Stanford University Law School
The information on this page was provided by the law school.
Official Guide to ABA-Approved JD Programs
Stanford Law School is part of one of the world’s leading research institutions, providing plentiful opportunities for interdisciplinary cooperation. Stanford University is a private university located in the heart of Silicon Valley, just 35 miles south of San Francisco. The university’s 8,180 acres stretch between the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains and the cities of Palo Alto and Menlo Park in a part of the country that offers an ideal Mediterranean climate of dry, warm summers and wet, but temperate winters.
Current enrollment at the university is more than 16,000 students, of whom more than 9,000 are graduate students. The law school is small, with 565 JD students, 88 LLM and JSM students, and approximately 70 faculty members, including clinical faculty, senior lecturers, and emeriti. The school has teaching and research ties with schools and departments across campus. Law school courses are taught in 21 multimedia classrooms with full wireless Internet connectivity.
Stanford Law School offers a unique combination of the classic and cutting edge in legal education. The school is preparing its students for a rich and varied professional life in an era of great excitement and rapid change—much of it generated by the remarkable innovations in information technology pioneered in Silicon Valley—and for careers in an increasingly global community.
Stanford Law School’s faculty is distinguished not only for its scholarship, but also for its commitment to teaching and curricular innovation. The school’s unusually low student-to-faculty ratio of 7.3 to 1 creates an intimate, collegial environment that fosters students’ intellectual and professional development both in and out of the classroom. Students have many opportunities to work closely with faculty members as research assistants on scholarly projects, and the faculty encourages interested students to develop their own scholarship for future academic careers. The relationships formed between Stanford Law faculty and students often last a lifetime.
Instruction at Stanford Law takes place primarily in small classes and seminars and through individually directed research. It also takes place via a diverse range of legal clinics, which offer students experience with real cases and clients and provide personalized feedback.
The faculty is continually engaged in developing new teaching methods to complement curricular innovations. Case studies, similar to those of business schools, challenge students to consider the interaction of legal and nonlegal factors involved in a given situation. Numerous interdisciplinary opportunities allow faculty and students from the law school and other parts of the university, joined by practitioners and policymakers, to engage in applied research.
Library and Physical Facilities
Housed within Crown Quadrangle is the Robert Crown Law Library, which holds an excellent collection of print materials and a vast collection of online resources. Popular with the law students are the library’s spacious reading rooms. An entire floor of the library, with its comfortable reading room and technology-enabled meeting rooms, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The friendly and service-minded staff members are dedicated to helping students, faculty, and staff with all their research needs.
- Programs and Centers: Stanford Law School’s 25-plus innovative academic programs, centers, and projects give students access to graduate-level research and policy-oriented study in areas such as constitutional law; consumer privacy; criminal justice; energy policy and finance; environmental and natural resources law and policy; fair use; human rights; international conflict and negotiation; rule of law; international and comparative law; corporate governance; law and economics; law and society; law, science, and technology; e-commerce; Internet and society; law and the biosciences; transatlantic technology law; legal informatics; the legal profession; conflict resolution; negotiation and mediation; and public service and public interest law.
- Policy Lab: Stanford Law has further expanded student and faculty research opportunities through more than 20 policy lab practicums in areas as diverse as copyright licensing, patent trolls, campaign reform, impact investing, health policy, endstage decisions, climate change policy, managing gentrification, mass incarceration, and more. Practicum students have opportunities to develop knowledge about particular areas of public policy and the skills of policy analysis, including the ability to communicate policy findings. Each practicum offers students an opportunity to work on a real public policy problem, for a real client, under the direction of a faculty member.
- Team-Taught Courses: Stanford Law offers 11 team-oriented, problem-solving courses, many of which are cotaught by law school faculty and faculty from Stanford’s other esteemed schools and departments. Classes are open to students from a variety of disciplines.
- Clinical Program: Stanford Law is a leader in the development of clinical teaching and has greatly expanded its clinical program, introducing clinical rotation—based on the medical school model—with no competing courses or exams. Students engage in witness examination, depositions, discovery, negotiations, the drafting of pleadings and memos, oral arguments, and analysis of tactical and ethical problems. Stanford Law’s clinics are organized under the umbrella of a single law firm (Mills Legal Clinic) and cover a broad range of practice areas: community law, criminal defense, criminal prosecution, environmental law, immigrants’ rights, intellectual property and innovation, international human rights, organizations and transactions, religious liberty, Supreme Court litigation, and youth and education.
- Joint Degrees: Stanford Law’s academic calendar is aligned with the rest of the university to offer a legal education that combines the study of law with other disciplines so that our students gain domain knowledge in their area of practice. This includes 28 joint-degree programs and limitless opportunity to customize a joint-degree program.
Stanford provides a variety of housing options for law students. Students may choose anything from furnished single rooms to four-bedroom apartments equipped with full kitchens. A residence built specifically for law students and other graduate students from around campus—and adjacent to the law school—intensifies the interdisciplinary learning experience. The university also lists off-campus housing opportunities. More information about housing is available at the Housing Assignment Services website.
More than 60 student organizations plus seven journals enrich the law school experience. Opportunities for scholarly work are provided through the Stanford Law Review and journals focused on civil rights and civil liberties; international law; law, business, and finance; law and policy; technology law; and environmental law. Advocacy skills are developed in moot court and mock trial.
Students who are female, Asian, African American, Latino, Native American, Christian, veterans, or LGBT will all find groups that share their particular concerns. Other organizations focus on environmental law, international law, IP, and public interest law. Local affiliates of the Federalist Society and the American Constitution Society are active.
Expenses and Financial Aid
For 2017–2018, full-time tuition is $58,041, with additional expenses, including housing, estimated at $34,581 for single students living on campus and $37,842 for single students living off campus. Additional expenses include required fees, books and supplies, local transportation, and medical insurance.
The purpose of financial aid is to assist students who would otherwise be unable to pursue a legal education at Stanford and, as such, scholarships are awarded on the basis of financial need. Approximately 75–80 percent of the student body receives tuition fellowship or loan assistance.
The school also offers funding to students who dedicate a law school summer to qualified public service work. And, for graduates who take low-paying public interest jobs and have substantial educational debt, the school has an excellent loan repayment assistance program—the Miles and Nancy Rubin Loan Repayment Assistance Program.
The Office of Career Services, together with the John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law, provides assistance and guidance to students in every facet of their job search. Individualized and intensive career advising, skills-based and substantive programming, and access to an extensive alumni network and other online resources help students to identify and achieve their career goals. In addition, the office’s On-Campus Interviewing Programs each spring and fall collectively bring to campus over 200 employers recruiting for over 450 offices worldwide.
A survey of students graduating in the class of 2016 shows the following employment patterns:
- Law firm associates: 54.55 percent
- Judicial clerks: 27.84 percent
- Business (legal and nonlegal): 5.11 percent
- Public interest, government, or law teaching: 12.5 percent