Bridging Theory and Practice
At Stanford Law School, clinical education accomplishes many goals. It is a vital part of our mission to prepare every student for the real-world challenges, responsibilities, and rewards of a career—any career—in law. At the same time, it helps instill in students a fundamental commitment to a lifetime engagement with public service and pro bono activities. In addition, it is one of the ways we give back to our community.
The work of lawyers today requires a new kind of legal education—one that is multidimensional and that emphasizes problem solving, creativity, collaboration, and professional ethics in addition to a strong grasp of legal theory. Critical to preparing law students for the work they will do is an opportunity to work on real cases, with real clients, before graduation—while students can prepare and reflect with trusted mentors whose job is to teach through experiential learning.
The role of the Mills Legal Clinic of Stanford Law School is to provide in-depth, hands-on learning opportunities. In addition to incubating tomorrow’s public service, public interest, and pro bono lawyers, our clinics are a training ground for future lawyers, whatever their career interests—whether to join a large firm, become entrepreneurs or scholars, make policy, or engage in public service.
The program’s many assets include world-class clinical faculty who are leaders in their fields, a diverse and supportive community, the resources of one of the world’s leading research universities—and Stanford’s historic and enduring belief that work in the service of society is the responsibility (and reward) of every lawyer. Intensifying that commitment, students may now participate full time in a clinic for a quarter, with no other courses or distractions—providing a powerful lawyering experience.
Students often say that their clinical experience at Stanford changed their lives. We believe it makes them better lawyers and leaders. At Stanford, working through a legal clinic can be the foundation for a rewarding future in the public and private sectors alike. Our ultimate goal is to provide a high-quality clinical experience for every student who attends Stanford Law.
Experiential learning must be part of every student’s legal education. In a clinic, students learn critical skills in translating concepts into practice and understanding how to make them work in the always messy real world. They also experience firsthand the rewards and importance of using their legal training for the betterment of society.
Former Dean and Lecturer in Law