Ambition and Civility

Are Not Mutually Exclusive

Year 1

Year 1

Foundation for a Career


Year 2

Year 2

Specialize in Your Interests


Year 3

Year 3

They Call You "Counselor"


News | Events

Megan Horst

Shipping out from the College of Law: Iowa Law student set for career in Navy JAG

Megan Horst has always loved traveling the world, but the Vinton, Iowa, native never imagined her passion for exploring would land her in law school—or the U.S. Navy, no less.

Horst, a second-year student in the University of Iowa College of Law, decided to attend law school because she loves learning and was interested in the challenges that studying law would present her with.

Megan HorstBut it wasn’t until she began taking courses at Iowa Law—where she sat in on a presentation about opportunities in the Navy JAG Corps—that she realized she could travel the world by way of her J.D. She inquired about internship opportunities and was encouraged to apply.

The U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps provides commanders, sailors, and Navy families with targeted legal solutions wherever and whenever required to enable effective naval and joint operations.

“I applied because I really wanted to spend more time abroad,” Horst says. “I studied in Portugal in undergrad, and I wanted to go back to Europe because I’ve lived in Iowa my whole life. This was a job that would force me to move and experience new cultures.”

Horst landed an internship with the U.S. Navy JAG Corps at the Sigonella Naval Air Station in Italy last summer, where she advised officers and various commands on matters of naval law, as well as personal legal issues, such as drafting wills. Much of her time was spent on legal research related to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, a legal system entirely new to her.

“One day we might be discussing what to do about an issue with stray dogs on the base, and the next we would discuss our aircraft flight schedule with the Italian Air Force,” Horst says. “Because you’re the only legal counsel on site, you get to know everything about how the military base functions. I learned a lot about the operational side of the Navy and grew to love military culture just as much as Italian culture.”

Horst returned to Iowa Law to complete her legal education last fall, and she’s already secured a job with the Navy JAG Corps after graduation in May 2017. And she says she has her instructors and peers to thank for that.

“What’s impacted me most is the fact that I’ve built relationships with certain faculty who are really helping me figure out what I want to do,” Horst says. “When I was evaluating internship opportunities, I had people to discuss the pros and cons with who were always asking me about my next step and my next goal and providing mentorship. The faculty here really help foster that.”

Horst says Iowa Law’s faculty also are proactive, providing learning experiences outside of the classroom, and she’s benefitted from being invited to sit in on criminal-defense trials and help faculty, like Todd Pettys, professor of law at the UI, with research.

But most of all, Horst says her time at Iowa Law has helped her learn what it means to be a lawyer—to build trust, to verify facts, and to accept criticism so she can continue to improve.

“The work we do here matters,” Horst says of her legal education. “As a lawyer, you have to learn to be confident and competent because you’re charged with handling someone else’s legal issues. At first it can seem pretty overwhelming, but it’s important to check and verify when you don’t know the answer to something. You have to gain your client’s trust to do a good job.”

Horst plans to take the bar exam before she begins her naval-officer training in Rhode Island. Once her training is complete, she’ll be on active duty, where she’ll gain experience in command services, legal assistance, defense counsel, and prosecution in six-month rotations.

And those back at Iowa Law will be encouraging her from afar.

“It’s such an honor to be part of Megan’s life during her time here at the College of Law,” says Pettys, for whom Horst works as a research assistant. “She is smart, poised, humble, and well-grounded. From the very first conversation I ever had with her, I’ve been struck by the great degree to which she has a knack for living a full, meaningful life. She’s a tremendous credit to this university, just as she will be to the Navy JAG.”

Horst says she’s ready for her next great adventure.

“My time at Iowa Law has taught me that I can truly do whatever I want with a law degree,” Horst says. “I’m really proud of the fact that I’ve taken advantage of the opportunities law school has to offer, and I’m ready for the next challenge.”

Complete Article available at:

Contact: Hayley Bruce, Office of Strategic Communication, 319-384-0072

Latest Faculty Scholarship: SSRN Legal Studies Research Paper Series Vol. 18, No. 1

For the latest scholarship from the Iowa Law faculty, see the following articles or book chapters circulated as part of the University of Iowa College of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series on SSRN.

