The Levin Center deeply values a strong public interest community and cultivates close relationships with our faculty, students, and alumni. From the moment our first-year and transfer law students arrive on campus, we seek to connect those pursuing public interest careers with upper-class students, faculty mentors, and alumni mentors to provide guidance and support.
We offer a formal mentoring program that matches first-year law students to faculty and student mentors based on shared practice interests. These small groups might meet for dinner at a faculty member’s home, coffee on campus, or take a hike to the Dish while they chat about adjusting to law school, the 1L summer job search, or the challenges of securing entry-level public interest jobs. Registration for this program begins in the Fall quarter shortly after 1L Orientation.
Our National Public Interest Alumni Network consists of alumni practicing in a wide variety of fields and practice settings who are eager to speak with other Stanford Law School students and graduates. Students and alumni may contact a Levin Center advisor for a customized list of alumni mentors practicing in your preferred geographic market(s), substantive area(s), and practice setting(s).
Stanford Law faculty distinguish themselves not only in their legal work and scholarship, but also in their accessibility and zeal for working with students. Faculty members who participate in the Stanford Public Interest and Public Policy Faculty Mentor Program provide students with specialized guidance in immigrants’ rights, public policy, government, criminal law, labor law, international law, education law, and other practice areas. Many of them also participate in our special mentoring program for first-year students. This program creates small groups of first-year students and matches them with a faculty member and a Public Interest Fellow.
Brown bag lunch discussions with faculty mentors on specific topics such as curricular advice or the summer job search are scheduled throughout the year as are social events to provide informal opportunities for students, faculty, and administrators to get to know one another.
Each year, Stanford Law School names as Public Interest Fellows those third-year students who have a history of public service, provide leadership within the law school, and are committed to careers as lawyers in the public service. Fellows serve a variety of roles within the law school—they mentor first-year students, provide policy direction for the Center and the law school, have direct access to the law school administration regarding myriad issues related to public interest, and engage in direct programming with the assistance of the Levin Center staff.
The Fellows also serve an advisory body to the Levin Center staff, and are expected to:
- Promote public interest/public sector work at the Law School,
- Provide ongoing assistance during the academic year to Center staff on public interest programming and events for the Law School community,
- Serve as mentors to incoming first-year students,
- Give input to the administration and faculty on internal law school policies that impact public interest and public service,
- Pursue a curriculum that includes a significant component of public interest law courses,
- Spend summers working full-time for at least ten weeks in public interest/service law, and
- Intend to start his or her career in public service.
Public Interest Fellows from the Class of 2017 are available to speak with prospective law students. Please review their bios and contact Levin Center staff if you would like to be connected to one of them.
We also have 2L students who volunteer to mentor incoming first-year students. Our 2L students are the most active on campus as they lead most of the student organizations and journals. Many of these students will go on to serve as Public Interest Fellows during their 3L year.
Many Stanford Law alumni are happy to talk to students about their work. Public interest alumni, particularly recent graduates and younger professionals, can identify with the excitement and struggles students feel in committing to the public service path. They stand as proof that Stanford Law School graduates succeed in finding jobs congruent with their passions and develop satisfying, meaningful careers as public interest lawyers.
Our National Public Interest Alumni Network has identified public interest practitioners across the country that can provide mentoring to public interest students. Students can request to speak to alumni working in specific geographic regions, practice areas, or from similar backgrounds to ask questions about career planning, fellowship and clerkship applications, and their law school experiences.
The Levin Center also holds receptions each summer that bring public interest alumni, students, and new admits together in major metropolitan areas across the country. The Office of Alumni Relations also sponsors many events for alumni, to which students are often invited. For example, Alumni Weekend takes place every year during the fall and always draws a lot of public interest alumni. Public interest-oriented students should take advantage of this great networking opportunity by attending a panel, dinner or reception. Contact the Office of Alumni Relations for more information and to find out which events are open to students.