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former law school dean Larry Kramer and friends

A reception in May celebrated former dean Larry D. Kramer's contributions to the law school during his tenure from 2004 to 2012. (L to r) Gordon K. Davidson, '70, MS '71, JD '74; Gail Block Harris, '74, JD '77; Dean Kramer; M. Elizabeth Magill, the Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean; and Fred W. Alvarez, '72, JD '75. PHOTO: Josh Edelson

A Dean's Legacy: Space for Growth and Collaboration

Alumni and friends celebrate former dean Larry Kramer's service to Stanford Law School. 

Fall 2014

A sunlit atrium now welcomes law students, faculty, and legal clients who enter Stanford Law School's Crown Quadrangle. Completed in May 2014, the renovated entryway honors Larry Kramer, the former dean of Stanford Law School.

"The Kramer Atrium is a permanent tribute to Larry's transformative leadership—in both the physical transformation of the Stanford Law School (SLS) campus and the school's integration with the broader university," said M. Elizabeth Magill, Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean, at a reception in May.

The atrium was made possible by generous support from SLS alumni volunteer leaders and close friends of the school, including the Office of the Provost and the Crown family, for whom Crown Quadrangle is named.

At the dedication, Dean Magill noted that the quadrangle brings together a wide range of interdisciplinary academic programs and centers under one roof.

"This space has evolved," Kramer told attendees in his remarks. "It was an amazing space at the time it was built in 1975. As needs have changed, the ability to reshape the space is so important."

The updated third floor of the Crown Library Building in Crown Quadrangle houses meeting spaces and a suite for academic centers, including the law school's new Law and Policy Lab, where students work closely with faculty and real-world clients on policy innovations for pressing social and legal issues.

"It will be a gathering place for researchers, students, and scholars from all over campus to roll up their sleeves and do the hard work of assessing the impact of law and policy in the world," said Magill. "Stanford is one university, and the new space fully reflects and takes advantage of that."

A Visionary Leader

Kramer is credited with aligning the law school's academic calendar with the rest of the university, a move that "unlocked the powerful interdisciplinary study opportunities that distinguish Stanford," says Gordon Davidson, '70, MS '71, JD '74, partner and former chairman of Fenwick & West LLP and current member of the SLS Dean's Advisory Council.

Larry Kramer

Davidson also cites the former dean's accomplishments building the clinical program, recruiting top faculty, and raising funds for student financial aid.

"Larry accomplished many remarkable things at Stanford Law School," he says.

At the May event, a commissioned portrait of Kramer by artist Costa Vavagiakis was unveiled as well. This portrait will be displayed among the other former law school deans' portraits in Crown Quadrangle.

"Larry was terrific to work with on every level," says Gail Block Harris, '74, JD '77, lead director of Evercore Partners Inc. and partner emeritus with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, who currently serves on the university Board of Trustees and SLS Dean's Advisory Council. "He made you feel part of the process and, from an alum's perspective, it was extremely rewarding. Through his leadership and vision, he made significant changes, positioning the law school for the future."

"One rarely finds a visionary who can also get things done," says Fred Alvarez, '72, JD '75, partner at Jones Day and member of the university Board of Trustees and SLS Dean's Advisory Council. "We found one in Larry."