Nov. 2, 2006
Iowa Law Review Stocks Local Talent
It might be called The Iowa Law Review, but this year, the University of Iowa College of Law's flagship law journal might just as well be called The Iowa City Law Review.
Five of the journal's top editorial staff are natives of Iowa City and graduated from either City or West high schools. Third year law students Britta Schnoor and John Pantazis are notes and commentary editors, while Ben Folsom, Robin Dull and Matt Stromquist are articles editors. Stromquist is a West High graduate, while the others graduated from City High.
Nobody can remember such a large contingent of hometowners on the journal's staff in recent memory.
"It's about time," Schnoor joked of the local representation.
The Iowa Law Review is one of the leading law school-published academic journals in the country and provides UI law students with practical experience in legal writing and editing. Published five times a year, the articles in the Review are written by attorneys, judges and top law professors from around the country, as well as UI law students. They examine ongoing developments in the law, including recent legal decisions and legislative acts, and present a wide variety of perspectives and analyses.
"A journal is a place where academic discourse takes place," said Folsom. "It's where professors and attorneys make their cases to each other about how a law or a decision can be interpreted."
Recent articles include examinations of such issues as marriage and the income tax, evidence law in criminal trials, and Title IX policy. The pages also show a sense of humor, as in the recently published "The Best Puffery Article Ever." The article examined the legal defense of puffery, or outrageous claims made by organizations in their advertising and marketing that most people know are not true ("the world's greatest...." or "we care about you.")
"We try to present well-reasoned and innovative arguments that address timely topics and help judges and practitioners think about new ways to approach cases," said Stromquist.
The Review is one of four journals published by the College of Law (Journal of Gender, Race and Justice, Journal of Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems, and Journal of Corporation Law are the others). It was first published in 1915 as the Iowa Law Bulletin and has been overseen by students since 1935. The American Bar Association rates it as one of the best law journals in the country.
As a result, getting into its pages is not easy. More than 2,200 articles are submitted to the editorial board most years, but only 20 are published. A few bound copies are still printed and mailed, but most readers access the articles through the electronic databases WestLaw and LexisNexis.
Unlike journals in other fields, most law journals are edited by second- and third-year law students instead of being peer-reviewed, and so they provide a level of writing and editing experience that students can't find elsewhere, said Dull.
"It teaches you how to make your work conform to legal standards and it shows you how important is to pay attention to detail," he said.
As a result, experience at a journal is usually a plus when a new law graduate is applying for work at a law firm or to be a clerk to a judge.
"The work we do here tells employers that you can write well enough to be on a journal staff, so they know they're hiring someone with a certain level of skill," said Pantazis.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.
MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010, firstname.lastname@example.org.