Scalia Spotlights

Professor Saguato Soon to Become an American Citizen

Paolo Saguato
Assistant Professor of Law Paolo Saguato and his students

Professor Paolo Saguato is the grandson of Italian farmers and the son of a special education teacher mother and a lawyer and local politician father. Growing up in “Diano Marina, a small beach town on the Italian Riviera,” Paolo had a happy and bucolic childhood.

When Paolo turned 18, he moved from his childhood home to the big city: Genoa, where he studied for a law degree and a PhD in Private, Business and International Law at the University of Genoa. “I was interested in policy, and I saw a law degree as the best path to becoming an effective member of society.” Next, his studies would take him to America, as Paolo received a Fulbright scholarship to Yale University to study law. “When I landed in Boston in 2011, it was my first time outside Europe! I still remember the emotion when we touched down at Logan Airport and the couple sitting next to me welcomed me to the USA” he recalls.

With his exuberant persona and a stage voice that precedes him wherever he goes, Paolo grinned, “I used the Italian stereotype to my advantage to break down barriers. Even today, everyone can hear me when I’m in the corridors.”

Paolo remembers his LLM class of 24 friends at Yale Law School was quickly welcomed into the larger JD class of students. “I felt so welcome,” he recalled. “Yale was the best decision I ever made, because that’s where I met my wife, Eva.” He remembers, on one of his first dates with Eva, he ordered PBR, and she appeared amused. He texted an American friend to ask what was so funny about PBR. The friend laughed and explained that it was once a popular and cheap beer, but had been brought back into vogue by young hipsters. It was one of Paolo’s first introductions to American culture: how a drinkable beer could gain a cult following among “hipsters”, a new word in his growing English vocabulary.

As fate would have it, Eva was also a Fulbright scholar, on her way to Rome after graduation where she would work on the juvenile justice system and eventually intern at Italy’s Supreme Court. They were passing ships, each on his/her way to the other’s homeland to study law.

After three years of trans-Atlantic commuting, Eva and Paolo were married in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore, Eva’s hometown, in August 2015. Paolo is fond of Baltimore because, not only is it the hometown of his wife and the place where they were married, but it reminds him of Genoa, a dynamic and vibrant harbor city, albeit, less ancient.

After an illustrious education, Paolo fielded several offers for academic jobs from American law schools in every part of the nation. He ultimately chose Scalia Law because, “given my interest in financial regulation, being at the heart of the nation—where all the regulatory and legislative action happens—was the best place for me,” said Paolo. “DC is the right place to be for my scholarship to be most effective. Also, it’s the right place to make connections that I can pass along to my students.”

Professor Saguato, who teaches business law and financial regulation, reports that students are becoming increasingly interested in the field. “It’s a super dynamic and always-evolving field…my favorite thing to hear from a student: ‘I took this course because I needed it to pass the bar, but I ended up loving the topic,’” he beams.

Professor Saguato teaches many of the students in Scalia Law’s part-time program, one of the top five part-time law programs in the nation. “Having a strong evening program, we are able to bring into the school highly qualified students who contribute tremendously to the academic success and diversity of the school.”

Professor Saguato is unabashedly enthusiastic about all his students. “Many of our students are first generation college graduates. They are eager to succeed, making this a vibrant community.” He observes and delights in his students’ growth “I watch how their facial expressions change—from the first day of class, to the last day of class—as they digest and take ownership of the material.”

Professor Saguato’s interaction with students often extends beyond the classroom. “I love chatting with my students and getting to know them,” he says. This highly-extroverted professor often hangs out in the Atrium, talking with students. He and his wife often host students for dinner, sharing in cooking and breaking bread. For an Italian-born professor, cooking and eating together is a natural outgrowth of the teacher/student experience.

“In mid-March, I’ll be sworn in as an American citizen. I am even more excited for this moment than I was when I walked into the United States for the first time. This country has given me an embarrassment of riches: a wife, a family, an education, and a vibrant professional community. Both the US and Scalia Law believed in and invested in me and I am thrilled to make my relationship with Uncle Sam “official” and continue to give back and share what I’ve learned with the country, the school, and the students who welcomed me with open arms.”