This issue of Stanford Lawyer looks at criminal law. It’s an area of real strength at SLS. We have top scholars in the field, and offer a wide selection of courses. The Stanford Criminal Justice Center, co-directed by Bob Weisberg and Joan Petersilia, does cutting-edge research on criminal and penal policy. And two clinics—one focusing on defense, the other on prosecution—give students an opportunity to take what they learn in classes and from research and apply it in real-world settings. Students interested in criminal law and justice can thus experience the full range of learning situations needed to launch a successful career: classes, research, and experiential learning. It’s a model of legal education we are implementing across the curriculum—from business law to intellectual property law to environmental law, international law, and more—replacing the unguided, haphazard curriculum of the past with opportunities for structured immersion in the array of experiences needed to train great lawyers.
This idea of a guided and structured curriculum is no small matter. Advice on what to do while in law school has long been scarce—not just at Stanford but everywhere. Most of us were told that it didn’t matter much what courses we took, that we should just look on our time in law school as an opportunity to do a sort of “liberal arts in law” degree.