Law Schools

Stanford Law Dean Is on a Mission to Make His School No. 1

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Stanford Law School dean Larry Kramer is on a mission to make his school the best in the nation, and he hopes to get there partly by raiding faculty from the two schools that outrank him.

Kramer has been at Stanford since 2004, and since then he’s set out on a series of reforms, the San Jose Mercury News reports. He’s worked to integrate the law school with the larger campus, making it easier for students to take courses outside the law school. A 2006 press release said Kramer’s “3D JD” program combines studies of other disciplines with problem-solving techniques and hands-on legal training.

Now Kramer is hoping he can boost Stanford, ranked third by U.S. News & World Report, with some well-placed hires from competing schools, the story says. He recently hired John Donohue from No. 1 Yale, and he’s made offers to Adriaan Lanni and George Triantis at No. 2 Harvard.

“I think we’re in a process of developing a program here that once we’ve put it all together and got it working, is just unmatchable anywhere else,” Kramer told the Mercury News.

Besting Yale is a difficult goal, even for a successful dean like Kramer, University of Chicago law professor Brian Leiter told the Mercury News. “Yale leads everyone: in the scholarly impact of its faculty, in the success of its graduates in getting prestigious clerkships and faculty positions, and so on,” Leiter said. “Everyone is a distant second to Yale on these measures of success. To ‘break away’ would be to surpass or even tie Yale, and that would be hard.”

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog noted the story.

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