When Sir Geoffrey Palmer, a former Prime Minister of New Zealand and a former Iowa Law School Professor, was named to the International Whaling Commission, he wanted to learn more about the organization he was about to join. But he was disappointed to find much of the reading he sought was unavailable in his native New Zealand, a country with a rich whaling tradition dating back to its indigenous Maori people.
Fortunately, not long after his appointment, he was scheduled for one of his periodic teaching stints at the University of Iowa College of Law and was able to dig into its law library.
“While much of the material I wanted was not available in New Zealand, I did find it at the Iowa Law library,” says Palmer. “In particular, there was small booklet by the author Patricia Birnie published quite a few years ago that I had not been able to find in New Zealand. But it was at the Iowa Law Library.”
That this library would have a wider collection of whaling law material than a place where the animal is central to the culture might be surprising to someone who doesn’t know Arthur Bonfield. He has taught law at Iowa since 1962 and has been the library’s steward since becoming Associate Dean for Research in 1985. At that time the library was tenth in size among all law school libraries and had about 480,000 volumes and volume equivalents in its collection. Bonfield stepped down from that position on August 1 after having built the University of Iowa Law Library into the largest public law school library in the country—with more than 1.3 million volumes and volume equivalents—and the second largest library by that measurement among all public and private law school libraries in the country. In 1985 when Bonfield assumed responsibility for the library it had 140,000 separately cataloged individual titles in its collection and was ninth in size on that basis. Today the Iowa Law Library has over 1 million separately cataloged individual titles in its collection of information resources and appears to be first or second among all law school libraries on that basis.
Most of that is a testament to Bonfield’s never-ending love of law, research, and all things book.
“Arthur’s stewardship is totally responsible for the explosive and unexpected growth of the library,” said dean emeritus and professor N. William Hines, who appointed Bonfield as associate dean.
The law library can trace its roots to 1868, when the Iowa Legislature provided $2,000 to buy its first 525 volumes, which were shelved in the House of Representatives chamber in Old Capitol. The collection grew considerably so that by 1977, when the law school was located in the Law Center, an examining team from the American Bar Association wrote that it has “the best inadequately-housed law school in the country.”
A larger library was one of Hines’ primary motivations for a new law building once he became dean in 1976. It’s not a coincidence, he said, that when the Boyd Law Building opened in 1986, the law library was at the center and took up the largest portion of the building’s space.
“The way I saw it, the library was the heart of a law school and legal education, and it’s at the heart of this school, both literally and figuratively,” Hines says.
When the Law Library opened in the new Boyd Law Building, its shelves were less than half full, its 406,000 volumes making it the 13th largest law school library by hard copy print volume count in 1985; and if projections held true, it would not reach capacity for 50 years, Hines says. What nobody foresaw then is what Arthur Bonfield would do when he took over stewardship of the law library that same year.
A space that was supposed to last for 50 years was beyond capacity within 20. In part, Bonfield says the reason is that as globalization has brought the world closer together, legal systems are increasingly intertwined, requiring substantial collections of foreign law materials. So, for example, European, Islamic, Chinese, and Mexican law collections have been added in recent years. In addition, the subjects of legal research of faculty and students and the extent to which they became interdisciplinary dramatically expanded during the last 25 years so the information needed to conduct those broadened research interests had to be acquired by the Library.
Bonfield says the number of new law-related scholarly books published each year has also exploded, and unlike other subject areas of scholarly book publishing, most scholarly new law books are still published only on paper. In fact, he says that in the last 29 years, the number of printed new scholarly law books has increased at a faster rate than the number of such new electronically published scholarly volumes on law.
On top of that, law libraries across the country have discarded thousands of print books because of their space limitations or in anticipation of the as yet unachieved switch to almost wholly electronic publication of scholarly law books. Over the years Bonfield managed to acquire for the Law Library tens of thousands of these abandoned law books that were not available in any format in this Library for a nominal cost, or no cost at all.
