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Legal Research and Writing Program

Fellowships


  • For more than thirty years Stanford Law School has offered a fellowship teaching legal research and writing to introduce aspiring law professors to the legal academy.  Stanford retooled the Stanford Law Fellowship in the early 2000’s to develop a more sophisticated and demanding writing curriculum and to attract Fellows committed to go on the tenure-track teaching market at the end of the two- or three-year fellowship program.

    Grey Fellows are selected for their scholarly potential, writing ability, and enthusiasm and dedication to teach legal writing.  All of our Fellows have spent time as practicing lawyers; Fellows are required to have two years of law practice experience, and many have substantially more.   Most Grey Fellows have had one or more judicial clerkships, and many have written in a non-legal discipline, such as journalism or fiction.  They have practiced as public interest lawyers and in private law firms, as litigators, law reformers, and transactional lawyers.  They have represented clients with both criminal and civil matters.  We select Fellows whose experiences enrich what they bring to the classroom, and who are ready to make the transition from law practitioner to legal scholar.

    The Grey Fellowship prepares Fellows for the rigor of a tenure-track position.  Fellows are provided a faculty mentor and a research budget, and are welcomed in the academic life of SLS.  They participate in our weekly faculty workshops, gaining familiarity with the give and take of scholarly dialogue and exposure to the wide array of research methodologies and topics of legal discourse.  In addition, Grey Fellows join regularly with the wider group of fellows at Stanford Law School to workshop their own scholarship.  In this group—which includes fellows affiliated with centers and programs as diverse as the Center on Law and Biosciences, the Stanford Constitutional Law Center, and the Center for Internet and Society—Stanford Law Fellows present their own work and read and comment on the scholarship on legal issues far afield from their own discipline.  This emphasis on rigorous scholarly activity has resulted in fellows placing articles in the Hastings Law Journal, the California Law Review, the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, the Stanford Law Review, the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties law Review, the William and Mary Law Review, and many others.

    Grey Fellows are required to balance the development of their own scholarship with a demanding teaching load.  The Legal Research and Writing curriculum is a rigorous program comprised of two courses.  Fellows teach Legal Research and Writing in the fall and Federal Litigation in the winter and spring.  Each Fellow teaches thirty students in the fall and eighteen students in the spring—one quarter of the SLS first-year class.

    The curriculum contains a strong conceptual component, and Fellows teach students modern and classical theories of rhetoric and narrative, and demonstrate to students how these theories are in evidence in excellent legal writing.  Both courses are taught as simulations in which students take an active role as a lawyer representing a client.  Although the simulation and assignments are uniform across the first year class, each Fellow takes ownership of her or his own classroom, designing the curriculum to suit her interests and the needs of her class.

    The teaching load is rigorous.  Legal Research and Writing and Federal Litigation classes are taught twice a week through most of the fall, winter, and spring quarters.  Fellows employ a diversity of teaching methodologies—lecture, Socratic techniques, in-class exercises, student demonstrations, peer editing, and feedback on writing and oral argument—to engage students.  The program provides a teaching workshop each summer to prepare Fellows to teach in the classroom and to form productive working relationships with students; former Fellows who are now teaching at law schools around the country report that they are not only comfortable in front of a classroom, but that they have incorporated creative methods they learned during the fellowship into their law teaching.

    Stanford Law Fellow alumni have gone on to tenure-track positions at law schools across the country,  including University of California-Berkeley, Chicago-Kent College of Law, University of Connecticut, University of Georgia, Gonzaga University School of Law, Loyola Law School-Los Angeles, Rutgers School of Law, Newark, Santa Clara Law School, Seattle School of Law, Stanford Law School, and University of Tennessee.