We live in an increasingly global world. Every day, more goods, services, ideas, and people cross legal borders. This creates new challenges for businesses and governments.
21st century lawyers are increasingly likely to face transnational legal problems and will therefore need to engage with people, legal systems, businesses, governments and multilateral institutions from around the globe.
- One in three goods crosses national borders, and more than one-third of financial investments are international transactions. 1
- International data flows and trade are exploding and are projected to grow by another nine times in the next five years. 2
- The US represents only 4% of the global population and about 15% of global GDP.
- Problems like climate change and the refugee crisis require increasing multilateral cooperation between governments, businesses and local communities.
We have taken the lead in preparing students for this reality with a new Global Law Initiative. Our innovative model for training tomorrow’s law and business leaders is comprised of three elements:
- a foundational course on global legal practice
- courses that combine rigorous classroom training with intensive overseas study trips
- greater integration of comparative law and international issues into existing core courses
Stanford Law’s robust program in international and comparative law provides additional resources and experiences for cultivating global perspective.
1. Global Flows in A Digital Age, McKinsey, 2014.
2. Digital Globalization: The New Era of Global Flows, McKinsey, 2016.
Few law schools offer courses that integrate legal analysis and doctrine with the practical skills required to operate in the global legal environment. SLS is bridging the gap with a new foundational course called Going Global – Counseling Clients in the Global Economy.
Designed to introduce students to the practice of law in a global context, the course is an essential building block in a SLS degree, much like evidence, tax, corporations, or administrative law. Unlike a typical course in international antitrust, international intellectual property, or international arbitration, which lets you dive deep with a narrow focus, Going Global prepares you to serve clients whose concerns involve a wide range of interconnecting issues in law and business.
Going Global is like no other law school course.
- First, it’s team-taught by faculty who lead classes in their area of expertise, with input from general counsel and leading international law firms.
- Second, instead of using the traditional law school case method, which focuses Socratic dialogue around a judicial opinion, Going Global uses the business school model. Each case centers on a complex, real-world transnational transaction that requires you to navigate uncertainty in search of solutions.
Short Immersions Instill Global Competency. At SLS, you don’t have to give up on-campus learning for a full semester of study abroad. SLS overseas field study excursions are optional trips typically attached to the end of a regular Stanford course. Whether you are spending a week at the Hague witnessing the international criminal justice system in action or finalizing a transnational merger in Brazil, each trip allows a student to be immersed in the law of another nation and witness firsthand international institutions at work.
7-10 Days: Overseas field study courses take place between quarters, so students can experience other legal cultures without losing time on SLS campus.
2 SLS Credits: Overseas field study courses allow students to cultivate global awareness while earning academic credit toward a JD or joint degree.
10-15 Students: Reflecting Stanford Law’s collaborative culture, immersion programs take a small group into an international setting, where students work closely with each other, with faculty mentors, and with leaders in the local law and business communities.
This was one of the most incredible and rewarding academic experiences I have ever had. However, without SLS’s generous financial contribution, this trip would not have been possible for me. … It is this kind of willingness to experiment, institutional flexibility, and commitment to the student experience that truly sets Stanford Law School apart.
Field Study Course Offerings (2017-2018):
Field Study Trip to Tokyo, Japan:
Intellectual Property: International and Comparative Property Law (LAW 4009) includes an optional field study component in Tokyo, Japan (LAW 4030). Class sessions will take place primarily at Waseda Law School. Students will also meet with local lawyers, clients, and government officials from the Japanese Patent Office, the Intellectual Property High Court, and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
Field Study Trip to Delhi, India:
Global Poverty and the Law includes an optional field study component in Delhi, India (LAW 5026). This course will be held in Delhi, India and will consist of conversations with lawyers, politicians, scholars, leaders in civil society, and senior bureaucrats who are active in anti-corruption efforts. Students will also meet frontline bureaucrats (i.e., cops and government teachers) who will share their own perspectives about the problem.
Field Study Trip to Beijing, China:
Comparative Venture Capital (LAW 1005) includes an optional field study component in Beijing, China (LAW 1071). The course will be held at the Stanford Center at Peking University in Beijing, and will consist of meetings and seminars with lawyers, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists active in the Chinese venture capital market. Students will also tour start-up enterprises made possible with venture investments.
Field Study Trip to Hong Kong, China:This is a travel course that is integrated into Deals I and Deals II. The course will have two elements. First, there will be two deals assigned to two groups of students, as is true of Deals II. Rather than meeting with the lawyers involved in those deals here at Stanford, as we do in Deals II, we will meet in Hong Kong. Students will complete their papers on these deals shortly following their week in Hong Kong. Second, we have a variety of meetings in Hong Kong in which we learn about transactions that are handled by lawyers and bankers there and more generally about business in that part of the world.
At Stanford Law, we are shaping the future of legal education by ensuring that every student has the opportunity for global perspective. Over time, more courses in the SLS curriculum — from antitrust to corporations to contracts — will incorporate the transnational perspective. We host short-term visiting lecturers who partner with faculty-in-residence to teach core courses. For example, Horst Eidenmüller, chair of private law, German, European and international company law at University of Munich and University of Oxford, has participated in Professor George Triantis’ contract design course and Professor Rob Daines’ corporations course. Mariana Pargendler, professor at FGV Law School in São Paulo, has taught a Latin American deals course and an overseas short course in Brazil.
International and Comparative Law
Today’s law graduates enter a world in which little stops at the borders between nations. From advising on international trade and investment to practicing before tribunals, from the promoting human rights to the protecting intellectual property, from negotiating transnational business deals to the prosecuting of war crimes, from finding the balance between national security and civil liberties to resolving violent political conflicts, there is a pervasive global dimension to the work of lawyers, judges, and legal scholars. Stanford Law School prepares students to step up to the challenge.
Spend a Quarter Studying Abroad
There’s no need to wait for a degree to explore law in the world. International perspective, in the classroom and through firsthand experience, is an essential element of an SLS education. And through established international learning opportunities in six countries — China, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Singapore — SLS opens paths to intensive, on-the-ground experience. Choose from these existing programs, or petition to study at the foreign law school of your choice through The Foreign Legal Study Program, which prepares you for practice or post-graduate work in a world without boundaries.