“We have at least 65,000 books on our shelves that were obtained for nothing or next to nothing,” he says, including such important collections as a complete bound set of all the briefs filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC. Circuit. between the late 1890s and the 1990s and runs of many scholarly foreign legal periodicals that this Library did not own and that are not available online. At the same time Bonfield points out that this Law Library has one of the most complete collections of electronic legal information resources in the country and will continue to acquire as a first priority all such electronic resources that are useful to its patrons.
Beyond its collection of information resources, Bonfield says the Law Library’s other important commitment is to provide the kind of service and education needed to help its patrons find what they need in its vast legal information collections in all formats. This helps more than just law students and law faculty. Very large numbers of students and faculty from many disciplines across campus use its outstanding collection of legal materials on a daily basis because the Law Library serves the whole University’s needs for legal information not just the Law School. It is also the “ law library of last resort” for attorneys’ judges and government officials as well as other libraries across Iowa who are unable to find a legal publication they need anywhere else. Each year the Library sends volumes to every county in Iowa through inter-library loan.
But Bonfield’s love of books goes beyond the library. He co-founded the Iowa Bibliophiles, a group devoted to learning more about and preserving the history of the printed book. His personal library has about 8,000 books about his various obsessions beyond the law— history, political science, economics, philosophy, sociology, art, and music. A substantial portion of his collection is made up of original copies of rare books published and printed between 1490 and 1800, including encyclopedias, books on voyages and travels, early English history, and centuries old scholarly treatises.
“My mother was a teacher, my father was a physician. Both of them loved books, so I grew up in a house with thousands of books,” he says.
In the end, though, the work done by Bonfield to build a premier Law Library during the last 29 years will be an enduring contribution to the College of Law, the University, and the State of Iowa. Palmer, who refers to this Law Library as “one of the seven wonders of the world,” and “Arthur’s magnificent obsession,” and the best law library he’s ever seen, says he even found an obscure tort case decided in the Australian state of Tasmania in 1927 in this Law Library, when it could only be found in a few other libraries in the world.
In this case “the defendant shot a cat perched on an adjacent shed,” says Palmer. “The issue was whether the entry of the rifle bullet into the airspace over the land amounted to a trespass. The court said that it was. You can read all about this in Davies v Bennison (1927) 22 Tasmanian Law Reports 52, which can be found in the Iowa Law Library.”
While Bonfield relinquished his role as head of the Law Library as of August 1 he will continue as a professor at the Law School teaching Administrative Law and Constitutional Law and his Administrative Law law reform activities.
The Iowa Commission on the Status of Women will award the Cristine Wilson Medal for Equality and Justice to United States Magistrate Judge Celeste Bremer (JD ’77) at the annual Women’s Equality Day event at 10 a.m. on August 23, 2014, at the Iowa Historical Building, followed by a luncheon at the Embassy Suites Hotel.
Judge Bremer joins an impressive list of Wilson Medal honorees that includes many familiar names and faces of men and women who have worked to support Iowa’s founding principles of equality and justice. (See a complete list of recipients at http://www.women.iowa.gov/about_women/HOF/HOF%20pages/cristine-wilson-recipients.html).
Cristine Swanson Wilson was an Iowa pioneer, educated at Grinnell college, who taught school in New York before returning to Iowa. She was a tireless advocate who pushed for the establishment of the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women in 1972, and was a founding member of the Iowa Women’s Political Caucus and the first woman to chair the Polk County Republican platform committee. The Cristine Wilson Medal was established in 1982 to honor Iowans whose life and work illustrate their service and dedication to equality and justice.
Judge Bremer is being recognized for her work to increase diversity on Iowa’s courts, and to increase transparency in the judicial selection process.
Additionally, Judge Bremer will be recognized by the Infinity Project, www.theinfinityproject.org, with the Diana Murphy Legacy award at the Infinity Summit on August 6, 2014, in Omaha for her work in expanding the number of qualified applicants to the federal bench, focusing attention on the federal judicial selection process within the 8th Circuit, and championing issues relating to gender fairness in the courts.
