From the Dean
M. Elizabeth Magill – Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean

The term “epicenter” refers to the point on The earth’s surface that is directly above the point where an earthquake or underground explosion originates. We all know that the word epicenter is frequently used outside the context of seismic events. in fact, those who police our language grumble about its overuse.

I cannot count the number of times I have been told that Stanford University and Silicon Valley are the epicenter of the digital revolution, but I don’t think even those who are serious about the use of language should complain. It’s true, there is no surface point that can be matched to a subsurface point of disruption, but this region and this school have created something that is easily analogous to an earthquake—a shaking and shifting of the earth, with unpredictable aftershocks. Of course, it is only an analogy because, unlike seismic disasters, the digital revolution has created countless goods. But it has also created some new concerns.

Our feature story in this issue zeros in on one set of those concerns—the way in which the digital revolution has changed the relationship between the citizen and the state. The world that we now take for granted creates the possibility of wide-scale government surveillance of huge populations and the possibility that law enforcement can reach into every nook and cranny of our lives. Not surprisingly, those at Stanford Law School are at the center of many of the most pressing debates over this new reality and they are featured in our cover story.

There is much more to enjoy in these pages. This fall, we welcome five extraordinary teachers and scholars to our faculty and you can read about each of them. One of our current students, James Barton, writes vividly about his experience in one of our brand-new global courses. (James speaks with real authority about Stanford Law School—he is the grandson of the late, beloved faculty member John Barton.)

In our “Legal Matters” feature, two powerhouse figures in the world of intellectual property and antitrust law, Professor Mark Lemley and Doug Melamed (former Intel general counsel and the Herman Phleger Visiting Professor at Stanford Law) engage in a wide-ranging dialogue about the latest developments in these fields and place them in a wider context. Our “In Focus” section profiles one of our graduates whom I see almost every week, Debra Zumwalt, JD ’79. As Stanford’s chief legal officer, Debra handles the outrageously complicated legal issues that a university of this size creates. She does so with brilliance, judgment, and wit—and she swims with sharks. And there’s much more. Read on.