American civil law expert shares insight at Notre Dame

Dr Joan Squelch, Assistant Dean of the School of Law, Fremantle; Professor Robert Klonoff; and Professor Doug Hodgson in the Justice Owen Moot Court

13 February 2015

Law students had the opportunity of learning the fundamentals of American law governing civil rights and liberties in a unique academic course delivered by international law expert, Professor Robert Klonoff, and hosted by The University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle.

Professor Klonoff, the Jordan D. Schnitzer Professor of Law at the Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon, delivered the unit 'Special Topics 1: US Constitutional Law' to enthusiastic law students in late January 2015.

The unit examined significant decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States in areas such as freedom of religion, gun legislation, privacy, fair trials, the death penalty and civil rights more broadly. Students also looked at how popular media portrayed the Supreme Court of the United States in film and other literature to audiences across the world.

With his extensive experience in class action litigation, civil procedure and appellate litigation in America, Professor Klonoff said it was important for future lawyers to find a niche in their profession where they could make a difference.

"It is important for future lawyers to find a specialty that is exciting and makes them want to get up in the morning. If the work is deemed boring or repetitive, a young lawyer will have a difficult time rising to the top," Professor Klonoff said.

"A lawyer must at all times put ethics and reputation first. As is often said, it is hard to build a reputation, but very easy to destroy it.

"I could not have been happier with the quality, dedication, and commitment of the students in my class. All of the students displayed a great command of the law, as well as a deep understanding of, and commitment to, ethical standards."

Professor Doug Hodgson, Dean of the School of Law, Fremantle, said Professor Klonoff's visit highlighted the practical, contemporary and diverse learning opportunities Notre Dame provides for all students.

"We were privileged to have Professor Klonoff share his insights and expertise as a lawyer in the USA with students here at Notre Dame. The School of Law continues to provide opportunities for budding legal professionals to consider other unique areas of law, such as international law and our two new units of study – Aviation Law and Social Media and the Law – in a supportive learning environment," Professor Hodgson said.

Leigh Dawson: Tel (08) 9433 0569; Mob 0405 441 093;