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Stanford Law School Appoints Jay Mitchell Director of Organizations and Transactions Clinic

Publication Date: 
May 09, 2007
Source: 
Stanford Law School

Senior Legal Executive at Levi Strauss & Co. to Launch New Business Clinic

NOTE: AS OF SEPTEMBER 2007, THE NONPROFIT AND GENERAL COUNSEL CLINIC IS NOW CALLED THE ORGANIZATIONS AND TRANSACTIONS CLINIC.

STANFORD, Calif., May 9, 2007—Stanford Law School today announced that it has appointed Jay A. Mitchell as lecturer in law and director of its new Nonprofit and General Counsel Clinic. The clinic will provide students opportunities to engage in public interest lawyering through business and transaction work with nonprofits and small enterprises. Mitchell, a former partner at Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe in San Francisco, will join the law school this summer from Levi Strauss & Co. (“LS&Co.”), where he has been a legal executive since 1992. He brings over 20 years of corporate practice and business experience to the law school.

Stanford Law School’s Nonprofit and General Counsel Clinic is one of ten clinics operating within the umbrella clinical education program, the Stanford Legal Clinic. Under the direction of Mitchell and the clinic’s Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe Teaching Fellow, students will form new entities, draft and negotiate contracts, assist with funding and financing projects, advise on governance, communications, and compliance matters, and provide general corporate support to the clinic’s clients. Students will have an opportunity to develop fundamental analytical, editorial, counseling, planning and negotiation skills in the context of live projects as well as classroom work, all with an eye to the various ways in which lawyers can provide legal services to the nonprofit sector and the under-represented.

“The Bay Area has a remarkable concentration of nonprofit, business, philanthropic and academic resources, and it is at the vanguard of social innovation,” said Mitchell. “Our challenge is to find a way to draw upon these resources and run a clinic that helps clients, builds professional method and discipline, and demonstrates how corporate lawyers can contribute to the work of all kinds of organizations, including nonprofits. It’s an exciting opportunity.”

“The law school has set for itself the goal of helping its students learn to think like clients as well as lawyers and inspire them toward a lifelong commitment to public service,” Mitchell continued. “The clinic will encourage discussion of the broader constituencies of an organization and consequences of a problem in addition to teaching students about technical legal issues. And we will cultivate planning and communication skills in students that result in efficiency and practicality valued by clients.”

Clinical education at Stanford Law School provides in-depth, hands-on learning opportunities that prepare students for real-world legal practice, and it helps instill in students a fundamental, lifetime commitment to public service and pro bono activities. By teaching students how to practice as business lawyers within the context of serving nonprofits and micro-businesses, the clinic will provide both legal services to the community and closely supervised clinical training to students that they can apply across their future practice.

Professor Larry Marshall, who serves as the David and Stephanie Mills Director of Clinical Education, and Associate Dean for Public Service and Clinical Education, explained that, “Stanford has a wide array of clinical opportunities in the litigation context, but this will be our first explicitly transactional program. This new clinic will drive home the message that public service and pro bono practice takes place in many arenas—in the boardroom as well as the courtroom. Students pursuing corporate practice careers will also benefit greatly from the reflective, highly supervised hands-on training that is the hallmark of our clinical program.”

About Jay Mitchell

Mitchell is a member of the legal and finance senior management teams at LS&Co. His work focuses on capital structure, corporate governance, financial disclosure and product sourcing matters for the $4.1 billion marketer of Levi’s®, Dockers® and Levi Strauss Signature® apparel. He has also worked on a broad range of commercial matters in the United States and Europe, including trademark licensing, technical product innovation, antitrust, logistics, acquisition, retail joint venture and other projects. He is a 1980 graduate of Stanford University and a 1983 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law.

About Stanford Legal Clinic

Stanford Law School runs a variety of clinics that litigate in a number of specialized fields, including immigrants’ rights, community law, cyberlaw, environmental protection and educational advocacy. The clinics operate cohesively as a single law firm—the Stanford Legal Clinic (SLC)—and provide pro bono representation to the public. Clinical courses are structured as supervised settings that teach students how to work with clients and colleagues, how to address the ethical dilemmas that arise in practice, and how to apply legal concepts taught hypothetically or in the abstract in the classroom to a real world, client representation situation.

Overall, the SLC has the capacity for every student to take one clinical course at some point during their three years at Stanford Law School. The school’s long term goal is to expand the number and range of its clinical courses and develop a “clinical rotation” where students work full time in a clinic during a particular quarter—with no competing exams or classes.

Many of Stanford’s clinics have been pathbreaking and have won key federal rulings in the areas of immigrants’ rights, environmental protection, disability rights, age-discrimination, bankruptcy protection for retirees, and more. The first clinic, the Stanford Community Law Clinic, was the first of its kind in 1984 to provide free legal assistance to low-income Bay Area clients. One of the most well-known clinics and an emerging model for other law schools is the Stanford Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, which has worked on more than two dozen Supreme Court cases, including sixteen merits cases since its founding in 2004.

About Stanford Law School

Stanford Law School is one of the nation's leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business, and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, and write books and articles for academic audiences, as well as the popular press. Along with offering traditional law school classes, the school has embraced new subjects and new ways of teaching. The school's home page is located at www.law.stanford.edu.

EDITORIAL CONTACT

Judith Romero
Associate Director of Media Relations
Stanford Law School
650.723.2232
judith.romero@stanford.edu
www.law.stanford.edu/news