Founded in 2012, Stanford Law School’s Religious Liberty Clinic is the only academic program in the United States that teaches aspiring law students through a full-time, first-chair experience representing clients facing obstacles in exercising their faith.
Clinic Founding Director and Stanford Law School Professor, James Sonne, says by working full-time for an academic term, students not only learn the finer points of constitutional law, they witness first-hand the importance of religious pluralism and its broader implications for a just society. Sonne said, “Students walk with their clients, work with them, and the walls come down. … They’re learning client-centered lawyering and human-first lawyering, which is a universal lesson they carry with them.”
“Stanford’s work ensuring equality under the law for individuals holding myriad worldviews and beliefs takes on greater importance in our diverse nation,” added Charles Koch Institute Director of Free Expression Sarah Ruger.
Clinic students have argued – and won – cases before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and other tribunals across the country for clients of all faiths. In addition to a one-of-a-kind courtroom experience, the Clinic offers dynamic seminars that give its students the opportunity to discuss religious freedom with the top legal minds in the country.
The Foundation supports other scholars and nonprofit partners working to deepening understanding of the legal and cultural foundations necessary for a culture marked by openness and collaboration across differences.