Stanford team's law books help Afghan students

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In fall 2007, Afghanistan had a new Constitution and eager students lining up to learn its laws. What it didn't have was law books.

Seven thousand miles away, two students at Stanford University's law school thought they could help.

Stanford law Professor Erik Jensen smiled as he recalled the two law students, Alexander Benard and Eli Sugarman, standing in his office doorway, asking him to help them write textbooks for law students in Afghanistan.

"I gave them a few ideas, wished them luck and turned back to my computer," he said. "But, in the end, I have a hard time looking commitment in the eye and saying no."

That year, Jensen, Benard, Sugarman and a handful of classmates formed the Afghan Legal Education Project. They gave themselves a crash course in Afghanistan's laws, politics and history and began writing their first textbook, "An Introduction to the Law of Afghanistan," an online version for use at the American University in Afghanistan, a fledgling school in Kabul that was introducing a law program.

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