2018: Stanford Law’s quasquicentennial. This year marked 125 years of forward-thinking education and scholarship. SLS has always looked more to the future than the past; thus, it is little surprise that the school offers an exciting slate of internationally-focused courses to students looking to learn more about legal issues in Asia. In addition to classroom courses in topics ranging from venture capital in China to intellectual property issues in Japan, each of these courses also feature a trip abroad—providing students with an experiential learning environment where transnational legal issues were managed in real-time.
The longest of these courses, Deals (with professor Mike Klausner), kicked off in the autumn quarter. Throughout the quarter, Professor Klausner discussed the art and science of deals—incentive structures, monitoring mechanisms, and regulatory regimes that various parties worked with to come to a deal. The winter quarter brought more hands-on experience, as the course delved into actual deals (often sourced from Professor Klausner’s former students and colleagues). Over the weeks, students with a diverse set of backgrounds—L.L.M. students from around the world with years of experience and J.D. students looking to step foot into the transactional arena for the first time—wrestled with the same deal documents and issues that had perplexed lawyers and businesspeople. Finally, over spring break, twelve students traveled to Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China, for a week of meetings, lectures, and visits with practitioners.
After a 15-hour flight to Hong Kong, and the class’s first meal together (dim sum, of course), we attended a reception celebrating Stanford Law’s 125th anniversary, where we mingled with illustrious SLS alums discussing pressing U.S. and Chinese economic and political issues. This reception opened a phenomenal week, during which we learned about topics ranging from international investment in Chinese companies and “one country, two systems” statuses of Hong Kong and Macau, to Chinese venture capital/private equity practices and possible career paths for lawyers looking to make an impact on both sides of the Pacific. Interspersed amongst business meetings, there were trips to various local landmarks: temples, the “Big Buddha,” and other cultural destinations—but also culinary adventures with spicy food (handled better by some than others) and more local fare. We closed the week with a fantastic meal set up by one of Professor Klausner’s former students, said goodbye to our spring break home, and flew back to Stanford to begin the spring quarter.
Now, in reflection a little more than a week later, it is clear that this trip was an incredible and rewarding experience that educated us both academically and culturally. The class still maintains active connections both internally (just a few days ago, we arranged to trade and split some of the remaining snacks we brought back from Hong Kong, and even today we are still sharing some of the pictures we took), and externally (with some of the speakers we met on the trip—at least a couple of whom are planning to meet with us when they visit Stanford later this year). Many places provide an education—this is the rare place that goes beyond, with institutional commitment, vision, and drive to create the immersive opportunities that truly set the Stanford Law experience apart.
In closing, we find James Barton ‘15’s words prescient and ever-relevant:
“In our increasingly interconnected global community, we need to prepare young lawyers for the careers ahead of us. Stanford Law School is doing just that, and I am thrilled I was able to be a part of it.”