Judge Bremer received her BA in 1974 from St. Ambrose College; her JD in 1977 from the University of Iowa College of Law; and her EdD in 2002 from Drake University School of Education.
University of Iowa law school partnership will let Coe College undergraduates earn bachelor’s, law degrees in six years
The University of Iowa College of Law and Coe College in Cedar Rapids have entered into an agreement that will allow undergraduate students at Coe to earn both their bachelor’s and law degrees in six years.
The 3+3 program will allow qualified undergraduates from Coe admission to the College of Law after the conclusion of their junior year, and the credits earned during their first year of law school will also apply to their undergraduate degree.
Gail Agrawal, dean of the College of Law, says the program will allow qualified Coe students the opportunity to receive their bachelor’s and JD degrees after six years instead of seven, saving a year of tuition and other costs. It also gives those students a one year head start on their law career.
“This is not a program for every student, but for the right student,” says Agrawal. “Those who might be a good fit for the program are highly motivated and certain that law is the path for them.”
The program will allow Coe students to apply to the UI law school at the start of their junior year, instead of their senior year. If they are accepted, they would begin attending law school during what would have been their senior year.
David Hayes, the Louie J. and Ella Pochobradsky Associate Professor of Business Administration at Coe, serves as the college’s pre-law student advisor and is a UI College of Law graduate himself. He says the program will improve the longstanding relationship between the college and the law school.
“As both a graduate of Coe and the University of Iowa College of Law, I am pleased the two institutions were able to creatively seek a new avenue that will help students acquire a first-class education for less time and expense,” Hayes says. “Scores of Coe alumni have continued their education at the Iowa College of Law, and this step enhances that relationship.”
Professor Miller Comments on Matt Bevin’s TARP Letter (The Weekly Standard, Feb. 13, 2014)
Sam Langholz’s passion for public service and law is a force that drives him out of bed in the morning.
The 2008 University of Iowa College of Law alum truly enjoys getting up each day striving to improve the efficiency and quality of Iowa’s indigent defense system.
“My position is a unique mix of law and public policy, which has been a good match for my interest in public service and love of the law,” he said. “I appreciate the position is challenging and multifaceted, and that I have the opportunity to continue to engage in appellate practice.”
This hometown Hawkeye from Clear Lake, Iowa, coordinates Iowa’s indigent defense system, managing a $55 million budget and the State Public Defender system of 220 employees and administering the indigent defense fund that provides payment to other court-appointed attorneys.
He handles some appellate litigation arising out of indigent defense fee claim disputes, but most of his practice is out-of-court, including drafting and negotiating contracts, conducting internal investigations, advising on and handling personnel matters, drafting administrative rules and proposed legislation, and advising on issues of attorney ethics.
Langholz received his bachelors degree from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia where he majored in politics. Following graduation, Langholz attended the University of Iowa College of Law from 2005-2008, and graduated in May 2008.
Immediately after law school, Langholz clerked for Judge Steven M. Colloton on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. He then worked for the Davis Brown Law Firm in Des Moines, focusing on civil litigation and appeals.
Langholz said he has no doubt that his UI College of Law education has had a profound effect on helping him get where he is today.
“Through the efforts of professors and student leaders on moot court and law review, I learned to be a strong writer, which is one of a lawyer’s most important skills,” he said. “I also learned an incredible amount about the law and about life from discussions with professors, classmates, and alumni throughout the three years of law school and since then.”
The UI opened doors for him to intern in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cedar Rapids during his first summer and in the Muscatine County Attorney’s Office his second summer.
Law school experiences built many memories for Langholz, including taking advantage of the open door policies of many professors to learn more about the law, seek professional guidance, and develop friendships.
“Some of my fondest memories are of spending the night at the law school doing authority checks with the other writers and editors of the Iowa Law Review,” he said. “Delicious food, great company, and lots of books — what more could one ask for?”
Choosing a favorite UI class was difficult for Langholz, but he ended up landing on the Civil Procedure class he took his first year with Professor Bauer.
