Innovation is a hallmark of Stanford Law School, where the start-up, “can-do” ethos of Silicon Valley is part of the culture. That same way of thinking is now set to revolutionize the way in which students chart their course through law school, into their careers, and beyond. A new website launched in October, SLSNavigator is an interactive course and career guide developed by the law school to help students locate opportunities and resources while adding direction to their education—including constructing their curricula, connecting with alumni in their field of interest, and exploring various areas of the profession. Alumni will also benefit from this ever-changing, growing body of data that will, with continued input from faculty and alumni, be updated as practice areas change.
“It’s important and incumbent on us to help our students to use their time in law school effectively—and to think about what they want to do after graduation and plan for that. Yet there really was no tool available for that purpose,” says Larry Kramer, Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean. “After graduation, SLSNavigator will continue to be available to our JDs, and we’ll invite them to contribute to it, so that it remains timely and relevant.”
Development of SLSNavigator was—and continues to be—an exercise in collaboration, with law school staff working closely with faculty and alumni to populate the site. Expert legal input is necessary at every stage of the career-planning process, from guiding students to specific career goals and practice areas to helping those still determining their direction after law school. Practice area descriptions and the wealth of information available on SLSNavigator were gathered through extensive interviewing with faculty, alumni and non-alumni practitioners specializing in various areas of law—as well as from websites, books, journals, Twitter, blogs, and more.
“SLSNavigator takes the guesswork out of selecting courses,” says Susan C. Robinson, associate dean for career services. “Whatever the practice area, from civil rights to clean tech to mergers and acquisitions, SLSNavigator recommends the courses that practitioners themselves have said are most useful for their field. Students can now, with confidence, chart their three years at Stanford Law and know that the classes they take will best prepare them for their future career.”
Key, though, is keeping SLSNavigator current.
“As courses come and go, as new practice areas emerge, it’s important that SLSNavigator reflect those changes. For this, we’ll need alumni help. We’re hoping to continue to tap into their knowledge as experts in their field to keep SLSNavigator up-to-date,” says Robinson.
While encouraging students to make full use of SLS resources, the tool also reaches beyond the Stanford Law campus to introduce students to the multitude of learning opportunities across the wider Stanford campus. “Stanford Law School and Stanford university offer a diverse menu of amazing courses, with some of the world’s most remarkable faculty,” says Kramer. “Our students need to take advantage of this both for their personal development as broad-minded intellectuals and for a future in law.”
To watch the “Advice from the Dean” video and to request a special alumni account, go to slsnavigator.law.stanford.edu.