Law, Economics and Business

Where law intersects with business and economics, the most important capital is intellectual. With its renowned faculty and a global, entrepreneurial perspective that melds cutting-edge theory with pragmatic business experience—in the heart of Silicon Valley, at the edge of the Pacific Rim—Stanford Law has the capital and energy to bring this legal frontier to life for students.

Advantages of Location

Stanford Law’s relationship with Silicon Valley provides a portal to knowledge and experience for students interested in how law, economics, and business come together. Add access to the intellectual resources of Stanford University, a position on the Pacific Rim, and proximity to Latin America—two of the world’s most important markets—and you’ll understand why Stanford is the ideal campus for exploring the intersection of law, economics, and business.

Geography may not be destiny, but if you are interested in law and business or economics, it helps to be in the heart of Silicon Valley and part of a global network of scholars—the ideal environment for learning about the latest developments in law and business. Whether it’s discovering inside perspectives from corporate counsel, understanding the intricacies of a venture capital funding pitch, or deconstructing what it takes to privatize state-run industries in developing countries, Stanford is uniquely positioned to provide students with access to advances in the field.

Silicon Valley is synonymous with innovation, entrepreneurship, and imagination, and it all started near Stanford, fueled by alumni, faculty, and students. Today every big name in the Valley has important Stanford connections, with men and women who maintain their ties and count access to our intellectual community as an asset. Students can learn from and work with leading entrepreneurs, executives, and lawyers in special classes, conferences, internships, and externships.

Meanwhile, the next big names are incubating right here at the research university that pioneered interdisciplinary education. You’ll find them in courses team-taught with leading faculty from Stanford Law and the Stanford School of Engineering or Graduate School of Business, and in a wide range of classes that explore the boundaries between law, economics, and business.

Because business and entrepreneurship know no borders, the law, economics, and business programs encompass the international dealmaking and litigation now common to business and legal practice. Whether the issue is structuring an investment in China, funding a start-up in Israel, navigating antitrust issues in the European Union, expanding into India, or manufacturing in Mexico, these programs teach students to function in the rapidly changing international business environment. Stanford’s strengths in the global arena— including a position on the Pacific Rim and proximity to Latin America as well as connections to Europe— create synergies and opportunities around the world. For students, this means the chance to interact with leaders of international companies, global markets, and cross-border regulatory groups; summer assignments and externships anywhere in the world; and classes with lawyers and fellow students from Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America.

Widely regarded as one of the world’s premier business schools—emphasizing leadership, entrepreneurship, global awareness, and social innovation—the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) is a key law, economics, and business partner. GSB professors including Dan Kessler ’93, Dave Larcker, Maureen McNichols, and Paul Pfleiderer—top scholars in their fields—team-teach courses with Stanford Law faculty, giving students unique insight into the intersection of law, economics, and business. Law students may also pursue a joint JD/MBA.

A Leading Intellectual Community

An advantageous location, a reputation for innovation and impact, and a strong intellectual community make Stanford Law a magnet for leading scholars, legal practitioners, and business leaders who are shaping the field of law, economics, and business, while educating tomorrow’s lawyers, entrepreneurs, and executives.

With a faculty of leading scholars with expertise in a wide range of fields—tax law and policy, statistics, mathematics, bankruptcy, contract and commercial law, corporation and securities law, corporate governance, health law and policy, antitrust, intellectual property, and employment law—Stanford Law has long been known for its role in the law and economics movement. Law, economics, and business faculty members bring diverse strengths and perspectives and represent a wide range of experiences—as educators and researchers, policymakers and decision makers. The reward for students comes in the opportunity to study and do research with some of the best scholars in the world.

The law, economics, and business faculty has had work published in all of the nation’s leading law reviews and business and economic journals, and is engaged in a broad range of scholarly activities. Recent projects include research into corporate governance, CEO compensation, class action securities fraud litigation, the redesign of the federal and state tax system to allow for easier tax return filing, the economic desirability of product liability, the application of advanced decision-making techniques such as Bayesian analysis and real options theory to the study of litigation and business operations, and the redesign of the nation’s financial and regulatory structure.

By melding theory and practice with high-level dialogue and collaboration, these programs unite law school faculty with educators from Stanford’s other top-ranked schools and departments and with industry and policy leaders. Countless scholars outside the law school, from the Graduate School of Business and the Economics Department and School of Engineering to the Hoover Institution and the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, contribute to the intellectual vitality of the law and economics activities at Stanford. Law, economics, and business students also benefit from many opportunities to engage with visiting experts.

