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Stanford's Deborah Rhode

Publication Date: 
June 09, 2014
Daily Journal
Maria Zilberman

Five years after founding Stanford's Center on the Legal Profession, Professor Deborah Rhode reflects on what's changes, and what still needs to be changed, in the legal industry with the Daily Journal's Maria Zilberman. 

A longtime professor and legal ethics expert, Deborah Rhode founded the Stanford Center on the Legal Profession to address challenges facing the industry. Five years after its creation, she reflects on what has changed—and what still needs to change—in the world of law.

What led you to start the center and what are its goals?

We live at a time of enormous change and challenge for the legal profession and having an academic center that connects theory and practice, and does a combination of research, teaching and programmatic initiatives, just seemed like a logical thing to do.

Did you always know you wanted to work in academia?

I did not go to law school with that I mind. I think in the back of my mind I had Brown v. Board of Education. I thought I wanted to do social change work and what convinced me, first of all, I did some clinical work when I was at Yale and I found it wasn't a great match for me. I constantly felt like I was putting little tiny bandages on huge gaping social wounds whether I was doing poverty law work or public defender work, and I just didn't get enough distance from the clients to be very effective.