Directory

Stanford Law School

Stanford Law School
Crown Quadrangle
559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305
www.law.stanford.edu/

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Diane Chin
Associate Dean for Public Service and Public Interest Law
John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law
E-mail
P: (650) 725-4192

Anna Wang
Executive Director
John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law
E-mail
P: (650) 723-2519

Elizabeth (Betsy) de la Vega
Director of the Pro Bono and Externship Programs
John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law
E-mail
P: (650) 725-7909

Category Type

Formal Voluntary Pro Bono Program Characterized by a Referral System with Coordinator

Description of Programs

Stanford Law School (SLS) is committed to excellence in legal education and views pro bono legal service as integral to that goal. SLS also seeks to advance the ethical standards of the legal profession in the United States, which state that lawyers should aspire to provide significant pro bono publico legal services. Through its voluntary Pro Bono Program, students are encouraged to contribute 50 hours or more of pro bono service during their time at SLS.

Like other programs under the auspices of the Levin Center, the Pro Bono Program is designed to inspire, teach, cultivate the interests and passions of, and provide experiential learning opportunities for law school students.

By doing pro bono work and, hopefully, clinical work in the 2L and 3L years, students learn important skills, such as legal research and writing, client interviewing and the crafting of legal arguments, among others, early in their legal careers. These skills greatly benefit students as they begin their careers in the public interest sector, government or law firms. Doing pro bono work also helps students to contextualize what they are learning in their classes and gives them "real world" experience. Students discover, first-hand, how the ability to navigate the complexities of the law can make a tremendous difference in the lives of the people that they help – whether it is preventing a person's eviction from her home or filing a temporary restraining order against an abusive partner.

Currently, there are 21 pro bono projects covering a wide range of legal areas:

  • Alternative Break options that include work at the New Orleans Office of the Public Defender, work with Legal Aid of San Diego, a trip to Miami to assist stranded Haitians with obtaining Temporary Protected Status
  • Project ReMADE
  • Streetlaw
  • Volunteer Attorney Panel Pro Bono
  • Guardianship Pro Bono Program
  • Housing Pro Bono Program
  • Immigration Pro Bono Program
  • Language Bank
  • International Human Rights
  • Low Income Tax Preparation Aid
  • International Human Rights
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
  • Naturalization Pro Bono
  • Parallel Justice Project
  • Justice Bus trips to rural California
  • Stanford Law School Social Security Disability Project
  • Student Animal Legal Defense Fund
  • Pacific Legal Foundation

Additionally, the Pro Bono Program is piloting two new immigrants' rights programs with Bay Area agencies and a First Amendment project with the ACLU.

More information about the Pro Bono Program.

Location of Programs

Stanford Law School
Crown Quadrangle
559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA
94305-8610

Staffing/Management/Oversight

The Director of the Pro Bono and Externship Programs administers the Pro Bono Program with support from the Associate Dean of Public Service and Public Interest Law and the Executive Director of the Levin Center. There is also an in-house pro bono project, the Stanford Law School Social Security Disability Pro Bono Project. The Pro Bono Program is strongly supported by the Public Interest Committee, which is composed of faculty and two student representatives.

Funding

The Pro Bono Program is funded by the law school as part of the Levin Center's budget. SLS provides office space, computers, and student organization funding to the student groups and in-house projects that do pro bono work. SLS also provides some financial support for pro bono projects. To cite one example, the Levin Center, the Center on Ethics and the Stanford Public Interest Law Foundation helped to defray the expenses of students who traveled to the Gulf Coast over spring break to perform legal services. Faculty members who are engaged in pro bono work that overlaps with their faculty activities may use the resources of SLS to support their efforts.

Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

Asian and Pacific Islander Law Students Association (APILSA): Members of APILSA established and staff the Asian Community Immigration Clinic, which provides free advice to Asians in the San Francisco Bay Area.

StreetLaw:Law students volunteer their time to teach youth about their legal rights in one-hour classes, held once a week for eight weeks in Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall or in one of five alternative high schools.

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

Faculty members take on a broad range of pro bono activities ranging from serving on boards of legal nonprofit organizations to drafting amicus briefs for U.S. Supreme Court cases, among others.

Awards/Recognition

Students who undertake 50 hours or more of pro bono service during their three years at the law school will be recognized for their contributions at a reception in their honor, the annual Public Interest Awards ceremony and graduation.

Community Service

None lsited

Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Diane Chin
Associate Dean for Public Service and Public Interest Law
John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law
E-mail
P: (650) 725-4192

Anna Wang
Executive Director
John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law
E-mail
P: (650) 723-2519

Elizabeth (Betsy) de la Vega
Director of the Pro Bono and Externship Programs
John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law
E-mailu
P: (650) 725-7909

Mina "Titi" Liu
Director of International Public Interest Initiatives
John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law
E-mail
P: (650) 736-8088

Negar Katirai
Assistant Director
John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law
E-mail
P: (650) 723-8974

Certificate/Curriculum Programs

While Stanford Law School does not offer a public interest certificate or a formal public interest curriculum track, students are actively encouraged and provided individualized advice and counsel about how to devise a law school plan that serves their public interest career goals.