There are so many directions that you can take a law degree, and great flexibility in the classes you take, activities you’re involved in, and summer experiences, but all this flexibility can be a curse if you haven’t been thinking strategically, Langholz said in light of advising prospective and current law students.
For example, you are not likely going to be a particularly competitive applicant for a position as an entry-level public defender if you never took any elective criminal courses, never interned in a public defender or prosecutor office, and never took advantage of the legal clinic or trial advocacy programs, he said.
However Langholz thoroughly encourages obtaining a law degree.
“For better or worse, law continues to be at the nexus of so much in society — business, government, and our personal lives,” he said. “A law degree can give you the tools necessary to work through the legal system, and to help others to do the same, to more successfully accomplish the business, personal, or political objectives that are desired.”
Aside from work, Langholz enjoys spending his spare time with his wife Kristin and two young boys, and taking in musical theater.
The University of Iowa College of Law invites you to share memories and tributes in the comments section below.
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January 26, 2014
Members of the Law School Community,
With a heavy heart, I write to share the sad news of the death of our beloved colleague, Randall P. Bezanson, the David H. Vernon Professor of Law. Randy, as he was known to his many friends, died on Saturday, January 25, in San Antonio, Texas, at the home of his daughter Melissa Bezanson Shultz surrounded by his loving family. He confronted his long illness with unforgettable grace and courage. We are grateful for the many years Randy was our colleague, and we deeply mourn his loss.
A native of Cedar Rapids, Professor Bezanson earned his undergraduate degree from Northwestern University in 1968 and his J.D. summa cum laude here at the University of Iowa College of Law in 1971. He was a star student, graduating first in his class and serving as Editor-in-Chief of the Iowa Law Review. After law school, he was a law clerk first to the Honorable Roger Robb on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and then the following year to the Honorable Harry A. Blackmun on the United States Supreme Court. In 1973, Randy returned home and joined our faculty. He quickly established himself as one the nation’s leading experts on the First Amendment, libel law, and mass communications law.
In 1979, at the age of 32, Professor Bezanson was appointed by then President Willard “Sandy” Boyd to be the University’s Vice President for Finance and University Services. He served until 1984, directing one of the then-largest budgets in state government. During his tenure, he confronted budget cuts, hiring slowdowns, reversions, and salary freezes, and was also engaged in three successful capital improvement projects, including the construction of our Boyd Law Building.
Professor Bezanson left Iowa in 1988 to become Dean at the Washington and Lee University School of Law, where he served with great distinction. He returned to our faculty after the completion of his deanship as a visiting professor in 1994, rejoining us as a member of the full-time faculty in 1996. Except for a brief visit to the University of Arizona Law School, he was not to leave us again. In 1998, Professor Bezanson was named the Charles E. Floete Distinguished Professor of Law, and in 2006 he became the inaugural holder of the David H. Vernon professorship, named for a dear friend and colleague who preceded Randy in death.
Professor Bezanson’s teaching centered on constitutional law, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and mass communication law. He was an extraordinary teacher, recognized in 2009 by the conferral of the President and Provost Award for Teaching Excellence, the University of Iowa’s highest teaching honor. His scholarship spanned the fields of administrative law, constitutional law, the First Amendment, defamation and privacy law, law and medicine, and the history of freedom of the press. The author of dozens of articles, his work was published in leading law journals, and other scholars frequently rely upon his insights. Professor Bezanson was also the author, co-author, or editor of eight books, two monographs, and six book chapters. His book with co-authors Gilbert Cranberg and John Soloski, Libel Law and the Press: Myth and Reality, received the National Distinguished Service Award for Research in Journalism in 1988 from the Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi. A committed scholar to the very end, Randy was circulating a draft of a new article for comments at the time of his death.
Professor Bezanson drafted statutes for Iowa on matters relating to the mentally ill and to life-sustaining procedures. He also was a member of the American Law Institute (ex officio) and the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. In the latter capacity, he helped to draft proposed legislation on matters ranging from the rights of the terminally ill to defamation. He was a member of the Iowa Bar and a leader in the Iowa City and University of Iowa communities.
