Interview Professor

Claire Hill

Director, Institute for Law and Rationality

Full title:

Professor and James L. Krusemark Chair in Law; Director, Institute for Law and Rationality

How long have you been teaching at Minnesota Law? And what brought you here?

Since academic year 2005. I came because of the law school’s great reputation, and because I wanted to be part of a major research university.

What defines Minnesota Law? What is unique about it?

The collegiality and sense of shared mission, combining supportiveness with rigor. 

What is your daily routine as a professor?

I teach some, but not all, days. On all days, I interact with students on the course materials or papers I am supervising, do my research, and interact with colleagues both within the law school and outside of it.

Which course(s) do you teach?

Mergers and Acquisitions; Business Associations/Corporations; a workshop in Law and Economics

How do you support young lawyers at Minnesota Law?

I tell students that I am always available to provide advice or talk through ideas. I try to be creative in figuring out what kinds of career trajectories would be the best fit for each student.

What quallifications / prior knowledge do you require students to have in order to study at Minnesota Law (i.e. admission requirements but also soft skills)?

Students must be active listeners and learners. Some (many?) beginning lawyers think law is about memorization. It is, somewhat, but not nearly as much as they believe. Memorization without understanding is not very useful; students need to actively identify what they don’t understand, continuing until the problem the law is intended to solve is clear to them.

What do you value most about working at Minnesota Law?

The respect my colleagues and I have for each other and for the students. The extent to which we all want to help each other achieve our academic and professional goals in a supportive environment.

What do you do in your leisure time?

Read, typically non-fiction, mostly popular science. I cook and entertain quite a bit, and also love listening to vocal music from the late Renaissance and early Baroque periods (and some more contemporary music as well).

Name three terms that you associate with the word „law“.

Influence; behavior; solutions.

You are planning a law-free weekend on a desert island and you are allowed to take only three things with you. What would they be?

My Kindle, a bottle of very good red wine, and my cats.

Which advice would you like to give every young lawyer?

I’d refer back to my answer above on qualifications. Starting lawyers need to take the time to understand what they are doing, notwithstanding the pressures to produce work product quickly. Having practiced doing this in law school- not being satisfied with knowing what without knowing why-will be very helpful in this regard.