My joint degree in law and sociology let me take advantage of the best of both departments. My professors, who remain valued colleagues, struck just the right balance, providing guidance when I wanted it while allowing me to build an individually tailored joint degree program. – Laura E. Gomez, JD/PhD in Law and Sociology, '92/'91, Associate Dean for Faculty Development, Professor of Law & American Studies, University of New Mexico Law School
Across the United States and around the world, law is a major instrument of public policy. With a focus on domestic policy issues (including but not limited to the United States), Stanford's JD/MPP program provides training in essential skills for lawyers interested in shaping public policy, either as advocates for public or private clients or as elected or appointed public officials.
There are nearly as many intersections between law and psychology as there are areas of policy regulation. Conflict resolution and negotiation; judgment and decision-making capacity; prejudice and stereotyping; criminal responsibility; competency; assessment of evidence, including the reliability of eyewitnesses, and lie detection; hedonics; developmental psychology and educational policy; addiction and drug policy—these are just a few of the frontiers open to scholars and practitioners educated in both law and psychology.
Whether one examines a president's power over government agencies, legislative responses to judicial decisions, or the impact of international agreements, law and politics are often so interdependent that it is difficult to define one without reference to the other. Lawyers work within institutions that are shaped by the politics of agencies, courts, legislatures, the electorate, and the international system. Legal institutions, in turn, have reciprocal effects on the distribution, use, and limits of political power.
The philosophical underpinnings and implications of law have been a central concern for as long as there has been law. Ultimately, law is a system of rules to regulate society, and the goodness or badness of any rule must be judged by its success in promoting a more just society.
A joint degree in law and Management Science & Engineering (MS&E) enables lawyers and scholars to develop competence in a broad range of disciplines relevant to today's business world—from information science and technology to economics, finance, and investment; from manufacturing to marketing; from public policy analysis to probability systems.
Lawyers have historically played a vital role in policymaking — either as legislators, regulators, or government officials charged with developing and administering the law; as legal experts in public interest nongovernmental organizations; or as practitioners responsible for advising private actors about the law's application to their conduct. As a result of globalization and ever-expanding international interdependence, lawyers increasingly and inevitably will be expected to assume such policymaking functions in an international environment.
Practicing law in the 21st century is increasingly multinational, requiring a sophisticated understanding of regional trade and finance, environmental issues, governance, and human rights. Lawyers with a deep knowledge of important regions of the world are better equipped for legal practice, business, and government–benefiting from insights relevant to fundamental issues of justice, equality, and growth within nation states.
Stanford Law is open to new ideas. Combining law with the study of Ancient Greece is admittedly unusual, but every professor was receptive and supportive. And they did it all while preparing me to practice law. — Kyle Lakin, JD/PhD in Law and Ancient History, '08