Thomas P. Gallanis: Will Substitutes: A U.S. Perspective
A. Braun and A. Röthel, eds. Passing Wealth on Death: Will-Substitutes in Comparative Perspective, Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2016, Forthcoming
U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-01

This chapter aims to introduce the phenomenon of will substitutes in the United States to a transnational readership. The chapter consists of six principal parts. After this brief introduction, Part I lays a foundation by defining the terms of art ‘will substitute’ and ‘nonprobate transfer’, by locating the law(s) governing will substitutes within the federal-state structure of the United States, and by explaining the reasons why in the U.S. will substitutes are often used. Part II surveys the principal types of will substitutes used in the United States: revocable trust instruments, life insurance beneficiary designations, pension and retirement account beneficiary designations, multiple-party and pay-on-death bank account registrations, transfer-on-death registrations of securities or automobiles, deeds creating joint tenancies and tenancies by the entirety in land, and transfer-on-death deeds of land. Part II also briefly discusses gifts causa mortis. Part III explains the distinction between ‘pure’ and ‘imperfect’ will substitutes. The former fully replicate the essential features of a will; the latter do not. Part III also explains why will substitutes are valid under U.S. law even though they need not comply with the formalities required for a testamentary transfer. Part IV explores the rights of third parties in assets transferred at death by a will substitute. These third parties include taxing authorities, the decedent’s creditors, and the decedent’s surviving spouse and children. Part V explores a dominant trend in U.S. succession law: the harmonization of the default rules governing wills and will substitutes. Part VI then explores a counter-trend: the federal preemption of state succession law, particularly relating to pension plans and life insurance. A brief conclusion follows.

Herbert J. Hovenkamp: Antitrust and Efficient Mergers
U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-02

Mergers of business firms violate the antitrust laws when they threaten to lessen competition, which generally refers to a price increase resulting from a reduction in output. However, a merger that threatens competition may also enable the post-merger firm to reduce its costs or improve its product. Attitudes toward mergers are heavily driven by assumptions about efficiency gains. If mergers of competitors never produced efficiency gains but simply reduced the number of competitors, a strong presumption against them would be warranted. We tolerate most mergers because of a background, highly generalized belief that most or at least many produce cost savings or improvements in products or service. This article considers the current approach of merger enforcement policy to merger-induced efficiencies.

Merger analysis today takes efficiencies into account in two ways. First, it makes assumptions about efficiencies in determining where the line for prima facie illegality should be drawn. Second, it recognizes an efficiencies "defense" once prima facie illegality has been established, with the burden of proof on the defendant.

The rapidly growing empirical literature on post-merger performance suggests that merger policy today is more likely to permit an anticompetitive merger than to prohibit a harmless one. At the same time, however, the fault appears not to lie with the efficiencies defense. The defense has almost never successfully defended a merger after the government has made out a prima facie case of illegality. In that case the under deterrence problem must lie in the prima facie case itself.

Welfare tradeoff models attempt to assess the welfare effects of mergers by comparing consumer harms and producer gains. One problem with the well known welfare tradeoff model developed by Oliver E. Williamson is that the efficiencies it contemplates occur at output levels that are lower than they were prior to the merger. While efficiencies at lower output levels are possible, they properly require additional proof. Of course, efficiencies might be so substantial that post-merger output is higher, and prices lower, than at premerger levels. But in that case there is nothing to trade off -- both producers and consumers would benefit from the merger.

Williamson's model also assumed a market that was perfectly competitive prior to the merger but monopolized thereafter. Virtually no challenged mergers today fall into that territory. Most mergers occur in moderately concentrated markets where pre-merger prices are already substantially above marginal cost. In that case consumer welfare losses are much larger and efficiency gains must be spread over a much smaller output.

The 2010 Horizontal Merger Guidelines also require that efficiencies be "merger specific" -- that is, that they could not reasonably be brought about except by the merger. Under a general welfare test that trades actual consumer losses against producer gains that approach makes sense, but under the consumer welfare test that the Merger Guidelines apply it is perplexing. First, if the efficiencies are not of sufficient magnitude to offset fully any propensity toward a price increase, then the efficiency defense will be rejected whether or not the claimed efficiencies are merger specific. However, if the efficiencies are in fact of sufficient magnitude to predict that the post-merger price will be no higher than the pre-merger price, then why do we care? Such a merger does not harm consumers, and as a result is not anticompetitive.

Lea S. VanderVelde: The Dred Scott Case in Context
Journal of Supreme Court History, Vol. 40, No. 3, pp. 263-81, 2015
U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-03

This essay concisely summarizes several new discoveries about the Dred Scott case. It argues that only by examining three broader contexts does the case make sense and can its significance be seen. Contextual examination is necessary because the stipulated facts taken at face value make little sense. For example, how could aged slave bring a lawsuit in the first place and sustain it for eleven years against a master who lived in far-away New York? This seeming irrationality has led to speculation about motives which is, in fact, wrong.

The case can only be explained by resort to three contexts in which the case is embedded. They are: 1) the national geography of westward migration, 2) local Missouri law, and 3) the parties’ intimate relationships to persons, who were not named in the case. Theoretically, this essay argues that these contexts are useful, if not essential, to understanding most high-profile, high-significance lawsuits, like Dred Scott v. Sanford.