One measure of the success of this program is the number of students who go on to academic careers focused on the economic analysis of law. Graduates of Stanford’s law, economics, and business programs have received appointments in the economics departments and/or law or business schools of Columbia, Cornell, Emory, Harvard, London School of Economics, Minnesota, Northwestern, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford, Texas, University of California at Berkeley, University of Southern California, Wisconsin, and Yale.

Programs with Breadth and Depth

Programs in law, economics and business at Stanford Law School transcend the teaching of specific skills and a defined body of knowledge. Our goal is to inspire students who will go on to shape how law is practiced and how it adds value in an increasingly complex global marketplace.

At Stanford Law, small, highly specialized courses provide students with access to leading faculty and the chance to work in multidisciplinary, problem-solving teams—just as they will in the workplace. Many classes are taught by experts in fields related to law, economics, and business from outside the law school, including the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

In addition to pursuing challenging courses, students can venture beyond the traditional boundaries of legal education through the John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics, directed by A. Mitchell Polinsky, an economist who is one of the nation’s leading scholars in law and economics. The program’s Law and Economics Seminar is a focal point for research on the economic analysis of law, drawing distinguished scholars from around the world who share their perspectives with faculty and students from Stanford Law, the Stanford Economics Department, the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and the Hoover Institution.

Learn more about the Olin Program below.

The John M. Olin Program

Outstanding students may apply to the Olin Program for grants and fellowships to support research or the pursuit of a joint degree in law and economics. Students have used their Olin grants to underwrite independent projects on everything from regulatory issues on the Internet to voting coalitions in publicly held corporations. Olin fellowships provide both compensation and travel expenses to underwrite student work.

The Olin Program also supports faculty research and distributes faculty (and sometimes student) working papers that are often published in the premier journals of law and economics. The Olin Program’s popular “free lunch” discussions, for faculty and students, explore research ideas and hot topics in law, economics, and business, including conflicts of interest in corporate law, law enforcement and organized crime, and the market for securities fraud class action litigation.

In addition to shaping the future of law students, Stanford Law offers innovative executive education programs that blend law, business, policy, and conflict resolution. Scholars, policymakers, corporate leaders, investment bankers, venture capitalists, mediators, and leaders in the legal community from across the country and internationally gather to share their expertise and discuss solutions to the challenges they face every day.

Instructors include faculty from Stanford Law as well as the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the broader university. Other instructors are members of the judicial, policymaking, corporate, and mediation communities.

Opportunities through the Olin Program

Grants from the John M. Olin Program give students the chance to participate in important faculty research or pursue research projects of their own. JD students have supported faculty research on:

  • The profitability of corporations run by highly paid CEOs Intellectual property as a business asset
  • Employment and labor law Korean corporate governance
  • Outside director liability and reputational sanctions across countries
  • Private rules for controlling “private money” (such as PayPal transfers)
  • The role of benevolent despots in economic development
  • Econometric analysis of antitakeover provisions in firms spun off from public companies
  • The economics of coupon remedies in class actions
  • With Olin grants, law students have undertaken their own research on:
  • Fishery regulation in Japan
  • How differences in constitutional systems affect economic reform in post-communist countries
  • Digital copyright policies in the United States and Japan
  • A “law and economics” analysis of campaign finance disclosure regimes
  • Capital markets and corporate governance in China
  • The carbon storage potential of farmland and the implications of carbon market prices on land use decisions
Excellence in Executive Education & Learning Beyond Law

Widely considered the most prestigious executive education program of its kind, Stanford Law’s Directors’ College is an intensive two-day event for directors and senior executives of publicly traded corporations. Each year, CEOs, directors, jurists, scholars, and regulators from across the country and abroad gather on campus for a rigorous examination of corporate governance challenges, with an emphasis on practical strategies. Led by Professor Joe Grundfest ’78, Professor of the Practice and Associate Dean for Executive Education and Special Programs Dan Siciliano ’04, and Vice Chairman and Chief Legal Officer of Millennium Management LLC Simon M. Lorne, Directors’ College, now in its twenty-first year, helps develop pragmatic best-practice advice on a range of critical boardroom issues, from Sarbanes-Oxley compliance and compensation to audit committee practices and strategic planning in the face of disruption and cybersecurity threats. Other Stanford Law executive education programs include Directors’ College for Venture-Backed Company Directors (VCDC), Directors’ Consortium, and the Stanford Institutional Investors’ Forum. Building its international scope, Stanford Law also sponsors executive education programs in Asia, Latin America, and Europe.

