Articles in ‘Future of Law’

Civil Liberties and Law in the Era of Surveillance

November 17, 2014 | Issue 91

It may no longer be an exaggeration to say that big brother is watching. When Edward Snowden leaked classified government documents last year, many were surprised to learn just how much access the National Security Agency (NSA) has to the personal email and phone records of ordinary citizens.

IP Law and Innovation with Mark A. Lemley and A. Douglas Melamed

November 14, 2014 | Issue 91

Two of IP law’s top scholars and practitioners discuss recent U.S. Supreme Court cases and challenges facing the field.

From the Dean

November 12, 2014 | Issue 91

The term “epicenter” refers to the point on the Earth’s surface that is directly above the point where an earthquake or underground explosion originates.

We all know that the word epicenter is frequently used outside the context of seismic events. In fact, those who police our language grumble about its overuse.

I cannot count the number of times I have been told that Stanford University and Silicon Valley are the epicenter of the digital revolution, but I don’t think even those who are serious about the use of language should complain. It’s true, there is no surface point that can be matched to a subsurface point of disruption, but this region and this school have created something that is easily analogous to an earthquake—a shaking and shifting of the earth, with unpredictable aftershocks. Of course, it is only an analogy because, unlike seismic disasters, the digital revolution has created countless goods. But it has also created some new concerns.

Our feature story in this issue zeros in on one set of those concerns—the way in which the digital revolution has changed the relationship between the citizen and the state. The world that we now take for granted creates the possibility of wide-scale government surveillance of huge populations and the possibility that law enforcement can reach into every nook and cranny of our lives. Not surprisingly, those at Stanford Law School are at the center of many of the most pressing debates over this new reality and they are featured in our cover story.

New Rule of Law Program

May 27, 2014 | Issue 90

Stanford Law School’s Rule of Law Program is partnering with the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) to develop a pilot legal education project, the Iraq Legal Education Initiative (ILEI)—increasing to five the number of student-run projects in the program. Working collaboratively, the partners designed a program in which Stanford [...]

Small Firm Diversity

May 23, 2014 | Issue 90

The story of Garcia, Hernández, Sawhney & Bermudez, LLP can be told, at least preliminarily, through statistics. All of the California firm’s eight partners are people of color and nearly three-quarters of those partners are women. Home to 15 attorneys in three offices, Garcia, Hernández is one of the state’s [...]

From The Dean

May 23, 2014 | Issue 90

The very best lawyers are problem-solvers. True, they have specialized knowledge—they may know the securities laws, for instance—and specialized skills—they may know how to cross-examine an expert witness. But truly able lawyers can take a problem, see its distinct elements, and identify and analyze possible solutions.

Stanford Law’s new Law and Policy Lab, our cover feature in this issue, recognizes that lawyers solve problems outside of courtrooms and boardrooms. Our graduates have always been influential in policy—its formulation, its implementation, and its execution. And our current students increasingly see that their careers will involve policy. The Law and Policy Lab helps prepare our students for that future.

Practicums are at the heart of this initiative. In each practicum, a faculty member works with a small group of students to help solve a real-world problem, usually at the request of a client. The clients and their problems come in all shapes and sizes. For instance, the U.S. Copyright Office asks how the recording of copyrights can be more efficient. Paul Goldstein and a group of students work to answer the question. Or the California Law Review Commission asks how to modernize California law regarding law enforcement access to the records of cell phone providers, social media companies, and Internet service providers. Bob Weisberg and a group of students work to answer those questions.

The New JD

June 11, 2012 | Issue 86

Today’s Stanford Law offers a wide array of opportunities to explore not only the kind of law students hope to practice but also to learn more about the kinds of clients they’ll work for and the dynamics of the world they will enter.

From the Dean

May 31, 2011 | Issue 84

Students today put a lot more thought into choosing a law school than they did in the past. And they have access to vastly more information with which to do so. In addition to a surfeit of books offering advice on the best law schools, not to mention U.S. News, they can (and do) turn to blogs and list serves and chat groups to gather information and exchange stories and opinions. On top of this, most schools invite admitted applicants to spend a day or two on campus, where they can learn still more about the school and meet current students and faculty.

I really enjoy these weekends. I love meeting prospective students, each more amazing than the last. I like explaining what we do at Stanford Law and why. I especially enjoy conversations in which someone challenges me to explain why he or she should choose Stanford over some other law school. But this year was different in one respect. A number of admitted students were still undecided about attending law school at all, still looking to be persuaded that a law degree is worth the time and money—still unsure, in the lingo of the moment, that law is a good “value proposition.”

Prospective law students do not have these concerns because of the economy. Hard economic times usually make law school more attractive, as young people sensibly invest in their education while waiting for things to [...]