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.
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Lecturers in Law
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Lecturer in Law
Last Updated: Monday, May 22, 2017699 Exposition Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90089-0074 USA
Dwight Stirling is Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of the Veterans Legal Institute® (VLI), having general executive oversight over the Legal Services Division and Think Tank.
A military veteran, Stirling was an active duty JAG officer with the California National Guard from 2007 to 2014, stationed at the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos, California, where he served as the installation’s general counsel and the legal advisor to the commanding general. He is the former head of the California National Guard’s Criminal Law Division and the former director of the California National Guard’s nationally recognized JAG Internship, a program he created.
Stirling’s commitment to the country and its service members began in December of 2001, when he joined the Army National Guard shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11. He was commissioned from California’s reserve Officer Candidate School as an armor officer in 2004, becoming a JAG officer the following year to utilize his law degree. For several years he balanced reserve service and a civilian legal practice, running a small general litigation and learning the true meaning of the term “citizen-soldier.” He closed his firm in 2007 to accept a prestigious position with the California National Guard.
In 2009, Stirling was deployed to the Balkans with the Kosovo Force (KFOR), a NATO-led international peacekeeping force responsible for preventing recurrences of ethnic cleansing in the volatile southern region of Serbia. He served as chief of military justice on the mission, working under Major General (Retired) Keith D. Jones. In his off-duty time, Stirling administrated a joint civil/military leadership program at a rural middle school, imparting the values of initiative and innovation to teenagers whose country had been ravaged by sectarian warfare.
At present, Stirling serves as co-chair of the Legal and Re-Entry Working Group at USC’s Center for Innovation and Research for Veterans and Military Families and co-chairs the Orange County Bar Association’s Veterans and Military Committee. He also teaches criminal justice at Columbia College of Missouri’s Los Alamitos campus, and is a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Armed Forces Committee. In the past, Stirling served as clinical professor at Chapman University’s Military Law Institute, teaching military law and providing oversight of the clinical fellows, whose practice focused on discharge upgrades and service-connected disability appeals.
Stirling has been recognized for his commitment to service members and veterans by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office and the United States Attorney for the Southern District of California. He has received numerous military awards, including the Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters.
Stirling holds a BA degree in Philosophy from Pomona College, a MA degree in Education from Whittier College, and a JD from USC, currently working on his PhD at Pepperdine University. He continues to serve the nation as a JAG officer, holding the rank of Major. He got his start in law at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell, LLP’s Century City offices and his first career was teaching literature and language arts at the middle school level.
FACULTY IN THE NEWS
Orin Kerr was cited for his recent editorial on his experience taking the California bar exam much later in life in order to practice law in another state. "It’s not like you can test lawyerly competence among 20 topics any better than with 10 topics," Kerr commented. "It just requires more time memorizing, and it’s not obvious what that has to do with lawyerly ability.”
"Blindspot: Faith-Based Discrimination and the Misinterpretation of Sherbert v. Verner," Conference on Law, Religion and Complicity, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ.
"The Great Patent Grab", The Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA.
"Parental Control Rights." In Philosophical Foundations of Children's and Family Law, edited by Elizabeth Brake & Lucinda Ferguson. New York: Oxford Univerity Press, 2018.