Stanford Law Chronicles
Doin' Time On The Farm
280 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Paperback | 9780268022846 | November 2005
eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268205560 | May 2022
In the midst of a long and distinguished academic career, Alfredo Mirandé left his position as professor of sociology and chair of ethnic studies at the University of California, Riverside, to attend law school at Stanford University. This book is an extraordinary chronicle of the events in his life that led him to make this dramatic change and of the many obstacles he encountered at law school. The Stanford Law Chronicles is a comprehensive, first-person account of the law school experience, written by a person of color. Mirandé delivers a powerful and moving critique of the rigid hierarchies he encountered and of systematic attempts to strip him of his identity and culture. He also reflects on the implications of an increasing number of women and minority law school students for law and legal education.
Although Stanford is considered to be one of the most progressive law schools in the country, Mirandé's experience there was one of alienation and frustration, as he encountered elitism and rigid hierarchies. Covering all three years at Stanford, he describes his experiences and the problems he encountered in the classroom. He also discusses Law Review, which he found to be pretentious, the Immigration Clinic where he successfully represented his first client, and the alternative Lawyering for Social Change curriculum that became a haven in an otherwise hostile environment. Interspersed with his account of law school are autobiographical snapshots and experiences, including that of the death of his brother, Héctor, which was the catalyst for his decision to pursue his childhood dream of attending law school and becoming a lawyer.
This controversial book is certain to spark lively debate.
Alfredo Mirandé is professor of sociology and chair of ethnic studies at the University of California, Riverside. He integrates his teaching and research with a limited, largely pro bono law practice, specializing in criminal law and employment discrimination. He is the author of The Chicano Experience (1994), Gringo Justice (1994), and Jalos, USA (2014), all published by the University of Notre Dame Press.
". . . Mirandé writes The Stanford Law Chronicles not to homogenize the law school experience, but to reflect some sensitivity to gender, race and class dynamics in law school culture. Regardless of whether one can completely empathize with Mirandé's law school experience, his book glaringly reminds us of how formidable the law school experience can be." —New York Law Journal
"Dispelling illusions about the law school experience for the first time from the perspective of a Mexican-American, Mirandé gives a bold account of the nature of law school. His experience documents how elitism and rigid hierarchies are embedded in law schools regardless of their status." —Multicultural Review
"Mirandé’s story will engage readers, provoke conversations, and deepen our knowledge of legal education. It is quite a book." —Gerald López, New York University School of Law
“Ten times better than the other stories of what it is like going through law school, Mirandé’s book brings a social scientist’s critical eye to what goes on in the classroom, to competition for grades and law review membership, to the way white students and professors treat students of color at an elite school, and to a minority student’s struggle to make his legal education a force for social change. A sobering read and real page turner!” —Richard Delgado, University Distinguished Professor of Law and Derrick Bell Fellow, University of Pittsburgh
“Alfredo Mirandé answers the question: What happens when a Latino heart ventures into the Anglo male head that is the Stanford Law School? ‘En la tierra del ciego, el tuerto es rey’ [In the land of the blind, the one-eyed person is king]. " —W. Frank Newton, President, Beaumont Foundation of America; former Dean of Texas Tech School of Law and President of the State Bar of Texas
"This is a decidedly personal account... of Mirandé's experiences as an established academic (professor of sociology at the University of California-Riverside) who started a second career by attending Stanford Law School. Throughout, Mrande sketches in scenes from his family's history as he examines the impulses that led him to law school and to react to it as he did." —Publishers Weekly