News - Capital University Law School

Incoming 1Ls, Meet Your Professors: Chuck Cohen

6/23/2021  - 

Professor Chuck Cohen was a magazine journalist in New York City (where he wrote for People and Money Magazines) before beginning law school at age 31. An avid traveler and amateur photographer, he has taught at Capital since 2003 and chairs the Law School’s Communications Committee. We asked him to share some thoughts about himself, his work and succeeding in law school.

In the Classroom…

What courses do you teach?
I teach Property, a required, two-semester, first-year course and two upper-level commercial law courses: Secured Transactions and Payment Systems. I also occasionally teach a course called Sexual Minorities and the Law, which focuses on the legal treatment of sexual minorities.

What legal issue fascinates you?
Under the Fifth Amendment, the government may only take property for a “public use,” but what fits that definition has changed over the years. I’m fascinated with what constitutes a “public use.” When should the government be able to take private property?

When you were in Law School…

Where did you go to law school?
University of California, Hastings College of the Law, in San Francisco.

What was your fondest memory of being a 1L?
I really enjoyed Prof. Richard Cunningham’s course on Takings law, which focused on the Supreme Court’s struggle to determine which particular government regulations of land constitute “takings” requiring compensation under the Constitution. That course inspired my future academic pursuits.

What was your scariest 1L memory?
Standing outside the registrar’s office to receive my first semester grades, which at that time were handed to students on small slips of paper. There was a huge line of nervous students!

Your advice to incoming law students…

What should student do to prepare the summer before law school?
Rest, relax and get accustomed to your new surroundings if you have relocated to Columbus. And make friends with your future classmates – they will be your professional colleagues beginning in school and continuing throughout your career.

Your best piece of advice to prepare for first year?
I don’t believe there’s a “magic” book or formula on how to do the first year. Try to reflect on why you did well in college. What skills did you excel at? What skills need work? Knowing yourself is half the battle.

Your Favorites…

What’s your favorite book?
Atonement by Ian McEwan. So far this is the best novel I have ever read.

What’s your favorite movie?
“Reds,” a 1981 film written, produced and directed by Warren Beatty and featuring an all-star cast (including Diane Keaton, Maureen Stapleton, Gene Hackman and Jack Nicholson). It’s about the struggles and disillusionment of the journalist John Reed, who went to Russia during the revolution of 1917 and wrote a famous book about his observations called “Ten Days That Shook the World.”

What’s your favorite local restaurant?
I love Indochine Café, a family-run Southeast Asian (mostly Vietnamese) restaurant in Whitehall. A student recommended it to me a couple of years ago.

For additional professor Q&A articles, see "Meet Your 1L Professors."