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From South Africa to Canada to the U.S.: 1L Clifford Lauchlan Found a Home at UC Law


As a member of the College of Law’s 1L class, Clifford Lauchlan will not be able to take the Client Counseling course for another year. But through his previous experiences, Lauchlan already has several years of practice working with people under his belt.

Lauchlan was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1982, before his family moved to Canada in 1992.

After receiving an English degree from Taylor College and Seminary in Edmonton, Alberta in 2005, he moved to Dayton and tied the knot on his long-distance relationship with then-fiancée, Leah.

That fall, Lauchlan took a job in the Career Services Department at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, working with high school students, displaced workers and other members of the community. Lauchlan was initially hired by Sinclair as a Career Development Technician. His job was to administer the “Discover Career Assessment” to juniors and seniors from Dayton area public high school.

In June 2006, he became a Career Development Specialist, utilizing “one-on-one counseling, workshops and presentations” to assist people who were considering a career change. While pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Dayton, Lauchlan completed a teaching assistantship, before returning to Sinclair as an adjunct faculty member.

By December of 2008, he found himself in yet another new role, serving as a counselor for displaced workers. “The most satisfying part of working with the displaced worker population at Sinclair was hearing the individual stories,” Lauchlan said. “The varied experiences, the hopes and concerns as they worked to forge a new future for themselves and their family were inspiring.”

But this was not the first time the now-29-year-old had been touched by the stories of individuals he had come to assist. While living in Edmonton, Lauchlan worked for five years at the Herb Jamieson Center, an all-male homeless shelter, which “slept between 160 to 230 individuals every night and served between 300 and 400 individuals at each meal.”

He began working a midnight to 8:00 a.m. shift on his 18th birthday. Although he worked on a part-time basis when he started college courses, he worked full-time during the summers and on breaks. “It was a defining experience,” Lauchlan said. “Again, the most memorable aspect of this experience was hearing the individual stories.

“From individuals who had lost it all through no fault of their own, to others who had squandered opportunities through a series of poor choices, ‘the Herb’ afforded a fascinating glimpse into life for an 18-year-old to see the world from new and different perspectives.”

While working at the downtown Edmonton shelter, Lauchlan regularly interviewed new individuals, getting to know them and screening them for noticeable issues, he said. “During the interview process, the clients would tell me how they came to be in the situation they were in,” he said. “This was a priceless education.”

Prior to moving to the United States, Lauchlan also joined the Canadian Infantry Reserves. After spending the week in his classes, Lauchlan trained on the weekends. However, he left the Reserves prior to moving to the States. Although he only had the opportunity to train, he is “thankful” for the experience he did have.

While enjoying life in the United States, Lauchlan initially planned to become an English professor. After completing his master’s at the University of Dayton, he decided to pursue a different career path that would allow him to use his skills in research and writing: the law.

Lauchlan was accepted by both law schools to which he applied, UC and Ohio State, but the decision to come to the College of Law was a fairly easy one for him. In addition to liking the size of the College of Law, he found Cincinnati to be the “more interesting city,” and he said he would like to work in the Queen City after graduation.

Thus far, Lauchlan is enjoying each of his classes, in addition to being the co-president of the College’s Federalist Society, he said.

He is also juggling his time as a student with being a parent, as his wife gave birth to their first child, Ian, back in February. If becoming a father and beginning law school were not enough excitement for Lauchlan, he recently won second place and a $3,000 scholarship for an essay he wrote, entitled “The Emperor’s New Clothes: Behaviorism and the Threat of Central Control.”

By Jordan Cohen, ‘13