In a crowded law school landscape, Stanford Law stands apart.
At home on the campus of one of the world’s leading research universities, Stanford Law offers unmatched opportunities. Our approach to education is distinctly student-centric, defined by the needs and ambitions of future graduates and customizable to each individual student. Create your own joint degree, invent a new course, explore law’s intersection with the most dynamic disciplines of the day — the possibilities are virtually limitless. And the advantages extend beyond law school, resulting in the practice-ready skills employers demand, better chances at prestigious clerkships, a high bar passage rate and support when you’re ready to launch a career.
We are known for our collegial culture, intimate and egalitarian. In this close-knit community, collaboration and the open exchange of ideas are essential to life and learning. Students, faculty, staff, alumni — all support and inspire each other to explore, excel and contribute to the world through law. Classes are small. Seminars in faculty homes, reading groups and team-driven clinics make for an experience that is intense, supportive and challenging.
At SLS, we are driven by a passion for new ideas and a commitment to transformative solutions. True to our roots in Silicon Valley and our Stanford heritage, we focus on the future — not the past. Experimentation, exploration, the translation of new knowledge into entrepreneurial solutions: All are in our DNA. So is interdisciplinary learning, pioneered at Stanford. SLS faculty stay close to the pulse of law as it is practiced in the 21st century and guide our academic program to address emerging opportunities in the profession. With alumni and students as partners, they champion law as an instrument of positive change on scales local, regional, national and global.
Informing tenants of their legal rights
Stanford students, along with either Juliet Brodie or Lauren Zack from the Stanford Community Law Clinic (CLC), staffed a clinic at the Mountain View Public Library where each week, city employees held an Eviction Help Center to help tenants apply for COVID-19 emergency rental assistance. The law students, along with a supervisor, were available to answer questions related to legal papers, including eviction notices residents may have received.read more
Stanford Law’s exceptional faculty attracts students with a passion for learning and a track record of academic success. Twenty-five percent of faculty are members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. One in five students arrives with an advanced degree.
With only 4.6 students for every faculty member (and just 30 students in a typical first-year small-section course) immersive education includes plenty of opportunities to chart your own path with support from your mentor. Possibilities for joint degrees are virtually limitless.
About 99.5 percent of SLS graduates are placed in jobs within nine months of graduating or pursuing an advanced degree. Alumni can be found in 77 countries, 50 states and Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, Mariana Islands, the U.S Virgin Islands, Military (Europe and Pacific) and the Marshall Islands.
Law from the Beginning
In 1848, Leland Stanford was admitted to the New York Bar. In 1885, Stanford employed his legal expertise to draft the “Grant Founding and Endowing the Leland Stanford Junior University,” where law, he declared, would have a central place. In 1891, more than 1,600 years after the birth of legal education in Rome, Stanford University opened its doors.
#2 in ‘52?
Among SLS graduating classes, 1952 was a very good year, with William Rehnquist, LLB ’52, and Sandra Day O’Connor, LLB ‘52—the only Supreme Court Justices in U.S. history to come from the same law school class. As the story goes, Rehnquist ranked #1 and O’Connor ranked #3. But who was #2 in this particularly stellar year? Several classmates claimed the spot. Despite many searches by many parties, no official records have been found, so the mystery lives on.
In 1984, a group of students founded SLS’s first clinic, the East Palo Alto Community Law Project, reborn in 2003 as the Stanford Community Law Clinic. Early on, SLS did not contribute financially to the project, but several administrators provided support in other ways. One legal luminary volunteered incognito: Retired California Chief Justice Rose Bird told the staff her name but nothing about her legal expertise. So “Rose,” as she was known, was assigned to the copy machine until Dean Paul Brest alerted the staff to her identity.
Birth of Silicon Valley
Don Hoefler, writing for Electronic News in 1971, coined the term “Silicon Valley” to refer to the area in which Stanford happens to be centered. The next year, Fenwick & West LLP, a pioneer in technology law, opened its doors. Many SLS alumni have worked there and at other key Silicon Valley law firms, venture capital firms and startups. Showcasing SLS’s impact, a 2005 cover of Stanford Lawyer magazine featured “Technology’s Field Generals”—general counsel at Microsoft, Google, Cisco, eBay, Yahoo!, Qualcomm, Autodesk, and Oracle — all SLS alumni.
Leading Environmental Law
SLS’s involvement in the environmental movement began around the same time lawmakers were adopting the country’s first environmental legislation. In 1969, SLS launched the Stanford Environmental Law Society, the first student organization of its kind. The Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy Program was established in 1993, and has significantly influenced the national discussion ever since. In 1997, SLS founded its Environmental Law Clinic, which has engaged students in major legislation and policy reform efforts. The Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, created in 2010, is working to create a sustainable energy future.
An Ideal Environment for Learning Law
Modern facilities, vibrant intellectual life, the iconic beauty of Stanford University, a climate that makes it easy to get around year-round — it all adds up to an ideal environment for collaboration, intensive study and interdisciplinary exploration. In this setting, Stanford Law students thrive, reaping the benefits of an intimate learning community within a leading university campus.