Faculty Spotlight with Clemence Kucera
Clémence Kucera is the Assistant Dean for the Graduate, Online, and International Programs at McGeorge School of Law. She had a remarkable trajectory, dedicated passion, and distinct goals, all of which she describes in our latest McGeorge Faculty Spotlight blog.
Clémence Kucera grew up partially in Egypt and actually attended law school in Paris, France, where she found her passion for international development. She moved to California to be with her husband, where she received her LLM from none other than McGeorge School of Law. She was quickly hired at McGeorge to support the Global Center for Business & Development through securing grants.
Developing a Passion
A dedication to international development led her to work on a multi-year program with law schools in China, training professionals in legal education. “International development work has always been my passion. I’ve always had that desire to work with other countries and other cultures,” she says.
On a personal level, however, traveling to China every month became complicated when she and her husband began growing their family. So when the former director of the LLM programs retired, Clémence accepted her new position. From there, she played a significant role in the creation of the MSL program, which has received acclaim for its innovative curriculum and approach. And she still loves her work. “It fits with my passion to educate people in the law so they have the resources to navigate the complex world we live in.”
Clémence’s broad perspective and extensive background in international development has helped her create a program that bridges the gap between traditional law school education and the real-world experience that law students need to succeed in the global market.
Helping Students Achieve Their Goals
Clémence’s role as the assistant for graduate online and international programs involves assisting students through various steps such as recruitment and admission. “Our department is like a small school within the big school that aims to be a one-stop-shop for students.” Recognizing that the graduate school experience can be overwhelming, she often focuses her energy on individualized attention to each student.
“The most exciting part is working with the students after they are admitted and helping them with their course selections. We talk a lot about which courses make the most sense for them in achieving their current goals.” She’s also there if they need her when those goals and priorities shift. “It’s super exciting to see our students going through the program.”
At the other end of the spectrum, Clémence is committed to constantly advancing and improving the program. Her work with the alumni office provides the perfect opportunity. “The other part that I love is meeting with our MSL graduates to ask if there is anything else that they think we should teach, and what they think people with this degree should know. Their professions change with the law.” She likes to hear feedback from students and make a plan of action to address their notes. The positive feedback she often hears serves a purpose, too. Nothing beats a student saying, “This is the class that made it for me. This is the class where I learned the skills that led me to the job that I have right now.” She personalizes and customizes each students’ trajectory to the best of her ability. “I want them to feel heard.”
The McGeorge Edge
Since McGeorge is the only ABA-accredited law school in Sacramento, there is naturally a tight-knit community. Anyone with a legal background in the city is likely to be a McGeorge graduate – especially those employed in government, environmental law, and water law. “Because we have a smaller program, we get to know all of them, stay in touch, and celebrate their success stories.”
Her passion for international development has led to a pursuit of strong interpersonal and community connections, which has helped her create programs that bridge the gap between traditional law school education and the real-world experience that law students need to succeed in the global market. “There are a lot of things that you can do with an MSL degree. So if you’re wondering, ‘Is this the right degree? Why should I do that?’ then listen to our webinars, read our blogs, and meet with us when you can.”
Clémence can even put you in touch with McGeorge alumni, because she knows the importance of making those connections as soon as possible. “They know what McGeorge has to offer, they practice in the field, and they have all the connections you need to start your network. You don’t have to wait until you’re graduating from the MSL to start your networking – you can start as you’re applying!” Her goal is always to best serve and prepare her students. “If you’re trying to enter a specific field, make sure you stand out from others. I think the MSL can give you that edge, and we can guide you.”