The Charleston School of Law recently sat down with Professor Constance Anastopoulo to talk about her passion for teaching the law. She joined the Charleston Law in 2007, teaching Evidence, Insurance Law, and Torts.
Charleston School of Law: Where did you grow up?
Anastopoulo: I was born in Roanoke, Virginia. I went to boarding school for high school in Raleigh, North Carolina. Until I was about 17, I lived in Virginia.
Charleston School of Law: Do you have siblings?
Anastopoulo: I have an older sister who lives in North Carolina and a younger brother who is a lawyer here in Charleston.
Charleston School of Law: What are your passions outside the law?
Anastopoulo: I love being outdoors. I love exercising. I try very hard every morning to take in the sunrise and every afternoon to watch the sunset. we live on the water and we have a beautiful sunset every night and I just try to be really intentional about making sure I notice the things for which I am really thankful. I am very blessed.
I love art. We go to a lot of art museums. We lived in Paris for a little while and there was an art museum on almost every corner. At that time, our youngest daughter and I would visit the museums. Every museum we would go to, we would buy these refrigerator magnets of the paintings and I would put them on the refrigerator. She could tell me every single one of those and the artist who painted them. I loved that. I just thought that was so great to introduce our children to my passions.
Charleston School of Law: Your husband practices law. How did you meet?
Anastopoulo: I met him on a blind date that was set up by one of my classmates. He walked in the door and I was like, I’m done. He’s the one.
Charleston School of Law: June will be 30 years married. Two attorneys, husband and wife, parents, siblings, both professionals in the legal industry. How do you strike a balance?
Anastopoulo: When we decided to start having children, we decided that we would be intentional about parenting and our home life. My husband is good at being able to silo off and walk in the door and be dad. I’m a little less talented at it.
Charleston School of Law: Do you have any bucket list items, things you want to do?
Anastopoulo: I have one. I’m working on it. My husband played tennis his whole life. He went to college on a tennis scholarship. He played Davis Cup Tennis for Greece. So, for our 30th Anniversary in June, I want to get center court tickets at Wimbledon. That’s on my bucket list.
Charleston School of Law: Did your parents practice law?
Anastopoulo: My father was a lawyer. My parents are Greek immigrants. My father came to the United States when he was about 11 or 12 years old. He was the first person in my family to go to high school. He then went to college, then law school. He practiced law for over 50 years before he passed away.
Charleston School of Law: Did you always know you wanted to go to law school?
Anastopoulo: No. My father wanted all his children to be lawyers. In fact, my father wanted everybody in his family to be lawyers. But I resisted. I wanted to cut my own path. So, when I graduated from college, I went to work for a major Wall Street firm. I did that for 4 ½ years and made a lot of money, but I didn’t enjoy the work. It turned out to be sales, and I am no salesperson.
Charleston School of Law: When did you decide you wanted to start teaching or how did you make that transition?
Anastopoulo: In 2003, a couple of things happened. My husband and I were representing about 600 plaintiffs. We were suing the manufacturers of Oxycontin. There was a clinic in Myrtle Beach that many, many people were addicted to Oxycontin. And you would go in the front door of the clinic and get a prescription, and then you’d go around the back and fill it. It was just a pill mill. It started with one client and mushroomed into over 600. So, we handled that case until it settled.
It was a lot of work, and we were able to get compensation for our clients. But after that I was burned out from practicing and that’s when I started having a conversation with the law school about coming on and just teaching as an adjunct.
I loved teaching, and that lead to being a tenured faculty member.
Charleston School of Law: What keeps bringing you back into the classroom that keeps you passionate?
Anastopoulo: I can teach them Tort Law and have them understand it, but when they get it and things click, it’s like magic. I would teach for free because I just enjoy it so much. The energy of these young people and they make you hopeful that they’re going to fix things. That’s what brings me back.
Professor Constance Anastopoulo
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