Lawyers who pursue careers at the intersection of law, economics, and business often find themselves in leadership positions that require negotiation skills. At Stanford Law, students have the unique opportunity to sharpen these skills through the Gould Negotiation and Mediation Program. The program’s small seminars and simulation-based exercises provide opportunities to develop ethical judgment and dispute resolution skills. More than 240 Stanford Law students mix theory and practice in these seminars each year. Other Stanford Law courses offer more specialized training in negotiation, mediation, and dispute resolution

Innovation, Influence, and Impact through the Rock Center for Corporate Governance

Through a center focused on innovation and collaboration, Stanford Law is shaping the future of corporate governance. Stanford Law convenes some of the brightest minds in discussions that shape the frontier of law, economics, and business through the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University. The center’s programs—and the leading researchers, legal practitioners, and business and policy experts they attract—provide a broad range of learning opportunities for students pursuing a future in any field affected by law, economics, and business.

Led by Faculty Director Dan Siciliano ’04, the center provides an environment in which economists, lawyers, financial experts, political scientists, engineers, and practitioners meet and work together. Tapping Stanford Law’s distinguished faculty, the center serves as a focal point for sustained empirical research on corporate governance through specialized databases and innovative empirical research projects. Students often collaborate on faculty research.

Bridging the gap between theory and practice, Rock Center conferences and seminars attract leading academics, regulators, and legal and business professionals and help advance intellectual understanding of corporate governance and behavior. The center is developing materials to strengthen corporate governance as an independent area of teaching and scholarship in business and law schools worldwide. Its lectures, workshops, and classes led by respected visitors from Silicon Valley’s law, business, and venture capital communities give students the chance to learn from the best practitioners in the field.

In addition to integrating cutting-edge scholarship, empirical research, and policymaking, Stanford Law aims to raise professional and public awareness and promote informed public policy at the intersection of law, economics, and business. Each year, law firms and corporations provide critical support for research, teaching, and program development through the Rock Center Affiliates Program. In return, affiliates and their clients have access to the law school’s high-value executive education programs—including Directors’ College and the Stanford Institutional Investors Forum—and participate as strategic partners in policy and research projects, such as the Stanford Law School’s Securities Class Action Clearinghouse. For more information and a list of current affiliates, please visit the Rock Center Affiliates Program webpage.

Hands-On Experience and the Chance to Learn by Doing

Stanford Law School’s programs in law, economics, and business blend theory and practice, intensive classroom learning, and hands-on experience. Students can work on a business law journal, join a vibrant student organization, organize a panel, develop a conference, customize an interdisciplinary degree or legal concentration—and pursue the career path of their dreams.

With Stanford Law resources and the support of an open, entrepreneurial intellectual community, anything is possible.

Students interested in gaining a vital understanding of law, economics, and business will find many opportunities beyond the classroom. Stanford Law offers grants that enable students with financial need to pursue summer internships and gain practical skills in the public sector. In the past, law, economics, and business students have received these grants to support their volunteer work at government agencies and intergovernmental organizations, including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust or Tax Divisions, the Federal Reserve Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the World Bank.

Back on campus, student organizations unite peers who share an interest in law, economics, and business issues. Serving on the staff of a Stanford Law publication, students can develop editorial skills, work with noted scholars, and develop their own theories on issues in their area of interest. With conferences happening throughout the year, students can also be involved behind the scenes—setting agendas, working with guest speakers—and be part of the conversation when experts gather.

Students in Stanford Law School’s programs in law, economics, and business benefit from diverse opportunities to explore the intersection of legal theory and practice and gain career-shaping insight and experience.

Join the conversation as directors from leading companies around the world confront the toughest issues in corporate directorship today—from compensation and succession planning to governance and corporate responsibility—through Directors’ College.

Hear advice, perspectives, and unforgettable inside stories from leading VCs, corporate counsel, and CEOs in Stanford Law’s landmark Deals class, taught by Professor Michael Klausner, an expert on corporations, banking, and nonprofits. Then test classroom learning through negotiations, and get immediate feedback.

Provide issues analysis when top institutional money managers representing more than $7 trillion in invested assets convene through the Stanford Institutional Investors Forum for confidential, free-ranging conversation on current policy issues.

Collaborate and get advice from high-profile CEOs, engineers, and VCs on launching a business venture by competing on a BASES team as part of the largest student entrepreneur organization in the country.

