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'Citizen of the world' lands at USC Gould
USC Gould School of Law

Monday, September 27, 2021

Professor D. Daniel Sokol praises rich, diverse faculty, students and LA community
 
By Leslie Ridgeway
 
Prof. D. Daniel Sokol praises rich, diverse faculty, students and LA community
When he was studying at the University of Chicago Law School, Professor D. Daniel Sokol was certain he was not destined for a career in teaching. One of his professors disagreed, and several years later, Sokol was reaching out to Senator and soon-to-be President Barack Obama for a recommendation letter for a teaching position.
 
“He said when I was his student, ‘You’re going to be a law professor,’ and I said, ‘No, I’m going to make money,’” says Sokol, who comes to the USC Gould School from the University of Florida Levin College of Law. “Two weeks before he formally announced his run for President, I sent him a letter and said, ‘You were right.’ His staff called me two days later and replied, ‘Of course Sen. Obama remembers you and he’s happy to write you a letter.’ I always tell my students about the importance of networking and keeping up your connections.”
 
It wasn’t one person or experience that attracted Sokol to academia but the opportunity to apply his research and practice in antitrust, corporate governance, technological transformation and global business regulation, all topics of high relevance today for businesses ranging from start-ups to multinational corporations. Underpinning these important subjects is Sokol’s goal to educate lawyers who deliver lasting value to their clients.
 
“Everyone needs to know how to think creatively and how to dig into detail but they ultimately need to figure out how to identify the risk factors of the companies they represent and the underlying business issues in a deal or a litigation,” he says. “I’m not looking to train a lawyer. I’m looking to train business counselors – highly value-added professionals who cannot be replaced by the increased digitalization of legal profession and who can justify their premium salaries.”
 
Gould School, USC offer opportunity for collaboration
 
Sokol is set to teach classes in law and entrepreneurship, as well as corporations, at the law school, and a marketing class at USC Marshall School of Business. He also will serve as faculty director of the Center for Transnational Law and Business.  He is one of the top 10 most cited antitrust professors in the past five years and is hard at work on several research papers including the interface of mergers, antitrust and entrepreneurship; shifts in antitrust law, and a paper on debt and antitrust, building in part on the insights of USC Gould Professor Bob Rasmussen.
 
USC and the Gould School were his choice in part because of the opportunity to collaborate with well-respected academic leaders in law, business disciplines and economics.
 
“There’s a real community of scholars here,” Sokol says. “There are faculty committed to a combination of scholarship and teaching. There’s also a really diverse and interesting student body.”
 
Los Angeles itself is another attraction. Born in Panama, Sokol came to the U.S. when his father left the Panamanian government and took a job at the World Bank. Sokol has taught in Australia, Japan and Israel and pre-pandemic, traveled extensively to work with coauthors around the world, lecture and present his scholarship. He considers himself “a citizen of the world.”
 
“I’ve always had a global orientation because I’m not from this country,” he says. “L.A. is such a global city with a rich and diverse community. I engage with people from all over the world, and that allows for a more culturally nuanced understanding for law school students. The globalization of the law is very real.”

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