Randy will be remembered by his colleagues for his rigorous mind, his great wit, his unyielding commitment to legal education, his deep devotion to using writing as a vehicle for sharpening students’ minds, his unfailing willingness to read and comment on colleagues’ drafts, and his instinctive questioning of unspoken assumptions. Many of those qualities were on daily display around the faculty lunch table, to which Randy invariably came with a topic worthy of careful thought and discussion. His students will remember him as a gifted and committed teacher, learned scholar, and wonderful mentor. His greatest professional pride came from his students’ achievements. Life in the Boyd Law Building will not be the same without him.
Randy was preceded in death by his wife, Elaine Croyle Bezanson. He is survived by their two children, Melissa Bezanson Shultz and Peter Bezanson, and five grandchildren.
We will gather with the family to celebrate Randy and a life exceptionally well-lived on Saturday, February 15, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Levitt Center for University Advancement. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers memorials be directed to the Randall Bezanson Memorial Fund at the University of Iowa Foundation, P.O. Box 4550, Iowa City, IA, 52244. To share a memory or leave a condolence, please click here.
With deep sadness,
Dean and F. Wendell Miller Professor of Law
Read his obituary in the Iowa City Press Citizen.
Pamela Meanes, University of Iowa College of Law 1996 J.D. graduate grew up knowing she wanted to serve her community and make a difference in the lives of others. Her original idea was to become a teacher and pursue a career in education, but eventually decided to venture down a different path to reach her goal of serving the community: attending law school.
Now with the help of her law degree from the UI, Meanes spends every day solving problems for people and helping people — and their businesses — avoid problems.
“I’d be giving you a less than accurate answer if I didn’t tell you that I like the pressure and the challenges,” she said. “There is nothing like talking to a CEO, or inside counsel, figuring out what legal problems they are facing and telling that person ‘OK, I can help you.’ In some cases, I’m handling multi-million dollar matters, the types of cases that can make or break a company or organization. The pressure is immense, but to me, it’s also thrilling.”
She was recently elected president-elect of the National Bar Association — the nation’s oldest and largest association of African American lawyers that was founded in Des Moines, Iowa in 1925. She will succeed current president Patricia Rosier as President next July.
Meanes earned her bachelor’s degree from Monmouth College in 1990 and received her master’s degree from Clark Atlanta University in 1993. She then attended the UI College of Law from 1994-1996 after one of her master’s professors told her she should consider a career in law, and after speaking with a UI College of Law representative.
“I had never thought about going into law, so the whole idea of becoming a lawyer really was hard to consider at first,” the East St. Louis, Illinois native said. “But he kept pushing, and eventually put me in touch with a law professor at the University of Iowa College of Law who gave me a great deal of encouragement, so I decided to do it. Once I got to the University of Iowa, and met the students and faculty, I knew I was in the right place and that I had made the right decision.”
Following graduation at the University of Iowa in 1996, Meanes began her career at Thompson Coburn later that year and was elected partner in 2005. While not the firm’s first African American partner at her firm, Meanes is the first in the firm to be elevated from associate to partner.
In her years with the firm she has defended financial institutions on various contract, mechanics lien and lender liability matters; managed and negotiated more than 200 complex land acquisitions for a major transportation agency in a leading Midwestern city; supervised a discovery team consisting of numerous attorneys, paralegals and supporting staff in multimillion-dollar breach of contract case;
tried or second-chaired bench and jury trials to conclusion on various civil matters; and defended senior executives and a nonprofit organization on matters related to race and sexual harassment.
Meanes has also been deeply involved in the National Bar Association, holding positions as Vice President, Editor-In-Chief of The NBA Magazine, Chair of the Finance and Fundraising Committee, Region VIII Regional Director, Deputy General Counsel, Women Lawyers Division, Judicial Selections Committee member, Nominations Committee member. In addition, she has been a member of the NBA’s Law and Religion Section, Minority Partners in Majority Firms Division, Commercial Law Section, Corporate Law Section, and National Bar Institute.