Public Interest Centers

The mission of the John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law at Stanford Law School is two-fold. Internally at the law school, the Center provides a rich resource for students who are interested in exploring or already committed to advancing the public good and achieving social justice through the law. Our research agenda is focused externally – to support the development and health of the public interest legal field, with a particular interest within the US in legal services for the indigent, and internationally regarding the interaction of international human rights mechanisms with domestic reform efforts.

Stanford Law School offers an array of classes and clinics that provide students with a solid foundation of theoretical knowledge and practical skills to support the pursuit of careers in public interest. It also supports students pursuing careers in the public interest and public sector through its pro bono program, externships, mentorships, career services, speaker series, and opportunities for financial assistance.

The Center houses public service and career services programs, and coordinates events ranging from skills training to public interest symposia to career panels. It also oversees a variety of public interest funding programs that tangibly support public interest and public sector students and alumni. The Center's research is conducted by its experienced legal staff, working in concert with students and faculty.

Public Interest Clinics

Stanford Law School offers a rich array of in-house clinical courses, taking advantage of the opportunities such clinics afford to merge academic instruction and practical training. Ten in-house clinics are currently in operation with more slated to open in the future. Please click on the following links for more information on each clinic.

Externships/Internships

The externship program at Stanford Law School provides second- and third-year students with a focused semester-long educational experience by combining fieldwork in nonprofit and government organizations with structured coursework or independent study.

The Standard Externship Program (SEP) offers placements in Bay Area organizations, and the Special Circumstances Externship Program (SCEP) allows students to apply for placements in organizations outside the Bay Area. Many SLS students take this opportunity to work on the East Coast or abroad. In the past, SLS students have traveled to Tanzania, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Switzerland, Brazil, and Costa Rica to serve in externships.

Classes with a Public Service Component

Please see clinics.

Public Interest Journals

Stanford Law School offers several journals that cover substantive issues relating to public policy and public interest matters.

Environmental Law Journal (ELJ), which was founded in 1978, is a semiannual scholarly periodical dedicated to analyses of current environmental legal issues and policies.

Compiled and edited entirely by Stanford Law School students, ELJ publishes articles, and sometimes essays, on timely and important issues in natural resources law, environmental policy, law and economics, international environmental law, and other topics relating to law and the environment. For example, ELJ has covered such topics as hazardous waste, energy development, natural resources conservation and regulation, global warming, and environmental justice. In particular, ELJ seeks to educate regarding the complexities of the natural world as reflected in the law, and to impart an understanding of the environment within the framework of the legal system.

ELJ solicits submissions from academics, practitioners, and others; it also accepts student articles. ELJ publishes in January and June.

Stanford Journal of Animal Law and Policy was founded in August 2007 to provide a widely accessible forum for the publication and discussion of animal law scholarship.

The Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (SJCRCL) is an interdisciplinary journal dedicated to civil rights and liberties issues both domestically and internationally. It seeks to explore the changing landscape of the civil rights and civil liberties dialogue, the real world implications of these changes on society, and the larger structural and systemic implications of these issues.

The Stanford Journal of International Law (SJIL) is a scholarly periodical devoted to analyses of current international legal issues. The student-run biannual prints articles by professors, practitioners, and students on a wide range of legal topics, including public international law, human rights, international trade, and comparative law. SJIL also publishes book reviews.

Within the law school community, SJIL exposes students to cutting-edge issues in international law and develops their research, writing, and editing skills. Outside the law school, it provides a resource for the exchange of scholarly ideas among practitioners, professors, judges, and holders of political office.

SJIL particularly encourages students to write and publish both full-length "notes" and shorter "recent developments." These shorter pieces are half the length of regular notes and discuss the legal significance of an important recent event in international law.

The staff of SJIL is composed of approximately fifty members and twenty editors who work closely with authors on the material for each issue. First-year students are encouraged to participate in the spring workshop and can become editors by the end of their second semester.

The Stanford Journal of Law, Science, and Policy is a peer reviewed journal for innovative interdisciplinary scholarship that bridges the divide between legal and scientific scholarship. The semiannual journal provides a unique opportunity for scientists and legal scholars to write together and is freely available online to ensure a broad readership.

The Stanford Law & Policy Review (SLPR) publishes academic articles that analyze the intersection of local and national policy with our legal system. While maintaining the scholarly standards of other law journals, SLPR is written for and distributed to the nation's policymakers: lawyers, judges, government officials, scholars in law and the social sciences, and leaders in the business world. Each issue features a symposium on a current policy topic.

