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Transitioning from Professor to Student – Student Success Story

Caixia Su, Class of 2019

Caixa Su

Sitting in a law school classroom represents a huge change for Caixia Su, who spent more than a decade standing at a lectern, teaching courses on criminal law.

A native of Wuhan, China, Caixia was a professor from 2002 to 2017 at Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, where she earned her bachelor and master’s degrees. She went on to receive her PhD in law from the prestigious Renmin University of China School of Law. She’s been a visiting scholar at law schools at Columbia University and Oklahoma City University.

Despite her impressive credentials, Caixia can’t fulfill her dream of practicing law in the U.S. without earning a JD from an American law school and passing the bar in at least one state.

As a student in the Global Access JD program, Caixia sees dramatic differences between both the legal systems and approaches to teaching law in the two countries.

In China, much depends on “black letter statute,” Caixia observes, while “here it’s the case law system—you find precedents, you summarize the case, do rules and comparison.”

When it comes to legal education, she says, Chinese law schools require extensive memorization, while “American laws school are very focused on practical experience.”

Caixia has decided to shift her focus from criminal law to civil litigation, which she hopes will widen her career opportunities. She’s off to a great start, arranging to complete a co-op placement with Judge Petrese Tucker of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

In the meantime, she’s thrilled to have enrolled at Kline, where she’s found the faculty and staff to be personable, accommodating and supportive.

“I love our law school,” she says. “This is the only law school I applied to. I’ve never regretted it.”