Law and Public Policy

Law is fundamental to effective public policy. Now, through Stanford’s interdisciplinary program in public policy, law students can combine their legal knowledge with policy skills that allow them to develop, advocate for, and implement policy that shapes the lives of people everywhere.

Stanford Law School is reinvigorating the tradition of law as a catalyst for public policy solutions and careers through an interdisciplinary, experiential educational approach that reflects the way policymakers and lawyers work in the world today. Our program offers unique academic options—including the opportunity to pursue a joint degree in law and public policy or law and environmental studies—led by a faculty widely recognized for excellence. Our curriculum fosters close partnerships with Stanford’s renowned schools, departments, and research institutes, and delivers a wide array of hands-on opportunities through such programs as the Mills Legal Clinic and the Law and Policy Lab, a unique policy incubator.

Through a variety of academic centers—from the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance to the Stanford Center on International Conflict and Negotiation—Stanford Law prioritizes research with impact on public policy. These centers provide many opportunities for students to pursue focused research interests, attend conferences, meet visiting policy leaders and legal thinkers, and get involved in the scholarship that shapes public policy across diverse disciplines. Law students join faculty in extending these law and policy interests beyond the Law School, participating in projects at other Stanford centers and departments, ranging from Computer Science to Environmental Engineering and International Policy Studies to Psychology. Emblematic of Stanford’s belief in collaboration and cross-pollination across disciplines and programs, Stanford Law School represents the nexus of new ideas for next generation law and policy.

Many of our graduates will devote the vast bulk of their professional lives to tailoring public policy in a wide range of fields. Even those whose dominant professional identity is more client-centered will confront public policy questions both in the course of routine advocacy and in the course of leading the sort of rich, multidimensional lives that Stanford lawyers typically lead.

Mark G. Kelman, James C. Gaither Professor of Law and Vice Dean

Law and Public Policy - Policy Labs

Law and Policy Lab

The Law and Policy Lab — Stanford Law’s unique policy incubator — adds to this intensive policy focus by helping students acquire the rigorous analytical skills needed to develop solutions to pressing social and environmental issues. Working under the guidance of seasoned faculty advisers, students counsel real-world clients on a broad range of policy issues, from equity in education to copyright and patent reform, from reducing childhood obesity to protecting international human rights and preventing wildlife trafficking.

The Law and Policy Lab reflects the belief that the systematic examination of societal problems, informed by rigorous data analysis, results in better policy decisions and outcomes. In addition to mastering policy analysis, students hone the regulatory drafting and communications skills needed to translated their findings into actionable measures for policy leaders and the communities they serve.

Work in the Law and Policy Lab takes place through practicums — small, intensive study teams that emphasize experiential learning and collaboration. Many practicums are interdisciplinary, offering the chance to work with students from other Stanford schools and departments.

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