While she realizes law school is a rigorous time in your life, Meanes offered some advice to current and prospective law students: “First, it’s important to know that you can do it,” she said. “Even when it seems tough, and overwhelming, you can get through it. And when you graduate, you can get the job you want or better yet, the job you were meant to have. Be willing to work hard, listen, open your mind, embrace change and what you are learning, look at it as just another (but very important) part of your journey.”
A law degree is very versatile and can be tailored to your own passion, she said.
“What you do with your law degree is up to you … what is your passion? Sure, no one is going to walk up to you and hand you your dream job in law, but trust me, if you are passionate about it, work hard and smart you, WILL achieve your goals.”
Right now Meanes’ work at the firm and with the NBA keeps her busy. However, she is very involved with her church, the New Freedom Church in Belleville, Illinois. Her priority, though, is family. Spending time with her husband and children is extremely important. As of now, she doesn’t really have time for hobbies … but the upside is, she said, “I love all that I do and I don’t feel as if I’m missing out on anything!”
Hometown: Omaha, NE
Undergraduate Institution: University of Nebraska-Omaha
Undergraduate Degree: English
Joshua Weiner, a University of Iowa second year law student was awarded a Peggy Browning Fellowship to work for the Directorate of the Whistleblower Protection Program for the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) this past summer in Washington D.C.
“It’s a bit different from what I would say a typical summer legal internship is like,” he said. “I worked on a couple legal memos and having a legal background is certainly helpful, but a lot of what our office did was measurement-driven analysis; preparing reports on programs, answering questions presented by the Government Accountability Office, things of that nature. It’s a great window into the world of an administrative agency.”
The Directorate of the Whistleblower Protection Program oversees the administration of the whistleblower provisions of 22 different federal statutes, ranging from occupational safety and health to securities regulation. A complaint filed with OSHA is investigated by OSHA staff through 10 Regional Offices. If a complaint is dismissed, the complainant can appeal that decision to the National Office; Weiner’s work includes working with those appeals.
He also worked on a report of ALJ decisions issued under the whistleblower provisions of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act over the past three years and collaborated on an Alternative Dispute Resolution Pilot Program.
Peggy Browning Fellowships provide law students with unique, diverse and challenging work experiences fighting for social and economic justice. These experiences encourage and inspire students to pursue careers in public interest labor law. The Peggy Browning Fund is a not for-profit organization established in memory of Margaret A. Browning, a prominent union-side attorney who was a member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from 1994 until 1997.
Weiner said he has always had an interest in helping others and advocating for what he believes in and felt attending law school would give him the opportunity to influence many people in a positive way – so the fellowship was a perfect fit.
He discovered the PBF through University of Iowa career services and applied online. The PBF offers 70-plus Fellowships each year through a variety of labor-oriented sponsors. The positions are typically posted in the fall for the upcoming summer, and applicants can apply for up to five positions, and Weiner applied for all five. He was notified of his offer last winter.
“I chose this Fellowship with OSHA because I was interested in seeing how a federal agency operated from the inside – from rulemaking to administration,” the 25 year old from Omaha, Nebraska said. “What I enjoyed most about my job is that I get to do things that are not necessarily in my comfort zone as a law student, but that require a lot of the same critical thinking skills.”
While attending the UI law school, Weiner is the research assistant for Professor Lea VanderVelde and said he owes her a special thanks for being supportive and teaching him to think about the law in a different way that has helped at OSHA.
In 2012 and 2013, Weiner participated in Citizen Lawyer Programs with both Iowa Legal Aid and the ACLU Immigration Project. He was a finalist in the 2013 Van Oosterhout-Baskerville Moot Court Competition and was also selected to participate in Supreme Court Day in the fall of 2013.
His previous work experiences include working for a workers’ compensation insurance company and an internship at Iowa Legal Aid in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
“I learned a great deal about being an advocate in my time with Iowa Legal Aid and I owe a lot of thanks to the attorneys there,” Weiner said.
His summer fellowship provided him with many experiences outside of a typical law internship, he said.