PI Career Support Center

Stanford Law School offers dedicated public interest career services through the Levin Center, which has five full-time staff members. All five staff provide individualized career counseling for summer and permanent employment and assistance with fellowship applications. The Levin Center also runs a mock interview program with local public interest attorney volunteers, faculty and alumni mentoring programs, and a wide range of panels and workshops featuring public interest attorneys.

With other local law schools, we also co-sponsor the annual Northern California Public Interest/Public Sector Career Fair, which draws over 100 employers each year. Stanford Law School students are also eligible to receive travel stipends to attend the annual Equal Justice Works conference in DC.

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

The Miles and Nancy Rubin Loan Forgiveness Program - the Law School's loan repayment assistance program (LRAP) - provides financial aid to graduates who pursue public interest or government service careers. In 1987, Stanford Law School was the first law school in the country to launch such a program.

Stanford's commitment to guaranteeing career choices for its graduates is demonstrated by LRAP's success. The program reflects one of the school's key values: that public service is a worthy pursuit and that lawyers have a professional obligation to participate in public service throughout the course of their careers.

The program:

  • Ensures that salary will not drive alumni career decisions.
  • Helps alumni with excellent skills, motivation, and credentials find public interest jobs in both the United States and abroad.
  • Lends funds to eligible applicants to help them meet their monthly educational loan payments. Loans are awarded on an annual basis. If the graduate remains in qualifying public interest employment for the full year, 100% of that annual loan is forgiven at the end of the calendar year.

Graduates can participate in LRAP for up to ten years after they receive their JD. The program spent nearly $2 million to help 197 alumni participants in 2011. The average LRAP award per alumnus was $12,686.00 for the year.

For 2012 program details, please visit: http://www.law.stanford.edu/program/tuition/assistance/pdf/LRAP_2012_brochure.pdf

Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

Deborah L. Rhode, the Ernest W. McFarland Professor of Law, has endowed the Rhode Public Interest award, which is presented annually to a graduating student (or a team of graduating students) who has made outstanding contributions in work with underrepresented groups, in public interest causes outside the Law School, or in public service at the Law School. To be considered for the $3,000 award, the student must be nominated by faculty or other students.

Stanford Law School and the The Stanford Public Interest Law Foundation (SPILF) jointly sponsor a one-year postgraduate fellowship position for a Stanford Law School alumnus/a to work at a nonprofit that provides legal services to underrepresented communities or otherwise serves the public interest.. SPILF is a nonprofit, tax-exempt foundation established in 1978 by Stanford Law School students and alumni to provide funding for public interest law projects serving groups that have traditionally been denied adequate access to legal representation.

Graduate Student Funded:

Stanford Law School and the The Stanford Public Interest Law Foundation (SPILF) jointly sponsor a one-year postgraduate fellowship position for a Stanford Law School alumnus/a to work at a nonprofit that provides legal services to underrepresented communities or otherwise serves the public interest.. SPILF is a nonprofit, tax-exempt foundation established in 1978 by Stanford Law School students and alumni to provide funding for public interest law projects serving groups that have traditionally been denied adequate access to legal representation.

Other Funding Sources:

Stanford students and alumni traditionally have received several post-graduate fellowships each year from national fellowship programs including Skadden, Equal Justice Works, and Echoing Green fellowships as well as the U.S. Department of Justice, Attorney General's Honors Program appointments.

Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

The Law School administers scholarships that support students committed to public service. We also name as Public Interest Fellows those third-year students who have a history of public service, provide leadership within the law school, and are committed to careers as lawyers in the public service. Fellows serve a variety of roles within the law school—they mentor first-year students, provide policy direction for the Center and the law school, have direct access to the law school administration regarding myriad issues related to public interest, and engage in direct programming with the assistance of the Center director and staff. Fellows receive exclusive access to co-curricular workshops and other special benefits, but do not receive any financial compensation.

Graduate Student Funded:

None lsited

Other Funding Sources:

None lsited

Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

Every summer, the Law School awards summer public interest $5,000 fellowships to over 120 students. These fellowships are funded by Stanford Law School and federal work-study funds. Stanford Law School guarantees these fellowships to all students with financial need who plan to work in a nonprofit or government summer position.

The Lisa M. Schnitzer Memorial Scholarship was established by the family and friends of Ms. Schnitzer, a first-year Stanford Law School student who held a deep commitment to helping others, and who died in a car accident in 1987. Each spring, the $3,000 scholarship is awarded to a female first-year student who has demonstrated a strong commitment to helping the disadvantaged, who meets the Office of Financial Aid's criteria of financial need, and who will work for a nonprofit organization or government agency during the summer following her first year.