Polish negotiation and conflict resolution skills through the Gould Negotiation and Mediation Program, a popular series of theory and hands-on learning experiences.

Pursue special interests or collaborate on faculty research through important databases accessible at Stanford: Securities Class Action Clearinghouse, Open Source Corporate Governance Reporting System, and the Intellectual Property Litigation Clearinghouse.

Travel to New York or Washington, D.C., for a Rock Center hosted invitation-only event—perhaps including a frank discussion of the SEC’s latest proposal for enforcing compensation disclosure guidelines or implementing the JOBS Act.

Funded by an Olin Program research grant, purchase a database to research the cost of equity capital for firms in different legal systems, travel for a study on liberalizing telecommunications regulations under World Trade Organization agreements, attend a national conference on law and economics, and present findings.

Participate in an Olin-sponsored conference on international technology licensing, intellectual property law and technology licensing, liability and insurance, constitutional law and economics, or social policy toward catastrophic risk. Stanford is dedicated to launching its students on career paths that reflect their special interests in law, economics, and business. Because Stanford Law graduates are renowned for their intelligence, commitment, and practical skills, national firms recruit on campus.

Stanford Law alumni populate leading law, venture capital, private equity, investment banking, and consulting firms and corporations from New York and Washington, D.C., to Chicago and San Francisco. Some are entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, hedge fund managers, CEOs, or Hollywood executives. Others pursue research interests and life in academia. Olin grant and fellowship recipients now hold distinguished teaching positions in business, economics, and law in a wide range of institutions, including Stanford, Harvard, UC Berkeley, University of Pennsylvania, Emory, University of Wisconsin–Madison, and University of Toronto. Whichever path they choose, students find Stanford Law School’s law, economics, and business programs an auspicious beginning that opens doors and generates a lifetime of opportunities.

The Intellectual Capital to Lead

Where law intersects with business and economics, the most important capital is intellectual. With its renowned faculty and a global, entrepreneurial perspective that melds cutting-edge theory with pragmatic business experience—in the heart of Silicon Valley, at the edge of the Pacific Rim—Stanford Law has the capital and energy to bring this legal frontier to life for students.

Students exploring the intersection between law, business, and economics today have the unique opportunity to play a leadership role in rebuilding the infrastructure and systems of our changing financial world. Whether the issue is derivatives, executive compensation, fraud, or corporate governance, the programs in law, economics, and business at Stanford Law School—where state-of-the-art scholarship meets real-life experience—put you in the middle of the debate and prepares you to lead.

Access to excellence and innovation is a key strength of Stanford Law School’s law, economics, and business programs. The Stanford campus is home to more than 20 Nobel Laureates across disciplines—including eight in economics—and benefits from proximity to Silicon Valley, Pacific Rim economies, and leading private equity firms. The law school contributes influential scholarship and actively participates in real-world litigation. Relationships with other top-ranked graduate and professional programs at Stanford broaden and deepen the experience and generate learning opportunities that can’t be matched anywhere in the world.

Stanford Law School offers a rich array of courses designed to provide students important foundational skills while exposing them to a broad array of advanced business, finance, and economic offerings. Courses are taught by leading scholars who also have significant experience as litigators, regulators, advisors, entrepreneurs, and dealmakers. The program’s extensive connections to Silicon Valley’s venture capital and private equity communities, active business litigation scene, and vigorous flow of international and technology-related deals provide firsthand opportunities to explore the nature of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Together these resources make Stanford the ideal environment for training the next generation of private practitioners, business leaders, corporate counsel, venture capitalists, policymakers, researchers, entrepreneurs, and scholars.

International Scope

Stanford Law offers students who earned their primary law degree outside the United States an opportunity to pursue a Master of Laws (LLM) in Corporate Governance & Practice or in International Economic Law, Business & Policy. This rigorous academic and professional training program provides exceptional foreign business and transactional lawyers with a broad base of expertise in such areas as accounting, bankruptcy, corporations, finance, mergers and acquisitions, securities, tax, and venture capital that they can use when they return to law practice, most often in their home countries. The LLM program also gives JD students the opportunity to engage with high-profile international law practitioners. In recent years, LLM students have included partners from top firms in Brazil, Chile, China, Japan, and Switzerland.

Organization and Transaction Clinic


Students provide governance advice and documents, draft contract and management materials, and analyze operating programs and contractual arrangements for established Northern California nonprofit organizations.

learn more about the Organizations and Transactions Clinic


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