USC Gould School of Law Alumni Profiles

David Walsh

David Walsh '85

Partner, Morrison Foerster


The Trojan network has had and continues to have a significant impact on my practice.

Where do you work? What are you up to?

I am a litigator specializing in commercial, environmental and real property matters for Morrison Foerster in Los Angeles.  I spend a bit of my time working with the Law School as chair of the Select Committee on Federal Judicial Clerkships and as a member of the Board of Councilors.  I also work on some bar committees and with a few community/charitable programs.

How has USC Law had an impact on your career?

Beyond the excellent education, the Trojan network (yes, it really exists) has had and continues to have a significant impact on my practice.  I am in pretty constant contact with many of my fellow class members on a social, professional and community involvement basis.

Which course was the most challenging for you (and why)?

Civil procedure---starting law school, I was not attuned to the notion that one had to learn the procedural mechanisms needed to implement the legal theories discussed in other classes.  I found the rules pretty labyrinth and confusing.  Of course, those were only the federal rules of civil procedure.  Once I began practicing and learned that the state courts had their own, far more extensive set of rules, I was almost done for.  Luckily, I have since rebounded and now manage to use both sets of rules pretty much every day.

What advice do you have for current students?

There are three things that I would recommend.  First, take advantage of the many opportunities afforded during your law school years.  In addition to pursuing an interesting and challenging academic curriculum,  check out the clinical programs, externships, volunteer programs and other opportunities to see the law in action.  Second, whether you are going into transactional work, litigation or something else, try to clerk for a judge after law school if you can.  My judicial clerkship was, far and away, the best year of my legal career.  Third, don’t sweat the job thing.  One of the advantages of going to USC is that virtually every student will have a job by graduation day.   Don’t let the travails of the job search be your only memory of law school.  Relax a little bit.

Why do you stay involved with the law school?

The people.