“It’s been a eye-opening experience into the world of government,” he said. “Very little in a government agency gets done in isolation. It takes a lot of contact with people and patience.
He plans to carry forward many of the opportunities and skills into his future career including network connections and crafting policy.
“This internship has really given me exposure on how to analyze data and prepare reports on it,” he said. “I know this isn’t necessarily legal, but the way that I think the industry is heading requires some technical savvy as well as experiences that make you marketable not just as a lawyer, but as someone who can offer consultation and understand issues from a policy standpoint.”
Weiner said one of the reasons he was attracted to the UI law school was the approachability of the law professors. He said they all share a demonstrable passion for molding competent, compassionate, and responsible lawyers.
But perhaps the greatest benefit he’s taken from law school, Weiner said, besides the obvious benefit of a legal education, is the confidence he’s gained. The ability to think on your feet and offer articulate, well-reasoned responses to questions is a skill that he thinks translates to any setting.
“Of course I was nervous about meeting my supervisor and making a good impression,” Weiner said of his fellowship position. “I’ve found in my experience, however, that mistakes are inevitable in any new position – but what is most important and what people will remember is your attitude and your willingness to learn.”
Hometown: Sevastopol, Ukraine
Undergraduate Institution: University of Iowa
Undergraduate Degree: Sociology
Zdravstvujtye, privit, or hello — whether it’s in Russian, Ukrainian, or English, or whether she’s twirling away on the ballroom floor, Kseniya Stupak won’t hesitate to share her experience last summer interning for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa, where she found her passion of Federal Criminal law.
“I worked with different cases including drugs, gangs, guns, child pornography, sexual abuse, and murder,” Stupak, a University of Iowa College of Law 2L, said. “I actually practiced law, not just learned how to think like a lawyer. I realized that I want to prosecute such crime and not defend.”
As a law clerk, her job included research, writing memos, briefs, observing criminal trials, pre-trials, sentencings, and plea hearings. Not only did she observe the federal criminal procedures, but participated fully in every step of the process. She interviewed the defendant in prison, wrote questions for cross-examination, and wrote sentencing memos, worked with FBI agents, Secret Service, U.S. Marshall’s, and Federal Prosecutors.
The trilingual student grew up in Sevastopol, Ukraine and moved to Cedar Rapids in October 2004, with her family. When she’s not studying law, she travels the world participating in ballroom dancing competitions — and has been named a champion. She said her background traveling all over the world helps her be open to different points of view and understand different cultures.
Stupak is involved in several UI Student Organizations including Organization For Women Law Students and Staff, where the group fundraises for Pro Bono trips around the United States to help people and volunteer. She is also active in Legal Clinic, and last semester she participated in Divorce Pro Bono Clinic. Stupak joined the Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems Journal and would like to be in the Moot Court team next semester.
As a mother, student, wife, ballroom champion, and volunteer, Stupak said her life becomes hectic but still feels like she can do it all, and knows that her positive attitude and energy will push her through.
“Boxing and gym are the best stress releases,” she said. “Sometimes right after the classes I feel overwhelmed and release my stress by boxing or dancing and then go home and start being myself again.”
Stupak said she loves the University of Iowa Law School because of its relatively small size. All students know each other and all professors know every student. She said they don’t only study, but have fun socializing together with theatrical plays, cards games, picnics, and many more other activities.
However, academia is the College of Law’s forte.
In Iowa Law School, Stupak said they learn how to think like a lawyer, therefore, they find internships, externships and volunteer opportunities to practice law. The combination of both helps to prepare each student for a new career.
“When I started to learn law, I realized that my brain started to think differently,” she said. “I am more careful with anything I do, anything I sign. I developed great communication skills, writing skills. I feel that I am more freely can talk to different people with different backgrounds and be open for their opinions by being a good listener.”
Those skills helped her land the internship of her dream this past summer.
“I have no regrets that I joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office during the summer,” she said. “Everyone was extremely helpful at the office and helped me in my understanding in federal procedure and law. All of my questions were answered and I received a lot of feedback and suggestions.”