Meet Joe Fraioli, ’13

Hometown: Islip Terrace, NY
Undergraduate Institution: Ithaca College

What is the best part of being a law student at the University of Iowa?
I think the atmosphere is the best part of Iowa law. The work is just as challenging and demanding as at any other law school, but the sense of collegiality and community is unique to Iowa. We are all classmates, and we are all friends.

When you began your first year, what pleasantly surprised you about Iowa Law?
I was very impressed with the emphasis that the faculty and staff place on getting out of the classroom, getting to know students, and getting involved in the community. I’ve been to several professors’ homes for dinner, and all of the professors have an open-door policy, so I’m able to chat with them outside of class. Further, I have had various opportunities to apply my legal skills in a practical environment through programs like the Citizen Lawyer Program.

What is life in Iowa City like?
Iowa City provides a truly ideal environment for balancing your work with your social life. It is just big enough to have a thriving downtown and there is always something new to try, but it is small enough to not be too distracting. Save for those two or three frosty weeks in late January/early February, the weather is beautiful!

What made you decide to attend the University of Iowa for your law degree?
A number of factors contributed to my decision. In addition to its low cost and excellent academic reputation, the size of the school is ideal—class sizes are relatively small and discussion is intimate and engaging, and as I mentioned before, professors are easily accessible. Overall, Iowa provides an incredibly rich learning environment that appealed to me over the rest.

How do you like the size of your classes?
Lectures, even the larger ones, are small enough that students can engage with the professor and the material without feeling like they are lost in a sea of people. Many of the courses in your later years are fewer than 50 people—something not common with most law schools.

Do you feel you are being well prepared for a law career?
I feel that Iowa provides more than enough opportunities to experience the various facets of the legal profession. I feel that my research, writing, and advocacy skills are proficient enough to make me a valuable asset to any future employer.

Are there opportunities for practical experience?
Within my first few weeks at Iowa Law I was downtown assisting the Johnson County Attorney’s office with the implementation of an alcohol diversion program for first-time alcohol offenders. Just last semester, I spent three days a week in Cedar Rapids clerking for a federal judge as part of the clinical program. The ability to work with professors as research assistants, take part in extracurricular activities, and participate in moot court and journal offers students the ability to apply what they have learned in a practical setting.

If you are involved in many extracurricular activities, how does this enhance your Iowa Law experience?
Class is only a small part of what law school is all about. I have been able to thoroughly explore my interests with support of the law school through a number of clubs and organizations. It has given me an opportunity to apply my legal knowledge in a fun setting outside of the classroom. Specifically, my involvement with the Iowa Law Review has certainly been challenging, but also incredibly fulfilling!