Lawyers who serve the public harness law’s power as a catalyst for positive change in the world. Stanford Law School is proud to provide those who choose public service with the expert training, guidance, and financial support they need to achieve their goals. At the same time, we seek to inspire all our students to experience the rewards of using their legal training to serve their communities and society.
Smaller and more intimate than many other law schools, Stanford Law offers students interested in public interest the opportunity for in-depth academic training in a uniquely supportive environment. The John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law augments intensive intellectual preparation and hands-on learning opportunities with dedicated counseling and support.
Lawyering for Social Change
How is the role of a lawyer different if she or he seeks to be a community advocate for a client’s interests? Can real social change be effected through the courts? This course examines the role of lawyers and the legal system in advancing a cause or broad-based public policy. Through the use of actual case studies, and with the participation of some of the key lawyers who worked on those cases, students explore differing models of lawyering and ethical issues related to working as a lawyer within a social movement.
With faculty experts who care as much about students as they do about making a difference through scholarship, dedicated students who become role models, and a network of alumni doing public service and public interest work around the world, Stanford Law is an inspiring community for students interested in public service law.
The impact and commitment of Stanford Law faculty is matched by that of our students. Each year, Stanford selects third-year students as role models through the Public Interest Fellows program. Fellows receive tuition grants and mentor underclass students as they explore their own commitments to public interest law. After graduation they pursue careers in public service.
Learning by working in the public interest is a critical component of a Stanford Law education. The Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law offers many opportunities for students to hone their skills through practice and see the difference they can make as lawyers, whether they ultimately pursue a public interest career, work in government or the private sector, or enter academia.
Beyond academic excellence and dedicated mentors, beyond unique opportunities for hands-on legal experience, Stanford’s John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law offers many other resources—from celebrated annual conferences to a generous loan forgiveness program— that make a difference for students during their time in law school, and after.
Students who pursue public service and public interest law at Stanford learn through a wide array of experiences and forums and have had opportunities to:
Second-chair a felony burglary trial as an extern at the San Francisco District Attorney’s office.
Work through the pro bono program to help prevent the eviction of an indigent woman from public housing.