News - Capital University Law School

Incoming 1Ls, Meet Your Professors: Dennis Hirsch

6/1/2020  - 

Professor Dennis Hirsch is a native New Yorker (born and raised in Manhattan). He is married to Suzanne Goldsmith-Hirsch, a writer, and they have two college-aged children. A dedicated runner and fitness addict, Prof. Hirsch greatly enjoys music, particularly Jazz and Americana.

In the Classroom…

What courses do you teach?
I teach Property Law to first year students. I also teach a number of upper level courses: Information Privacy Law, Administrative Law, Environmental Law, Clean Air Act Law and Policy, and Appellate Litigation. The theme that ties many of these courses together is regulatory law. I also teach a course each summer in the University of Amsterdam’s Summer Course on Privacy Law and Policy. The course brings together an international group of students to study European and U.S. privacy law. My course is called “Update on U.S. Privacy Law and Policy.”

What legal issue fascinates you?
I am fascinated by the way in which the law handles those situations in which one landowner’s use of its property negatively impacts its neighbor’s use of its property. Which property owner’s desired use takes priority? An example would be a drive-in movie theater that exists at a certain location, only to have an amusement park open next door. The amusement park lights up at night and prevents patrons of the movie theater from seeing the screen well enough to watch a movie. Does the drive-in theater have to go out of business? Or does the amusement park have to take steps to contain its light (e.g., not operate at night). A branch of property law called Nuisance Law addresses these fascinating conflicts between neighbors. In addition, my academic writing focuses on Privacy Law. Right now I am writing about “Big Data,” a term that refers to the analysis of massive data sets in order to make predictions. I am studying “Big Data’s” impacts on privacy, and whether the law should seek to regulate this area. I am the Past-Elect of the Association of American Law School’s Committee on Defamation and Privacy Law.

When you were in Law School…

Where did you go to law school?
I went to Yale Law School.

What was your fondest memory of being a 1L?
Debating legal and social issues with my friends (Ok, I’m a bit of a law nerd. But what did you expect from a law professor?)

What was your scariest 1L memory?
Preparing for oral argument in our first year appellate litigation simulation. The argument went well, but I was plenty nervous beforehand.

Your advice to incoming law students…

What should student do to prepare the summer before law school?
Read a guide on strategies for law school success. I recommend Herb Ramy’s book, Succeeding in Law School. Read a book about an interesting legal case. A Civil Action and The Buffalo Creek Disaster are two that come to mind, but there are many others. Ask around for a good recommendation that fits your interests. Rest up and spend some relaxed time with your friends and family. You have a very rigorous year ahead of you.

Your best piece of advice to prepare for first year?
Rearrange your life so that you can fully handle the responsibilities of law school. You are about to take on a major new task. You will need to structure the rest of your life (social, interests, work, etc.) so that you can give law school the time, energy and focus that it needs.

Your Favorites…

What’s your favorite book?
Fiction: Hard to choose. So many that I like. I’ll go with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Non-fiction: Thomas Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree.

What’s your favorite movie?
Days of Heaven, Starring Richard Gere, Brooke Adams and Sam Shepard.

What’s your favorite local restaurant?
G. Michael’s in German Village. Pricey, but always delicious.

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