The Stanford Law Forum is one of the Law School’s most active student organizations. During the course of the past academic year, the Forum has presented a wide variety of speakers under several programs and formats, including the World of the Law series, the Oxford Debate, the Professional Responsibility series, and the guest-in-residence program.

In the World of the Law series, members of the bar participated in panels and discussions to help acquaint law students with some of the career possibilities that lie open to the well-trained lawyer today. In November and December, law students heard in four successive programs: Judge Richard Sims, Jr., of the California District Court of Appeals; Evelle J. Younger, District Attorney of Los Angeles County; Thomas E. Haven ’48, Maurice D. L. Fuller, Jr. ’55, and Thomas Klitgaard of the San Francisco firm of Pillsbury, Madison and Sutro; Winslow Christian ’49, executive secretary to Governor Brown; and John Kaplan, associate professor of law at Stanford.

The spring series on Professional Responsibility concerned problems of ethics and professional conduct in personal injury litigation, corporate law, criminal trials, trusts and estates, and other areas of practice.

From October 13 to 16, 1965, the Forum inaugurated its guest-in-residence program. Its first guest was the Honorable Elliot Lee Richardson, Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts. A former president of the Harvard Law Review, law clerk to both Judge Learned Hand and Justice Felix Frankfurter, Mr. Richardson was a successful lawyer and partner in Ropes and Gray and is a politician with an academic turn of mind. During his stay at Stanford, he gave two public lectures on problems of public administration. But he spent most of his three days at the School attending classes and meeting informally with students and faculty in seminars and at meals, discussing, with clarity and wit, the frustrations and challenges of political life and public law.

The Oxford Debate has become a spring tradition at the School – a combination of serious debate and good fellowship. This year’s debate was held on the afternoon of March 3 at Rickey’s Hyatt House. The principal speakers were Roderick M. Hills ’55 and Arthur H. Connolly, Jr., both of whom have served on the State Bar of California Group Legal Services Committee. Professor Jack Friedenthal served as moderator. Mr. Hills argued that the rules of the California State Bar should be amended to accommodate group legal services; Mr. Connolly contended that such a change would do much to destroy the legal profession in the state. After the principal speakers had set forth their views, speakers from the floor, under the rules of the Oxford Debate, were free to expound their own ideas and to question the speakers. During the course of a lively afternoon, the wide-ranging ethical, social, political, and economic implications of the question were explored thoroughly.

Other Forum speakers during the year included Justice William O. Douglas, Justice Kenneth O’Connell of the Oregon Supreme Court, Professor Albert A. Ehrenzweig of Boalt Hall, and the Honorable John W. Douglas, Assistant Attorney General of the United States, Civil Division.

The Law Forum was established to bring speakers to the School, mainly drawn from members of the bar in the Palo Alto area. From its beginning, the organization has been run entirely by students and, under their leadership, the Forum’s operations have steadily expanded. Particular impetus for widening the scope of the Forum’s programs came from C. Stephen Heard ’64, who became the Forum’s president in 1963. He, his vice-president, Kerry Fox ’64, and the remainder of his board set as their aim Holmes’ “legal education in the grand manner.” They added a seminar in legal ethics, while at the same time expanding the horizons of the by-then-proven lecture series and retaining the Oxford Debate inaugurated shortly before.

Under William D. Symmes ’65, who became president in 1964, the Forum was particularly successful in securing prominent and stimulating speakers.

In 1965, David Lelewer ’67, was elected president. He, his officers, and board members have again added to the development of the Forum’s programs with their guest-in-residence venture and the expansion of the general program established by their predecessors. The Law Forum is a self-perpetuating group that chooses its members on the basis of imagination, creativity, and enthusiasm for the Forum’s work. New members are usually chosen at the end of their first year. The group for 1965-66 consisted of four officers and eleven board members. The full board met every week, the officers often daily.

Members of the Forum are continually alert to possible speakers. Last February they learned that Alfred Bexelius, Sweden’s Ombudsman, was to address the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco and arranged for him to speak at the Law School on March 4. (An article on the Norwegian Ombudsman by Professor Gellhorn of the Columbia Law School had just appeared in Stanford Law Review.)

Mr. Lelewer has said, in speaking of the Forum’s objectives, “‘We hope to raise the student’s eyes beyond the covers of his casebook. We believe the Forum can help demonstrate to him that the schooling he is now undergoing is not merely academic. The man with a law degree from a school like Stanford must be equipped to address himself to the major challenges of our day. The Forum hopes to lead the student to consider questions appropriate not only for the choices of his law practice but also for the choice of the life he will lead as a professional man.”

Stanford’s Law Forum offers an example of the important role that student organizations play in the educational activities of a modern law school. But the Forum is always seeking new ways to improve its effectiveness. During the last year, it conducted a nationwide survey of the programs of similar organizations at other law schools. In thanking the Forum for the results of this survey, the president of the Harvard Law School Forum said, “The Stanford Law Forum is to be commended for such a comprehensive project of genuine assistance to the Harvard Law School Forum and, I am sure, similar groups throughout America.”