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Get to know … Jason Smathers, 3L

Jason Smathers, 3L
Racine, Wisconsin

Unlike many of his Iowa Law peers, a legal career was not the first choice for Jason Smathers.

“I had been a reporter covering the Wisconsin state capitol for a few years prior to this,” says Smathers. “Part of my reporting meant covering every lawsuit against the state or by the state. After poring over brief after brief to explain their meaning to readers, I thought that I’d rather be writing them rather than just writing about them.”

That decision brought Smathers to the University of Iowa College of Law. During his time at Iowa, Smathers has served as Executive Editor for the Journal of Corporation Law and as an Iowa Student Bar Association representative. He’s also done pro bono work for the Cedar Rapids Public Defender’s Office and the Iowa Society of Health Attorneys.

Smathers says he describes Iowa Law as a diverse, tight-knit community.

“With a smaller class, it’s a more intimate group who knows how to work together rather than against each other,” he says. “Also, people come from all over the country, not just Iowa. Those different perspectives really help, in class and out.”

Though he intends to focus on commercial litigation after graduation, Smathers says his favorite class has been Health Law.

“It took disparate parts of the law from nearly every discipline and tried to tie it together to the larger healthcare industry while also giving students a forum to discuss weighty moral and philosophical issues,” he says. “It’s a whirlwind, but a refreshing one.”

Smathers says his biggest achievement so far in law school was competing in Iowa's Stephenson Mock Trial Competition and making Iowa's Traveling Mock Trial Team, which will compete in Lincoln in February.

“The fact is, litigation is what I will be doing -- in one form or another -- when I graduate” he says, “so to be able to test my skills and have some validation that I am on the right path is the best thing I could ask for heading into my career.”

Of course, as with his 3L peers, the bar exam awaits Smathers. However, he says he’s looking forward to preparing for the bar exam, which will allow him to spend time with his wife, Alex, and son, Will, back in Wisconsin.

Smathers spent the past two summers interning for Husch Blackwell in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He plans to return to Husch Blackwell after graduation.

Jason Smathers