The first context highlights the larger role that slaves played in the nation’s expansion. There was a steady stream of slave petitioners who satisfied the criteria for freedom by having lived on free soil (freedom-by-residence) before arriving at the St. Louis courts in a slave state. The second context, local law, demonstrates certain aspects of the Missouri statute authorizing freedom suits. In many circumstances, Missouri law provided petitioning slaves with lawyers and a series of successful suits under that law created local expectations that slaves could sue for freedom and win. These two contexts demonstrate that the Scotts should have won the case easily, under Missouri law in the Missouri courts, until the Missouri Supreme Court changed course.

The third context highlights other people who had a stake in the outcome. On the plaintiffs’ side, changing the incentives, were Mrs. Dred Scott (Harriet) and the Scotts’ daughters. Harriet Scott’s status as a mother rendered her more legally relevant to the family’s stability because the daughters’ legal status hinged on the determination of their mother’s status. So recognizing Mrs. Scott and the children’s stake in the case helps explain the litigants’ tenacity. Behind the defendant, John F. A. Sanford was his extended family, the slave-holding Chouteaus, who favored litigating to the end. Recognizing these hidden persons changes the incentives. These persons could exercise influence on whether the case settled.

Steven J. Burton: Collapsing Illusions: Standards for Setting Efficient Contract and Other Defaults
Indiana Law Journal, Vol. 91, No. 3, 2016
U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-04

In this Essay, Professor Burton analyzes and evaluates four commonly used standards for setting efficient default rules and standards. Based on two theoretical insights, he shows that three of them collapse upon analysis into the fourth, a Coasian standard that turns out to be a dead end. The theoretical upshot is that the Coase Theorem often is a good reason to use defaults rather than mandatory rules or standards. But neither the theorem nor reference to a transaction-costless world sustains particular defaults. To set an efficient default, the law should guide courts toward supplying terms that parties should have adopted to generate a surplus from the term or a cluster of related clauses.

Maya Steinitz: Back to Basics: Public Adjudication of Corporate Atrocities Torts
Harvard Journal of International Law, Forthcoming
U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-05

The editors of this symposium invited me to contribute on the subject of an argument I have recently advanced that the world needs a permanent International Court of Civil Justice (ICCJ) to adjudicate cross-border mass torts. A common reaction to this proposal has been to suggest that the function of such an international court be assumed by one of the existing arbitration institutions or filled by a new one. I’d like to take this opportunity to argue against that idea.

Joseph W. Yockey: Using Form to Counter Corruption: The Promise of the Public Benefit Corporation
49 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 623 (2015)
U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-06

Many observers argue that part of the blame for foreign corrupt practices should be placed on legal form. Their claim is that traditional corporate norms of shareholder wealth maximization help explain why corporate corruption is so prevalent. This essay shifts that argument to examine whether there are characteristics among corporate forms that can boost the efficacy of internal compliance strategies. In doing so, the paper’s primary recommendation is for founders to focus greater attention on an emerging new corporate association — the public benefit corporation — as a promising option for blueprinting sustainable anti-corruption compliance.

Herbert J. Hovenkamp: Re-Imagining Antitrust: The Revisionist Work of Richard S. Markovits
U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-07

This review discusses Richard Markovits’ two volume book "Economics and the Interpretation" and "Application of U.S. and E.U. Antitrust Law" (2014), focusing mainly on Markovits’ approaches to antitrust tests of illegality, pricing offenses, market definition and the assessment of market power, and his important work anticipating unilateral effects theory in merger cases. Markovits argues forcefully that the Sherman and Clayton Acts were intended to employ different tests of illegality. As a result, even when they cover the same practices, such as mergers, exclusive dealing, or tying, they address them under different tests. He then shows how he would analyze various practices under the two statutes, discussing virtually every practice that has been the subject of significant antitrust litigation. He also discusses, more briefly, the competition law of the European Union.

Among Markovits’ most influential contributions to antitrust policy is his critique of traditional antitrust approaches to market power and market definition. His work was highly influential in the development of modern "unilateral effects" theories of merger analysis. A provocative question that Markovits’ work invites is whether the unilateral effects approach can or should be extended beyond merger cases. The Supreme Court has insisted that relevant markets be defined in Sherman Act §2 cases, as well as for §1 cases under the rule of reason. No lower court today would be likely to find traditional market definition unnecessary in those areas without new Supreme Court guidance. The same thing is very likely true for tying or exclusive dealing cases requiring assessment of market foreclosure.

