About USC Gould
USC Gould is a top-ranked law school with a 115-year history and reputation for academic excellence. We are located on the beautiful 228-acre USC University Park Campus, just south of downtown Los Angeles.
Learn about our interdisciplinary curriculum, experiential learning opportunities and specialized areas.
Participate in an unparalleled learning experience with diversity of people and thought. Get involved in the law school community and participate in activities that enhance your studies.
We work closely with students, graduates and employers to support successful career goals and outcomes. Our overall placement rate is consistently strong, with 94 percent of our JD class employed within 10 months after graduation.
Our faculty is distinguished for its scholarship, as well as for its commitment to teaching. Our 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio creates an intimate and collegial learning environment.
- Alumni and Giving
Alumni and Giving
The global Trojan network of more than 10,000 law alumni and donors include recognized leaders in numerous fields who are deeply committed to supporting student and law school success.
I Was Supposed to be a Lawyer
- ABOUT USC GOULD
- A MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN
- + HISTORY OF USC GOULD
- + NEWS
- + EVENTS
- BOARD OF COUNCILORS
- CONSUMER INFORMATION (ABA REQUIRED DISCLOSURES)
- VISIT US
- SOCIAL MEDIA
- + CONTACT US
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
A personal injury attorney in Laguna Beach, Annee Della Donna, JD 1988, recently joined the Trojan Legacy Circle
By Christina Schweighofer
|Annee Della Donna, JD 1988|
Annee Della Donna JD 1988 has always been a fighter. She was five and playing with her two sisters at Penn Park in Los Angeles when she saw a man grab her mom’s purse and run. Leaving her stunned family behind, she took after the thief and chased him out of the park, down a hill, through a parking lot and onto a bridge where the guy finally emptied the contents of the purse, threw it into the riverbed and jumped into a car.
“In my little 5-year-old brain, [this theft] was not right, and I was going to catch him,” she says. Looking back, the owner of a law office in Laguna Beach that specializes in personal injury and medical malpractice claims sees the purse incident as indicative for her career choice: “I have always run toward justice; I was supposed to be a lawyer.”
A first-generation professional who had to pay her way through college, she discovered her passion for law as a freshman at California State University, Long Beach when a roommate sued her and a friend for failure to give 30 days’ notice. Della Donna, representing herself, lost in small claims court but won on appeal. Her defense impressed the appellate judge so much that he told her after the hearing she should go to law school. Since she also enjoyed being a member of the college debate team under renowned coach Jack Howe and “pretty much everyone on the team wanted to be a lawyer,” law school soon became the obvious choice.
Seeing herself as “a scrapper who will fight in the dirt,” Della Donna found her law specialty almost coincidentally. She was an associate at Buchalter, Nemer, Fields & Younger and working on Supreme Court and Appellate Court briefings with fellow Gould alum and California Supreme Court Justice Marcus Kaufman (JD 1956) when her assistant asked her to look at a complaint she and her husband wanted to file.
Della Donna offered to take the case as an attorney for another firm, Aitken, Aitken & Cohn. The lawsuit, which involved nine young people who allegedly had cancer caused by an electric transformer in their office building, kicked off her career as a personal injury lawyer. “I started working with Wylie Aitken and had the most incredible career,” she says.
The attorney — she currently has two cases before the California Supreme Court — credits USC Gould with much of her success. She initially attended McGeorge Law School in Sacramento on a full scholarship but it wasn’t the right fit so she transferred as a 2L to USC Gould. “It was such a different atmosphere,” she says. “The students were all helping each other be elevated, and the professors were kind.”
Her connections to USC reach into her family. Her husband, Eric Alcouloumre, did his residency and taught as a Clinical Professor at Keck Medical Center of USC; he is the son of a Trojan. Their older daughter, Eliana, graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts in 2017; their younger daughter, Shira, is a senior at the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and on her way to becoming a human rights lawyer.
Della Donna’s family recently joined the Trojan Legacy Circle by including USC in their estate plans. “I am so grateful to USC for accepting me into their law school and for the incredible education that I got,” she says. “I’ll never forget what they did for me.”
Three clients freed from California prisons
July 9, 2020
USC Gould's Post-Conviction Justice Project helps secure second chances for three clients serving life sentences.
A sweeping look at transgender rights
June 30, 2020
David Cruz co-writes groundbreaking casebook, Gender Identity and the Law
In Memoriam: Professor Edward Kleinbard
June 29, 2020
Prof. Kleinbard was an important member of Gould for more than a decade, one of the nation's top tax scholars