Law as a Catalyst for Change
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.
At Stanford, public service is more than a program pursued by a handful of students; it’s a central part of our mission and our culture. We believe every lawyer has a responsibility and the capacity to make a positive difference in the world. We expect every student and every faculty member to step up to that role—and we’re committed to providing everyone in our community with the resources and support to do so.
Stanford Law brings this commitment to life by offering students dedicated to public interest law everything they need to launch rewarding careers, from an intensive academic education and hands-on training to close mentorship by faculty members, fellowships and scholarships, and a generous loan forgiveness program. Whether they ultimately work in the community, behind the scenes in a policymaking capacity, or in the international arena, Stanford Law students who choose a public interest path receive the inspiration and support to make a difference throughout their careers.
But we have a greater vision: Stanford Law aims to make public service a part of every lawyer’s career—regardless of ideology or political persuasion, and whether one works in business, in a private law firm, or in any of the myriad other roles lawyers play. The legal profession has a special role and responsibility in our culture, and part of being a professional includes serving the larger community in some way. Lawyers who do so, moreover, have more satisfying professional lives and greater career satisfaction.
The public service program plays an important role in Stanford Law’s mission to prepare every student intellectually, while cultivating the skills, values, and professional identity that make excellent lawyers. We offer future lawyers of every professional ambition diverse intellectual resources and hands-on opportunities in public service, through pro bono work, externships, superb networking and mentoring opportunities, and a wide array of legal clinics.
These diverse strengths reflect Stanford Law’s belief that public service itself is an exciting and venerable career choice and is also a critical and rewarding supplement to any legal career. By making public interest experience accessible and relevant, we want to inspire every Stanford Law student to use the law as a tool for positive change.
Related Areas of Interest
I think Stanford Law has been a leader in environmental law and land management and is heading in absolutely the right direction by providing opportunities for students to work across disciplines. As they learn the law, they also have the opportunity to learn the science and to learn how to work with business and government. When I went to Stanford ... there was a public service orientation to the law school as there is now, and the notion that the law should be used to help people was emphasized.
David J. Hayes ’78, Deputy Secretary of the Interior for the Obama Administration, Retired Partner and Global Chair of the Environment, Land & Resources Department at Latham & Watkins LLP