Student Stories

Clarence Leatherbury


After spending the summer after his first year of law school studying at the CBL International Oxford Summer Law School Academy in England, 3L Clarence Leatherbury opted for something perhaps a little outside his comfort zone for Summer 2014. It took four flights and 28 hours to get from Louisville, Kentucky, to Chongqing, China, so he could attend a two-week legal program at the Southwest University of Political Science and Law (SWUPL).

During his studies in Chongqing, Leatherbury learned about the Chinese legal system, language, culture, economy, martial arts, and other subjects. The culture shock was all of the positive variety, Leatherbury said. The cost of living in China is far less than in the United States, he said, noting that an hour-long cab ride cost around $15, and a large meal in the SWUPL cafeteria cost around $1.50. Basketball was prevalent in the area, Leatherbury said, pointing out that one SWUPL student sported a Miami Heat jersey on campus, and that the university was full of basketball courts where students could be found playing every night.

“The Chinese students were also very caring and hospitable,” Leatherbury said. Chongqing is deep in China’s interior, which puts it off the beaten path for tourists. This made the American students something of a novelty, and many locals would ask him to pose with them for photos. He also was frequently asked to be added to local students’ social media accounts, so he could answer questions about the United States.

Some of the Chinese friends he made while in Chongqing cried when he left, and it was the same with the Chinese friends he made while studying at Oxford during Summer 2013.

While in England, he studied international business law, and took classes on European business law, and development economics. The European business law course focused on the operation and history of the European Union, while the economic development course focused on ways to take the third-world nations out of poverty with a focus on the World Bank.

The son of a lawyer, Leatherbury is from Salem, Indiana, also home to the Leatherbury Law Office, where his father’s law practice is on the first floor and the family lives upstairs. He’s been asked throughout his life whether he was going to be a lawyer like his father, who is running for State Representative in District 73.

Leatherbury is a graduate of the Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis, and is working on a Corporate and Commercial Law graduate certificate at IU McKinney. In addition to the two summer study abroad experiences, he worked as an extern with the Indiana State Board of Accounts during Spring 2014, and has been active in writing op-eds that have been published in newspapers statewide on topics such as America’s foreign policy or economic issues.

As far as career aspirations go, politics interests him, as does the possibility of working for a member of the United States Congress, a policy institute, or a business law firm. He also has the personal goal of continuing to operate the family farm in Perry County, along the Ohio River.

“Of course,” Leatherbury said, “no one knows what the future truly holds."