Interview Professor

Laurence Claus

Professor of Law

How long have you been teaching at the Univeristy of San Diego School of Law? And what brought you here?

17 years. I grew up in Australia and obtained my doctorate in law at Oxford, then worked for the United States Department of Justice on civil litigation in European domestic courts to which the United States Government was party (including German courts), clerked for Judge Frank Easterbrook of the United States Court of Appeals in Chicago, and then became a candidate for a professorial appointment. From the moment I arrived in San Diego to interview at USD, I knew this was the place I wanted to be.

What defines the Univeristy of San Diego School of Law? What is unique about it?

The University of San Diego is a warm and welcoming place. It is a place of unique beauty, of which a google search gives some sense, though it is even lovelier when experienced in person. It provides just the right setting for exploring ideas together. Our student culture reflects our environment – our students love being here and that makes for an inspiring learning experience.

What is your daily routine as a professor?

My days divide between those for teaching and consultation and those for research and writing that feeds back into what we explore in class and student discussion. I am often also involved in student extracurricular activities, such as judging moot court (competitions in which students practice their advocacy skills), and participating in student social events.

Which course(s) do you teach?

Comparative Constitutional Law, U.S. Constitutional Law, Law of Democracy, Animal Law, Contract Law.

How do you support young lawyers at the Univeristy of San Diego School of Law?

I spend a lot of time with current and former students discussing future career possibilities and application avenues, helping them reflect creatively on possible paths forward in their professional lives. It is also a delight to participate in legal organizations and social groups in southern California that help continue the conversation with former students who are now out in the legal and business world.

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

Students needs to have a working grasp of written and spoken English, which the year at USD will enrich with exposure to the way we reason, write, and argue in legal systems that draw on English common law heritage. For some subjects, such as comparative constitutional law, students‘ familiarity with their home legal system adds value to what they bring to and get out of class, but many classes do not require prior legal experience.

What do you value most about working at the Univeristy of San Diego School of Law?

I get to be a teacher and a scholar in a community where people truly support and build up one another.

What do you do in your leisure time?

I have great dinners with interesting people, I go running in Balboa Park (on which I live), I hit the beach toward sunset and sometimes climb the cliffs to take in the sunset over the ocean.

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

Understanding, Community, Prediction

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?

A delightful companion, a great wine, and sunscreen!

Which advice would you like to give every young lawyer?

Be as creative and imaginative as you can be in thinking about your future – think about roads not often taken but that might be right for you. Seek out people who have done interesting things themselves and who can help you clarify your vision of what might be possible. And accumulate great and memorable experiences that you will treasure forever and will enhance what you bring to all you do later.