Point of View

| Issue 90

Fixing American Democracy

Last April, soon after I accepted Stanford’s offer to join its faculty, I received a call from Robert Bauer and Ben Ginsberg, the lawyers who had represented President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. They had been tasked by the president with chairing a bipartisan [...]

| Issue 89

Disruption and 
Innovation in Transactional Law Practice

The combination of technology advances and cost-cutting pressures from clients is triggering a major transformation in the core practices of business law. In particular, the past decade has witnessed the emergence and significant improvement of software that designs, drafts, reads (visualizes and operationalizes), and manages contract documents. These innovations have [...]

| Issue 88

Fixing Three Strikes

Many would say that for a lawyer nothing is more wonderful than the thrill of freeing the innocent or walking an unjustly incarcerated defendant out of prison. And indeed it is a wonderful thrill. A lawyer obviously cares about the individual deeply and passionately, cares about justice and doing the [...]

| Issue 87

The Sympathetic State: 
Disaster Relief and 
the Origins of the 
American Welfare State


Even as unemployment rates soared during the Great Depression, FDR’s relief and social security programs faced attacks in Congress and the courts on the legitimacy of federal aid to the growing population of poor. In response, New Dealers pointed to a long tradition—dating back to 1790 and now largely forgotten—of [...]

| Issue 86

The Need 
for Clinical Education

It is easy to talk about the growth of Stanford Law School’s clinical program by focusing on numbers. We now have 10 clinical programs; 10 faculty members leading clinics; 9 clinical instructors; 7 support staff; 130 students enrolled in clinics each year; and 20,000 square feet of dedicated clinical space. [...]

| Issue 85

The Slave Trade and the Origins of International Human Rights Law

In the year 1800, slavery was normal. European countries used international law to authorize and justify the ownership of human beings. In the first decade of the nineteenth century, an estimated 609,000 slaves arrived in the New World. Within a relatively short time span, however, things began to change. In [...]

| Issue 84

Law and the Biosciences

A leading expert on the legal, ethical, and social issues surrounding health law and the biosciences, Hank Greely (BA ’74) specializes in the implications of new biomedical technologies, especially those related to neuroscience, genetics, and stem cell research. He is chair of California’s Human Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee and served from 2007-2010 as co-director of the Law and Neuroscience Project, funded by the MacArthur Foundation. Here Professor Greely offers his insights into the growing field of law and biosciences.

| Issue 83

Honest Services

Jeffrey Skilling led Enron from 1997 to 2001. During his tenure Enron grew into one of the most successful companies in the United States, primarily as an energy trading company. Many of its employees invested their life savings in Enron stock, and investors flocked to the company; Enron became the darling of the investment community and its officers joined the inner circle of industry elite.

| Issue 82

“Run-of-the-Mill Justice”

Over the past three decades, no development in the legal services industry has been more widely observed and less carefully scrutinized than the emergence of firms I call “settlement mills”—high-volume personal injury law practices that aggressively advertise and mass produce the resolution of claims, typically with little client interaction and [...]

| Issue 81

California Prisons

It has begun to enter public consciousness that the United States now houses more of its constituents as guests of the government—in jails and prisons—than any other nation. In this regard we not only exceed our “peers” (Australia, Canada, Japan, and Western Europe) by several hundred percent, we exceed all countries for which we have records: Russia is a distant second. It is also obvious that California has one of the most dysfunctional prison systems in the nation.