Elsewhere Online twitter Facebook SLS Blogs YouTube SLS Channel Linked In SLSNavigator SLS on Flickr

Law and International Policy Studies


Lawyers have historically played a vital role in international policymaking — either as legislators, regulators, or government officials charged with developing and administering the foreign policy or international law; as leaders in international organizations; as legal experts in public interest nongovernmental organizations or research institutions; or as practitioners responsible for advising private actors about the law's application to their conduct in a transnational environment. As a result of globalization and ever-expanding international interdependence, lawyers will increasingly expected to master international policymaking functions in our global environment.

Supplementing the strengths of Stanford Law with preparation through Stanford's Ford Dorsey International Policy Studies (IPS) program, this joint degree provides students with the training and perspective to work across geographic boundaries and break down disciplinary barriers. Graduates gain the analytical tools and policy skills to function as lawyers, advocates, and policymakers across international issue areas and in diverse policy arenas, to see connections that others miss, and to describe and explain those connections so that others will then see them, too. IPS students choose an area of concentration among the following options:

  • Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law
  • Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources
  • Global Health
  • International Political Economy
  • International Security and Cooperation

Recipients of Stanford's joint JD and IPS degrees are prepared to practice law in the public sector as government officials, as lawyers working for nongovernmental organizations in such fields as international human rights and international environmental law, or in the private sector representing clients in transnational domains particularly sensitive to matters of public policy. Graduates may also go on to legal or policy positions in federal executive branch agencies with international responsibilities, in Congress, with international organizations, with nongovernmental organizations active on international issues, with law firms with a substantial transnational practice, with think tanks and policy consulting firms, or with multinational corporations in policy-sensitive sectors.