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Stanford Law School was founded in 1893. The inaugural faculty included dignitaries like former U.S. President Benjamin Harrison. While the traditional environment has always stressed on creating a comfort zone both for students and faculty, the small classes and high attention from professors ensure quality. The environment is summed up by a comment from Kathleen Sullivan, former Dean of Stanford Law School: “Who could resist a world-class law school in paradise?”

Stanford Law School has been putting great stress on preparing students to work collaboratively with other professions for the past few years. Taking a multidisciplinary approach Stanford is one of those few law schools that create students suitable for working both in law firms and within large corporate houses. It is common to find students complementing their JD in intellectual property with an MS in bioengineering or someone interested in environmental litigation doing an MS in environment and resources along with his/her JD. As of this year, Stanford Law School offers 27 formal joint degrees. The number of students enrolling for joint degrees offered by the school has increased nine-fold over the past six years.

In the U.S. News Law School Rankings published in 2012, Stanford Law School overtook Harvard to gain the second place on the list. According to a Forbes list of Best Law Schools to Get Rich, Stanford is at the top with a mid-career median pay of $236,000.

Currently in the US News rankings, Stanford ranked within the top 10 in 2 (IP and Environmental law) out of nine specialty categories. That said, Stanford was not ranked in Health Law, Trial Advocacy, and Legal Writing. In the US News rankings from 1991, Stanford ranked at the 2 nd spot 10 times, at the 3 rd spot 7 times, and at 4 th position once during 1991. While Yale stands at the top of the rankings undisputed, Stanford, over the last decade and more have continually dislodged Harvard to gain the 2 nd spot in overall rankings.

Stanford also was featured in a list of top law schools analyzed and ranked by LawCrossing CEO Harrison Barnes. This list can be found here: Top Law Schools Analyzed and Ranked by America’s Top Legal Recruiter .

Out of an average of 4500 applicants each year, Stanford Law School chooses 170. Applications are submitted electronically by completing prescribed forms. The application fee is $100 with prescribed procedures for waivers. A one-two page resume needs to be attached with the application for admission listing academic, extracurricular and professional activities.

The median undergraduate grade point average for successful admissions is 3.9 and the median LSAT score is 170. In its selection of candidates, Stanford puts great emphasis on personality, work-experience, extracurricular activities, and previous graduate study records. At least seventy five percent of new admissions have previous work-experience and at least a quarter of new admissions have another graduate degree.

One of the most important parts of the admission application is the ‘personal statement.’ The personal statement required to be submitted by each applicant needs to be about two pages describing ‘important or unusual’ aspects of the applicant, which are not otherwise apparent.

A statement from the Undergraduate Dean is required in prescribed format, but the requirement is waived in case of foreign applicants. Two to four letters of recommendation must be sent directly to the ‘Letter of Recommendation and Evaluation Service.’ Letters that are directly sent in to the Office of Admissions are rejected. LSAT scores and Credential Assembly Service Reports are mandatory.

Internships and summer associate programs are available from both public interest and for profit organizations including law firms. Besides work offered by law firms in the form of summer associate jobs, Stanford Law School has its own programs of Pro Bono Work, Internships and Externships. Most of these are also associated with clinical programs. Students of Stanford Law School may have the widest array of choices compared with other similar schools and the career office helps them to make their decisions.

Stanford Law School has consistently produced graduates who have achieved high-ranking positions in the legal field, especially in terms of judicial appointments. Stanford alumni are well represented on the benches of the federal courts and in California’s judicial system as well. Besides, judges the law school has also produced several entrepreneurs and media personalities.

  • Sandra Day O’Connor, first female U.S. Supreme Court Justice, (served 1981-2006)
  • Michael Arrington, entrepreneur and founder of TechCrunch
  • Riley Bechtel, Chairman and CEO, Bechtel Corporation
  • Raymond Bonner, investigative reporter for the New York Times
  • Amanda Brown. author of Legally Blonde
  • Robert Cochran, creator of the TV shows 24 and La Femme Nikita
  • Cheryl Mills, Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
  • Anthony Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union
  • Mark Oldman, Cofounder of Vault.com
  • Penny Pritzker, billionaire and CEO of Pritzker Realty
  • Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal

Jennifer Stisa Granick is the new Director of Civil Liberties at the Center for Internet and Society (CIS). The center, run by Stanford Law School, works on issues relating to cybersecurity, national security, government surveillance and free speech. Granick is a renowned expert in computer crime and security, data protection and related issues. She has served as founding executive director of CIS from 2001 to 2007 where she taught Cyberlaw and Computer Crime Law. Granick is also a columnist for tech magazines such as Wired and has published several law review articles.

Stanford Law School is teaming up with Pearl Meyer & Partners, an independent executive compensation consultancy. The firm will work with the law school’s Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance as a Venture Circle Program Partner. Pearl Meyer & Partners will be contributing sponsorships, scholarship, policy relevant research and help develop programs. The center at Stanford Law School was created to research corporate governance in a cross-disciplinary environment.

Stanford Law School has an employment rate of 97 percent for its students who graduated in 2010, according to the recent ABA report in which several other schools’ placement rates are also available. The data has been made available because of mounting public pressure over the placement rates of recent law school graduates.

Stanford Law School Dean Larry Kramer will be stepping down from his position in September 2012 and will be joining the Hewlett Foundation, where he will serve as its head.

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