The Legislative Drafting Research Fund has an impressive record of accomplishment in the improvement of federal, state, and municipal lawmaking. Founded in 1911, the Fund may be regarded as the oldest "clinical" establishment in the Law School, employing students in its research and drafting projects. The work of the Fund is addressed to legislative problems of public importance, undertaken chiefly at the request of legislative committees, executive agencies, and private law-improvement organizations.
Students who participate in the Fund's work have a unique opportunity for learning about the legislative development of law while gaining experience and insight into legislative research and bill drafting. The Fund's current interests include such areas as federal government policy on technology and the environment; government policy in public health and the law; implications of scientific advances for the development of the law, particularly with reference to the current federal Human Genome Initiative to trace and map the entire human genetic inheritance; and interpretation and drafting of constitutions and statutes.
In recent years, the Fund has worked on:
- the revision of the New York City Charter
- legislation relating to ethics in state and local government and election law issues
- legislation and research relating to energy conservation and the uses of renewable resources for power production, and
- a Congressional study of the problem of compensation for victims of exposure to hazardous waste.
In the past, the Fund worked on a variety of projects, including:
- New York City's Health and Air Pollution Codes
- housing maintenance standards and enforcement in New York City
- air resources planning and control in Philadelphia's tri-state region
- medical malpractice no-fault systems
- legal treatment of alcoholics, and
- preparation of a model alcoholism and intoxication treatment law
Director: Professor Richard Briffault
There are two programs in other areas of Columbia University, as well as an overseas program, which might be of interest to graduate students. (None of these programs offers academic credit.)