Interview Alumni

Dr. David Hoetzel


Degree obtained / Class of:

LL.M. in Comparative Law (Tax concentration), 2017

Current position / Employer:

Senior Associate at P+P Poellath + Partners (Berlin, Munich)

Why did you choose to study law?

Law, in particular tax law, combines the intellectual challenge to comprehend tricky issues with the fun to set up creative structures in order to deal with those issues.

Why did you choose to study at University of San Diego?

Being a German trained lawyer and working with cross border structures and transactions, in particular between Germany and the U.S., it has been of the utmost importance for me to get basic knowledge of U.S. (tax) law. USD has an outstanding reputation for taxation and provides a remarkably extensive tax curriculum with a perfect mix of dogmatic lectures and hands-on classes that perfectly fitted my needs.

What was your contact to other students like?

Amongst USD students (this also includes faculty and staff) I felt much like being with good friends that want to bring out the best in you, rather than in an adversarial environment that so many law schools seem to create. In particular as a foreign student, I was almost surprised about all the hands that reached out whenever needed. It might be the Southern California climate, but there is something astonishing to the attitude of USD students.

Did you profit from the University of San Diego School of Law‘s network?

USD is incredibly good in connecting law school students to downtown law firms. Thus, I had the opportunity to get first contacts with local lawyers on site at USD campus as well as taking advantage of invitations for office gatherings downtown. These contacts proved highly valuable, because I actually had the opportunity to work together with a San Diego law firm in a German-U.S. cross border investment after I returned to my German law firm.

Do you still have contact with your study colleagues?

I highly cherish the contacts with my study colleagues, regardless of the distance. Just to give some examples: One of my U.S. friends visited this summer for a hiking trip in the Alps. Another friend, a fellow Mexican student, could not help but explain to me in length why Mexico won against Germany in this year’s World Cup (he, however, invited me to his wedding, so I guess I had to bear it).

Where there any alumni reunions after you finished your LL.M?
If yes, how did they look like?

Recently, an official alumni reunion took place in Munich. Due to heavy workload, I unfortunately could not attend.

How did attending the University of San Diego School of Law change your career?

Aside from the obvious advantages of LL.M. programs abroad (improving professional English language skills, learning about a foreign legal system), my time at USD gave me the confidence to actively take matters in my own hand, rather than just fulfilling tasks assigned to me. Thus, I asked for more and more responsibilities at my firm after my return, which helps a lot to build my own business case.

Which was your favorite course / part of the program you attend?

Although it seems almost unfair to single out just one class, I want to highlight an income tax class taught by professor Jordan Barry, a highly skilled and at the same time funny professor, who helped me to see tax issues not just from a legal perspective, but also understand the economics behind it in more depth.

Why would you recommend the University of San Diego School of Law‘s program to future students?

All of the above.
Also: There is arguably no better town to live in than San Diego.