The Rule of Law Program capitalizes on the extraordinary initiative and commitment of Stanford law students and on invitations to partner with educational institutions and legal communities in countries seeking a more robust rule of law. Under the guidance of Professor Erik Jensen, a 30-year veteran of international development theory and practice, Stanford law students analyze both theoretical and practical ways that international and domestic actors can effectively support and strengthen the rule of law, taking full account of the local political economy of change and stasis.
From 2000 to 2006, the Rule of Law Program surveyed general trends in the Rule of Law and hosted specialized "country" workshops on countries such as Mexico, India, and China. In 2007 the Program reoriented its focus to supporting and guiding student–driven, country–specific projects. In the years since, the Program has launched projects in Afghanistan, Bhutan, Timor–Leste, Kurdistan, and recently Rwanda. The projects develop law curricula, author textbooks that critically and comparatively analyze the laws of the respective project countries, translate the textbooks into local languages, and provide technical support to develop the capacity of the partner institutions.
The Rule of Law Program is unique in that its "in the field" research generates critical analysis of the local laws and emerging practice in each of the project localities, and it tailors its educational materials to targeted users. The novelty and efficacy of its approach has been widely recognized and supported by institutions such at the US Department of State, which awarded a $7.24 million-dollar grant to the project in Afghanistan in 2012.