Graduate Student Funded:

None lsited

Other Funding Sources:

The Levin Center also administers the nominations process for several summer scholarships funded by external supporters and some are designated specifically for Stanford law students.

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

The Levin Center offers numerous extracurricular and co-curricular programs, including:

  • Public Interest Faculty Speaker Series
  • Public Interest Faculty and Student Mentoring Program
  • Public Interest Alumni Mentor-in-Residence Program
  • Workshops on Fellowships and other post-graduate opportunities
  • Public Interest Skills Trainings on topics like media advocacy and public speaking
  • Panels on how to conduct a Public Interest summer job search
  • Mock Interviews
  • Student Public Interest Fellows Advisory Committee Programs
  • Annual Public Service Awards reception honoring two public interest advocates whose work on behalf of the public has had national impact
  • Shaking the Foundations Conference, which is an annual conference that brings together law students, practitioners, and academics from around the country who share a commitment to use the law for positive, progressive social change. Through panels, workshops and speakers, the conference is designed to provide a forum for advocates and law students to discuss innovative strategies and solutions to the world's most pressing social justice issues. It is organized by students and supported in part by the Levin Center

Student Public Interest Groups

SLS public interest student groups have a variety of purposes, from focusing on specific practice areas like Environmental Law and International Law, to addressing the needs and interest of traditionally underrepresented groups, like Native American law students and queer students. Please visit http://www.law.stanford.edu/students/life/orgs.html for more information on these organizations.

American Constitution Society (ACS)

The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy is a recently formed national organization of law students, law professors, judges, practicing lawyers and others.

Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF)

The Stanford Law School Student Animal Legal Defense Fund is dedicated to providing a forum for education, advocacy, and scholarship aimed at protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system, and raising the profile of the field of animal law.

Asian and Pacific Islander Law Students Association (APILSA)

APILSA members are involved in activities that promote the interests of Asian and Pacific Islander (API) law students as well as the larger Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

Black Law Students Association (BLSA)107_pi

BLSA is but one chapter in a national organization that includes more than 170 member law schools.

Criminal Law Society (CLS)

The Stanford Criminal Law Society is a student group that strives to promote criminal law dialogue, practice, policy, and scholarship at SLS.

Environmental Law Society (ELS)

ELS, founded in 1969, is the oldest student environmental law society in the nation. Since its inception, ELS has provided students with opportunities to engage with environmental law issues, environmental professionals, and each other.

Federalist Society

The Stanford Federalist Society is the Law School's chapter of the Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies, a nationwide organization of conservative and libertarian law students, attorneys, professors, judges, and government officials interested in the current state of the legal order.

International Law Society (ILS)

The International Law Society (ILS) provides a forum for students interested in international law to interact with one another and engage in constructive dialogue. In addition to offering opportunities for getting to know other students and faculty who have international interests, ILS serves as a lobby to ensure that international law continues to be a priority for the Law School administration, arranges an annual Spring Break trip to learn about another country's legal system, and organizes speaking events and discussion groups.

National Lawyers Guild (NLG)

OUTLAW

OUTLAW is concerned with the situation of queer people in society, in the legal community, and at Stanford University. We serve as a social, support, and political group, and actively combat homophobia, heterosexism, and any discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity at the Law School.

Shaking the Foundations

Shaking the Foundations is an annual conference that brings together law students, practitioners, and academics from around the country who share a commitment to use the law for positive, progressive social change.

Stanford International Human Rights Law Association (SIHRLA)

SIHRLA is a non-partisan organization dedicated to the advancement of international human rights law and advocacy. By providing students with a forum to explore and engage in human rights work, SIHRLA seeks to raise awareness and promote the rights of women, children, and men throughout the world.

Stanford Latino Law Students Association (SLLSA)

SLLSA is committed to creating and maintaining a community for Latino students at Stanford Law School and sending highly qualified, dedicated, and responsible Latino lawyers into every legal arena.

Stanford Law and Policy Society (SLAPS)

The Stanford Law and Policy Society (SLAPS) is a student-run organization at Stanford Law School intended to educate students about policy work, create a forum for networking, and provide support for action. SLAPS is strictly non-partisan and welcomes policy ideas from any part of the spectrum.

Stanford National Security & the Law Society (SNSLS)

The Stanford National Security & the Law Society aims to raise awareness and encourage interest in national security issues, and foster a productive non-partisan dialogue.

Stanford Public Interest Law Foundation (SPILF)

SPILF is a nonprofit, tax-exempt foundation established in 1978 by Stanford Law School students and alumni. Its initial purpose was to increase funding for public interest law projects serving groups that have traditionally been denied adequate access to legal representation.

Street Law

Street Law's mission is to empower Bay Area incarcerated and at-risk youth by teaching classes about the law, focusing on criminal procedure and a juvenile's legal rights.

Women of Color Action Network (WCAN)

August 6, 2018