One fact seems inescapable: if the logic of unilateral effects analysis applies to mergers, then it should apply equally to other antitrust practices that serve to eliminate or blunt competition between reasonably adjacent firms in differentiated markets. For example, a firm that predates its closest rival into bankruptcy may be able to induce a unilateral price increase, just as much as a merger between these same two firms. Indeed, the industrial organization literature often treats merger and predation as alternative ways of eliminating a rival. The same thing could also be true of tying or exclusive dealing intended to deny a relatively close rival access to a market, as well as loyalty discounts. All of these could be used in differentiated markets to exclude reasonably proximate rivals, with the result that prices increase.

Ironically, giving legal recognition to the problem of eliminating competition in unilateral effects mergers, while denying recognition in nonmerger cases arising in the same market settings, gives firms the incentive to employ the pricing or contractual exclusion strategies rather than merger. One perverse result may be that the elimination of competition will occur, but without the offsetting efficiencies that at least some mergers can provide.

Andy Grewal: King v. Burwell: Where Were the Tax Professor?
Pepp. L. Rev. 48 (2015)
U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-08

King v. Burwell drew unusually wide attention for a tax case. Members of the public, the mainstream media, health care professionals, Washington think tanks, and constitutional, administrative, and health law professors, to name a few groups, all debated the merits of the challengers’ arguments. Everyone, it seems, had something to say about the case — except tax professors.

This short contribution to Pepperdine Law Review’s Tax Law Symposium explores three potential reasons for the tax professoriate's reticence. It concludes that none of those reasons withstand scrutiny and going forward, tax professors should play a more active role in cases like this.

Jason Rantanen and Lee Petherbridge: Inequitable Conduct and Patent Misuse
Research Handbook on the Economics of Intellectual Property Law, P. Menell, D. Schwartz & B. Depoorter (eds), Edward Elgar Publishing, Forthcoming
U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-09

Most conceptions of the patent law envision a system of rules that seek to balance private rights against public interests that include promoting innovation, removing impediments to competition, and making new and useful information broadly available. Here, we review recent insights into two patent doctrines that are deeply infused with this tension: inequitable conduct and patent misuse.

#firstiowa: First Iowa, Then Anywhere

First Iowa, then Anywhere Video Project

An Iowa Law education opens doors near and far. As graduates of the nation’s oldest law school in continuous operation west of the Mississippi River, many of our students choose to stay and serve here in the Hawkeye State, making a difference in the lives of Iowans from all walks of life.  Many others take the Iowa name to communities and workplaces far beyond Iowa’s borders.  Whether they remain in Iowa or go elsewhere, and whether they put their degrees to work as private attorneys, legislators, judges, prosecutors, public defenders, community leaders, counsel for small nonprofits or large Fortune 500 companies, or something else, Iowa Law’s graduates make us proud.

This video and these interviews tell the stories of a few of our alumni.  For the next few weeks and months, we'll keep releasing new interviews from this year’s featured cities—New York, Atlanta, and Phoenix—as well as sharing stories about our Hometown Hawkeyes.

To learn more and view videos from last year's project, go to

Year 1

The foundation of your career

Personal Attention    Writing Faculty    Faculty Student Ratio

Building legal skills, learning to think like a lawyer, gaining the tools to practice with integrity.

In your first year, we emphasize essential writing skills, analytical thinking, and a sharpened understanding of the role of legal institutions. You’ll take full advantage of our being one of the few law schools in the nation with a full-time legal writing faculty. 

First-year students will have two, small-section courses each semester with the professors in our Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research department. These classes deliver intensive, individualized instruction, with three to six conferences per term devoted to your legal writing projects.

Year 2

Specialize in your interests

Citizen Lawyer    Moot Court    Externships

Develop your knowledge, with an expanded focus on the areas of law you’re most drawn to. The experts are here.
In your second year, you’ll begin to gravitate toward the areas that interest you most. Our faculty are experts across the legal spectrum, and every aspect of modern law practice is covered, including international and comparative law.
Iowa Law’s Citizen Lawyer Program offers a wide variety of opportunities for pro bono work, community service, and philanthropic projects. Another way students extend their education beyond the classroom, developing professional skills is through a variety of moot court competitions—and Iowa consistently prepares winning moot court teams.
In our externship program, we place students in a variety of legal settings. Externships are the best preparation for your career, and a great way to make professional contacts. In fact, many students’ first job after graduating is one that began as an externship.

Year 3

They call you "Counselor"

Law Review    Legal Clinic    Study Abroad

Build your professional identity and accumulate deep experience in a supportive environment. Practice makes practitioners.
By the time you reach your third year, you’ll take advantage of an array of opportunities, putting into practice the cutting-edge legal theory and core doctrinal concepts you’ve mastered in your first two years. Perhaps you’ll work in the “Bullpen” in our legal clinic. Every year our students provide thousands of hours to underserved clients and other special-needs populations, representing clients and honing their legal skills under close faculty supervision.
Iowa Law is also home to four student-run law journals. Many students write for a journal during their second year and accept board positions during their third year.