Alumni Spotlight: Paul Diouf (LLM in IBEL 2023)

USC Gould School of Law • January 12, 2024
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Paul Diouf is an accomplished alum whose journey from Senegal to Paris to USC Gould School of Law in Los Angeles has been fueled by a passion for international business law and a desire to help people succeed. After working for major law firms in Paris, he chose USC to pursue his LLM for the International Business and Economic Law (IBEL) program, aiming to give his career an international dimension. He credits his USC education for providing practical insights into the challenges faced by clients and fostering strong connections with professors and peers. 

Why did you choose to pursue your degree at USC Gould? 

In 2017, I spent a semester in Houston, Texas, taking English classes. During that time, I was deeply impressed by the culture of American universities and decided that I wanted to pursue a law program in the United States. Upon returning to France, I completed my law degree and began working as an attorney at major law firms in Paris, including Dentons Europe AARPI, Gowling WLG and Clifford Chance Europe LLP. Many of my colleagues had pursued LLM programs in the US and shared their incredible experiences with me, which motivated me to start looking for an LLM program that aligned with my career goals. USC’s LLM in International Business and Economic Law (IBEL) program seemed like a perfect fit for my interests as an attorney practicing in international business transactions. USC Gould School of Law’s strong reputation and its welcoming Trojan Family community were additional reasons why I aspired to be a part of this institution.

What sparked your interest in the law?

My interest in law stemmed from my desire to help people. Back in Dakar, Senegal, I had the opportunity to assist my mother in creating a new business, which included registering her company with the Trade and Personal Property Credit Registry (RCCM) in Dakar. This experience ignited my passion for business law and helping people structure and grow their businesses. I decided to pursue a law degree to gain the skills necessary to intervene in business law matters. I continued my legal education in France, where I obtained a PhD in business law and worked as an attorney in Paris for three years. However, I aimed to give my career an international dimension, leading me to USC. 

Can you tell us about your current work in Business transactions?

I am currently working at Epps & Coulson in Los Angeles, specializing in corporate, real estate, and commercial litigation. I provide legal counsel to clients in their day-to-day business operations. This experience has allowed me to address issues faced by US companies using the Common Law system, which is distinct from the Civil Law system I am familiar with. The classes I took at USC were instrumental in providing me with a deeper understanding of the challenges encountered by our clients.

What is the most memorable experience or learning from your USC studies? 

One of the most remarkable aspects of my USC Gould School of Law experience was the dedication of the professors. They were genuinely committed to helping students grow as both scholars and professionals in the real world. As practitioners themselves, they understood the real-world implications of our studies. I found the course on international business transactions, taught by Professor Michael Lebovitz, to be particularly practical and appreciated the in-depth discussions we had in the class regarding issues related to foreign direct investment. I am still in touch with most of my professors, which speaks to the strong connections formed during my time at USC.

How has your degree from USC Gould given you an advantage in your career? What do you want to do next?

My LLM degree has granted me the privilege of being part of the Trojan Family, a network recognized both in USA and Europe for the high-quality connection it offers. This degree will be a valuable asset as I work towards becoming a well-known international lawyer. I plan to practice law in California after successfully passing the bar exam and continue to pursue my career goals. 

What advice do you have for students who may be interested in following a similar path to yours?

My advice to students interested in a similar path is simple: take the leap and don’t overthink it. USC offers a wide range of opportunities and an opportunity to meet incredible students/lawyers/judges from all over the world during your time at USC. By exchanging with other students, you will learn how different countries handle legal issues in their respective legal systems. During my LLM, I had the privilege of meeting people from diverse backgrounds, and it was an enriching experience to share our experiences and ideas and I am still in contact with most of them. 

Learn more about the Master of Laws in International Business and Economic Law (LLM in IBEL).

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