USC Gould Search

Lecturers in Law

Dwight Stirling

Dwight Stirling

Lecturer in Law

Last Updated: Monday, May 22, 2017

699 Exposition Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90089-0074 USA




Dwight Stirling is Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of the Veterans Legal Institute® (VLI), having general executive oversight over the Legal Services Division and Think Tank. 

A military veteran, Stirling was an active duty JAG officer with the California National Guard from 2007 to 2014, stationed at the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos, California, where he served as the installation’s general counsel and the legal advisor to the commanding general. He is the former head of the California National Guard’s Criminal Law Division and the former director of the California National Guard’s nationally recognized JAG Internship, a program he created.  

Stirling’s commitment to the country and its service members began in December of 2001, when he joined the Army National Guard shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11. He was commissioned from California’s reserve Officer Candidate School as an armor officer in 2004, becoming a JAG officer the following year to utilize his law degree. For several years he balanced reserve service and a civilian legal practice, running a small general litigation and learning the true meaning of the term “citizen-soldier.” He closed his firm in 2007 to accept a prestigious position with the California National Guard.  

In 2009, Stirling was deployed to the Balkans with the Kosovo Force (KFOR), a NATO-led international peacekeeping force responsible for preventing recurrences of ethnic cleansing in the volatile southern region of Serbia. He served as chief of military justice on the mission, working under Major General (Retired) Keith D. Jones. In his off-duty time, Stirling administrated a joint civil/military leadership program at a rural middle school, imparting the values of initiative and innovation to teenagers whose country had been ravaged by sectarian warfare. 

At present, Stirling serves as co-chair of the Legal and Re-Entry Working Group at USC’s Center for Innovation and Research for Veterans and Military Families and co-chairs the Orange County Bar Association’s Veterans and Military Committee. He also teaches criminal justice at Columbia College of Missouri’s Los Alamitos campus, and is a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Armed Forces Committee. In the past, Stirling served as clinical professor at Chapman University’s Military Law Institute, teaching military law and providing oversight of the clinical fellows, whose practice focused on discharge upgrades and service-connected disability appeals.

Stirling has been recognized for his commitment to service members and veterans by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office and the United States Attorney for the Southern District of California. He has received numerous military awards, including the Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters.  

Stirling holds a BA degree in Philosophy from Pomona College, a MA degree in Education from Whittier College, and a JD from USC, currently working on his PhD at Pepperdine University. He continues to serve the nation as a JAG officer, holding the rank of Major. He got his start in law at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell, LLP’s Century City offices and his first career was teaching literature and language arts at the middle school level.

FACULTY IN THE NEWS

KTAR-FM
October 15, 2017
Re: Edward Kleinbard

Edward Kleinbard was interviewed about President Donald Trump's tax plan on how it will impact America's middle class. "It's not a very coherent philosophical document other than let's cut taxes on the most affluent Americans," Kleinbard said.

RECENT SCHOLARSHIP

Gillian Hadfield
August, 2017

Gillian Hadfield attained SSRN's designation as being in the top 10% of Authors on SSRN by all-time downloads.

Abby K. Wood
August, 2017

Abby Wood's paper, "To See or Not to See?  Campaign Finance Disclosure and Voter Competence" was accepted to the 2017 Conference on Empirical Legal Studies (after peer review).

Jonathan Barnett
July, 2017

"Does the Supreme Court Understand the Innovation Economy?" (with Ted Sichelman). Forbes Magazine Opinion (July 2017).