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Law and Policy Lab

Issues of public policy pervade teaching and research at Stanford Law School, beginning in first-year courses, which explore the policies underlying basic legal doctrines, and continuing in advanced courses focusing on policy in areas ranging from intellectual property to criminal justice. Several of the clinics in the Mills Legal Clinic give students opportunities to counsel and advocate for clients on policy issues, and many of the Law School’s Centers engage students in policy research.

The Law and Policy Lab contributes to a core mission of Stanford Law School by helping students acquire the rigorous analytical skills needed to develop policy solutions to pressing social and environmental issues.

It serves as a policy incubator, allowing students to work under the supervision of faculty advisers to advise real-world clients on policy issues ranging from equity in education to copyright and patent reform, from reducing children’s obesity to protecting international human rights and preventing wildlife trafficking. The Policy Lab reflects the belief that the systematic examination of societal problems informed by rigorous data analysis can improve policy decisions and outcomes. In addition to the methods of policy analysis, students learn regulatory drafting and communications skills necessary to translate their findings into actionable measures for policy leaders and the communities they serve.

Work in the Policy Lab is done through practicums, which emphasize experiential learning, and foster teamwork and collaboration, to generate ideas that can provide solutions to our some of our most challenging public problems. Many of the practicums are interdisciplinary, giving law students the opportunity to work with faculty and students with expertise in technology, environmental studies, medicine, and other disciplines.

Students who wish to combine work in Policy Lab practicums with a broader study of policy analysis are encouraged to take the winter term course, Problem Solving and Decision Making for Public Policy and Social Change, which is open to other students as well.

Policy Lab practicums are open to 2Ls, 3Ls and advanced degree students.