ResearchLink topic database will be available to all interested law students, students interested in your issue may come from a variety of perspectives, and we hope you'll find any extensive research and analysis helpful. The overall mission of ACS is to foster ideas and writing on pressing legal issues, and advance a progressive vision of law, the Constitution and public policy. This perspective will ultimately impact which papers are chosen for publication in the ACS ResearchLink Library.
I have a research question I need answered in the next two weeks. Can ACS ResearchLink help me?
No. If you have immediate research needs, you should pursue the usual pro bono channels in your community. Your region may have a pro bono program that utilizes law students for more traditional quick turnaround research needs. Click here to find information about pro bono resources we hope you will find helpful. If you are aware of other pro bono programs you think we should add to our list, please send them to: ResearchLink@ACSLaw.org.
I have a research question that is specific to the facts of a particular case, and not relevant to other cases. Should I submit this to ACS ResearchLink?
No. For these research needs, you should pursue the usual pro bono channels in your community. Your region may have a pro bono program that utilizes law students for more traditional quick turnaround research needs. Click here to find information about pro bono resources we hope you will find helpful. If you are aware of other pro bono programs you think we should add to our list, please send them to: ResearchLink@ACSLaw.org.
How can I ensure that the paper I get is the paper I need?
You will increase your chances of getting a research paper that addresses the points you care most about by:
However, ACS ResearchLink does not require that you engage with the student researcher at this level. If you are satisfied that any background analysis will be helpful, or you're contributing a topic you believe generally needs greater attention, you can request that student contact be limited to the initial consultation.
How can I make sure my topic gets selected by a student?
Unfortunately, you can't. And since this is a new project, we are not in a position to offer predictions based on past experience. However, if you have 4 or 5 ideas on the back-burner, we encourage you to submit them all, as having more topics in the database will increase the likelihood that one or more will be selected.
What are the ultimate goals of ACS ResearchLink?
ACS has an ambitious agenda for ACS ResearchLink that includes the following:
To whom can I address further questions?
We are happy to address any questions you might have. Simply email ResearchLink@ACSLaw.org, letting us know your question and how best to reach you. Alternatively, feel free to call ACS at 202-393-6181.