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Stanford Law School
Stanford Law School Logo.png
Established 1893
School type Private
Parent Endowment $12 billion
Dean Larry Kramer
Location Stanford, California, USA
Enrollment 534[1]
Faculty 134[1]
USNWR ranking 3[2]
Bar pass rate 95%[3]
Annual tuition $42,080[1]
ABA Profile Stanford Law School Profile

Stanford Law School (also known as Stanford Law or SLS) is a graduate school at Stanford University located in the area known as the Silicon Valley, near Palo Alto, California in the United States. The Law School was established in 1893 when former President Benjamin Harrison joined the faculty as the first professor of law. It employs more than 50 faculty and hosts over 500 students who are working towards their Juris Doctor (J.D.) or other graduate legal degrees such as the Master of Laws (LL.M.) and the Doctor of the Science of Law (J.S.D.), giving it the smallest student body of any law school in the top 25 of the US News & World Report annual ranking.

Stanford Law School typically ranks in the top three in the US News overall rankings of law schools and is currently ranked third, behind Yale and Harvard Law Schools.

The late Chief Justice of the United States William Rehnquist and retired Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman on the Supreme Court, are both Stanford Law alumni, as is current Chief Justice of California Ronald M. George.



Stanford first offered a curriculum in legal studies in 1893, when the university hired its first two law professors: former President Benjamin Harrison giving lectures on Constitutional and International Law [4] ,and Nathan Abbott. Abbott was given control over the program, and assembled a small faculty over the next few years. The law department was almost exclusively composed of undergraduates at this time, and included a large number of students who might not have been welcome at more traditional law schools at the time, including women and Hispanic, Chinese and Japanese students.

In 1900, the department moved from its original location in Encina Hall to the northeast side of the Inner Quadrangle. The new facilities were much larger and included Stanford’s first law library. Beginning to focus more on professional training, the school implemented its first three year curriculum, and became one of 27 charter members of the Association of American Law Schools. In 1901 the school awarded its first professional degree.

Starting in 1908, the law department began its transition into an exclusively professional school when Stanford's Board of Trustees passed a resolution in 1908 to officially change its name to law school. Eight years later Frederic Campbell Woodward would be appointed the first dean of the school, and in 1923 the school was accredited by the American Bar Association, the year the ABA began certifying law schools. Stanford's law program officially transitioned into a modern professional school in 1924 when it began requiring a bachelor's degree for admission.

The 1940s and 1950s brought a great deal of change for the law school. Even though World War II caused the school’s enrollment to drop to less than 30 students, the school made quick efforts at expansion once the war ended in 1945. Moving to a new location in the Outer Quadrangle and the opening of the law school dormitory Crothers Hall allowed the school to grow, while the publication of the Stanford Law Review started building the school a national reputation. The decision that Stanford should remain a small law school with a very limited enrollment was made during this period.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the law school aimed to become more diverse. A great deal of new and progressive student organizations established themselves, several of which focused on legal issues which largely affected Chicanos and women. The first female and black professors were hired at the school during this period, and the school sought to academically diversify its student body by collaborating with the Stanford Business School to create a joint-degree program. For the third time in its history, the law school relocated in the 1970s to its current location in the Crown Quadrangle.

Earning national recognition in the 1980s and 1990s, the law school made efforts to make its curriculum more progressive. Classes were offered focusing on law relating to technology, the environment, and intellectual property, and international law, allowing students to specialize in emerging legal fields. Additionally, the school’s clinical program was established starting with the public interest East Palo Alto Community Law Project. By the dawn of the 21st century, the law school had created many new opportunities for its students to specialize and get involved in community projects. Over the past few years, a new focus on inderdisciplinary education has emerged.[5]

Academics and admissions


Stanford Law School has a small student body, and a very low student to faculty ratio. Class sizes are among the smallest of any top law school, with first-year classes of approximately 170 students. [1]

The academic program is flexible and includes a diverse array of courses and clinics. As first years, students take courses in criminal law, civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, torts, property, and legal research and writing. Upper level courses range from business law to international law and include a growing clinical program. The Supreme Court Clinic has successfully brought over twenty cases before the Court, making it one of the most active Supreme Court practices of any kind. [2] Because of its proximity to other top academic programs on campus, there has been a growing focus on joint degree programs and classes with other professional schools, such as business, medicine, and education.

Students run about thirty student organizations and publish seven legal journals. The most influential journal is the Stanford Law Review. Advocacy skills are tested in the Kirkwood Moot Court competition.

Robert Crown Law Library at Stanford holds 500,000 books, 360,000 microform and audiovisual items, and more than 8,000 current serial subscriptions.

Between 4,000 and 5,000 students apply for admission each year. Selection is intense: the median undergraduate grade point average of students is around 3.9 and the median LSAT 170.[3] Beyond numbers, Stanford places considerable emphasis on factors such as extracurricular activities, work experience, and prior graduate study. About three quarters of the members of each entering class have one year or more of prior work experience - often in politics, nonprofits, teaching, banking, or consulting - and over a quarter have completed another graduate degree. In 2006, Stanford Law School's acceptance rate was 8.7%, one of the lowest in the nation. [4] The Law School also accepts a small number of transfers each year.

Stanford Law School adopted a reformed grading system that no longer utilizes traditional letter grades in August 2008, joining Yale Law School, the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and, starting in 2009, Harvard Law School. Students now receive one of four grades: honors, pass, restricted credit, or no credit, instead of the traditional A+ to F grades.[6]

Programs and centers

  • Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy Program (ENRLP)
  • Rule of Law Program
  • Stanford Program in International Law
  • Stanford Program in Law, Economics & Business
  • John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics
  • Stanford Program in Law, Science & Technology (LST)
  • Martin Daniel Gould Center for Conflict Resolution Programs
  • Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance
  • Center for E-Commerce
  • Center for Internet and Society (CIS)
  • Center for Law and the Biosciences
  • Gould Negotiation and Mediation Teaching Program
  • Stanford Center on International Conflict and Negotiation (SCICN)
  • Stanford Criminal Justice Center
  • Stanford Center for Computers and the Law (CodeX)
  • Stanford Law Review

Notable alumni

The Law School has a distinguished history of producing leaders in the judiciary, academia, corporate law, finance, government, and the public interest. Upon graduation, most students join law firms or clerk for a judge. About 25% of each graduating class clerks. [5] Stanford alumni practice in 50 countries and 49 states, and are partners at 94 of the 100 largest law firms in the United States. [6] Despite its small size, recently, Stanford has produced the fourth most professors of law in the country [7] and the fourth most clerks to the Supreme Court. [8]

Notable faculty

When assessed by academic peers, the law faculty is ranked one of the three most accomplished in the country.[7] In 2006, the National Law Journal included six Stanford faculty - professors Jeffrey Fisher, Joseph Grundfest, Mark Lemley, Lawrence Lessig, Kathleen Sullivan, and lecturer Thomas Goldstein - on its list of the 100 most influential lawyers in the country.[8]]

Popular culture


External links

Leland Stanford Junior University


School of Humanities and SciencesSchool of EngineeringSchool of Earth SciencesSchool of EducationGraduate School of BusinessStanford Law SchoolSchool of Medicine

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