10 skills California law students say are must-haves to succeed in the modern legal profession

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First it was the gold rush, then hippie power and the Silicon Valley — now the US west coast is at the forefront of merging design and law


For anyone misguided enough to think that long behind us are the days of making jokes about just how whacky they can be in far out California, have a look at Margaret Hagan’s online presence.

She is a lecturer at Stanford University — which is no slouch of an institution, being widely recognised as part of the west coast Ivy League.

Hagan’s avowed focus in life is “on bringing design into the world of law” — a process, she maintains, that will “create a new generation of accessible, engaging legal services”.

She does that from the ivory tower vantage point of Stanford Law School’s Centre on the Legal Profession and something called the Stanford — the “d” stands for design. Hagan’s website says she blends “several types of design — communication design, product design, and organisation design, to push for more experimentation in the legal sector and a human-centered approach”.


Anyway, in a blog published two days ago, Hagan set out the answers her “legal design” students coughed up to the question: what should law students be learning right now?

For all those law students on this side of the Atlantic currently struggling with — or recovering from — final exams on more mundane issues around contract, land and EU law, here’s an insight into what counterparts in California reckon law students must learn and/or have on their CVs.


Actually, not all of it is as bonkers as might have been anticipated from the part of the world that gave us the “summer of love” nearly 50 years ago.