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Faculty Spotlight: Allison E. Butler
USC Gould School of Law

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

USC Gould School of Law’s Master of Studies in Law (MSL) faculty are often active practitioners in their field, working at the top of their game. These lecturers bring real-life issues of law and legal application from their respective industries to the table, giving our students practical applications for their studies from leaders in the industry.

Meet Allison E. Butler, Attorney at Law. Teaching Business Organizations and Topics in American Law to LLM and MSL students, Allison brings a global perspective to the classroom to further understanding of the law.

What course do you teach at USC Gould, and how does your legal experience shape the coursework?
Business Organizations and Topics in American Law to LLM and MSL students. During the summer, I teach the U.S. Common Law seminar to international students.

How do you feel that your experience abroad helps your teaching at USC Gould?
My four-month experience abroad at the University of Bari Aldo Moro located in Bari, Italy has enhanced my legal and historical knowledge of the law; I plan on incorporating relevant material into my courses accordingly.

As a Fulbright scholar in Italy, what are you learning that will be incorporated into your classroom?
My Fulbright scholar award was for research and teaching that involved a comparative study on U.S. and Italian constitutional freedom of contract and ADR. This particular work involved an in-depth comparative analysis including, but not limited to, the following: research on the Western Legal Tradition; a comparative analysis of the Civil and Common law tradition; an historical comparative study of U.S. and Italian legal development including private and public law; and review of ADR in both the U.S. and Italy.

In addition to this class, I also researched, prepared, and conducted a four-week seminar on international business on various legal and ethical topics ranging from intellectual property to land use. This seminar was for PhD students with various degrees, foreign practicing attorneys, and other law professions within Italy and throughout Europe.

Based on these various experiences, I will seek to incorporate these various subjects when applicable into my courses.

Is there anything you would want potential students to know about the LLM and MSL coursework and classroom experience?
While course work will focus on the designated material, students should expect to discuss other related and supplmental topics.

What aspects of U.S. Law and Legal Education are viewed as interesting to international students?
My overall impression of international students interest in U.S. Law and Legal Education is the U.S. court system particularly with reference to the U.S. Supreme Court and the adherence to the doctrine of stare decisis

The doctrine of stare decisis means that courts look to past, similar issues to guide their decisions, known as precedent. This precedent becomes an example, or authority, for judges deciding similar issues later.

What do you enjoy about teaching online?
I enjoy all forms of teaching, but find online a great opportunity as it permits students who would otherwise not be able to attend school another avenue to learn.

To learn more about the Online MSL degree, visit

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