Articles in ‘Legal Trends’

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.

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 Criminal Justice Center Initiative Focuses on Higher Education

May 27, 2014 | Issue 90

A key public safety and budgetary goal for California policymakers is to prevent prisoner recidivism—to ensure that released prisoners become productive members of society and stay out of prison. Yet few opportunities to earn a degree exist for the incarcerated or recently released, so the likelihood that they will improve [...]

Law, Innovation, and Silicon Valley

June 11, 2012 | Issue 86

Identifying the spark for what is now Silicon Valley is sport for some, but for others it’s the focus of serious study—whole university courses are designed to track the origins of this engine of innovation and entrepreneurship, 
perhaps hoping to capture it in a bottle.

Law Students Awarded in Stanford Business Competition

June 11, 2012 | Issue 86

Daniel Lewis, JD ’12, and Nik Reed, JD ’12 (BA ’02), came up with an idea for a legal search technology and have been juggling their busy course load with developing it. Their product presents a new view of legal search, says Reed, by using innovative visualization technology to provide search results that reveal the most important legal cases, connections between cases, and the evolution of legal principles over time. the two submitted their idea to the Business Association of Stanford Entrepreneurial Students Group (BASES) Challenge. One of 150 original business plans under consideration, it won second place at the May finals where they were awarded $10,000. The very happy Lewis and Reed are pictured here holding the check, with BASES team members behind them.

Daniel Cooperman
 and the
 Role of the Modern GC

June 11, 2012 | Issue 86

Here’s the scenario: You’re a senior executive in the legal department of a major multinational corporation and you receive a hand-delivered letter from media-
savvy discrimination attorney Gloria Allred alleging sexual misconduct by your CEO. What’s your first action?

Your Privacy At Risk

October 28, 2011 | Issue 85

Phone-hacking scandals at News of The World. One lawsuit after 
another alleging privacy breaches by major companies. A backlash over body-scanning machines in airport 
security lines. It’s been a busy year for those who work at the intersection of privacy law and technology. “2011 is the year that changed privacy,” [...]

JDs As VCs

October 28, 2011 | Issue 85

Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, the Doobie Brothers, and Crosby, Stills & Nash headlined at Shoreline Amphitheater on a gorgeous summer day last August—a benefit for Musicians United for Safe Energy and humanitarian aid for Japan. It was a redux of a 1979 Madison Square Garden concert where the same musicians [...]

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 [...]

Law and the Biosciences

May 31, 2011 | Issue 84

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.