University of Iowa
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Get to Know: Christina Bohannan

Christina Bohannan
Professor, Lauridsen Family Fellow in Law, and Director of Master of Studies in Law program

At the UI since: 
I have been at the University of Iowa for 16 years.

I think of my hometown as Arcadia, Florida, that’s where I grew up. It’s a very small town in rural Florida.    

Alma Mater:
BS, University of Florida, 1994
JD, University of Florida, 1997

What did you do before joining Iowa Law? Before joining Iowa Law, I clerked for the 11th circuit court of appeals in Montgomery, Alabama. 

Describe your role at the university. In the law school, I teach variety of classes including torts, copyright law, and an advanced course called intellectual property advocacy where I supervise students who enter into intellectual property moot court competitions around the country. I’m also the director of the Master of Studies in Law (MSL) program, which allows people who don’t want to practice law get exposure to law in a way that can help them advance in other career paths that intersect with law. 

I’m also very involved in faculty governance. At the university level, I was faculty senate president last year, and I’m past president this year. I’m also a member of the university’s strategic implementation team and chair a number of other committees around the university.

What do you enjoy most about your involvement with faculty senate? I enjoy working with students and my role in faculty senate allows me to help undergraduate students in a completely different way than teaching. We deal with a lot of undergraduate student issues in faculty senate, and I enjoy that part of the work because — for me — a college education was really transformative. I was the first person in my family of any generation to go to college and neither of my parents graduated from high school. When I think about how different my life is now, with a college of education and a legal education, there’s just no comparison — not only in terms of economic security, but the way I think about the opportunities that are available to me and my day to day life. The value of college is very clear and significant to me and I like being involved in giving that opportunity to all kinds of people.

What does your scholarship entail? Most of my current scholarship is in intellectual property law, the First Amendment, and competition law.

How did you decide to join the legal profession? I studied engineering as an undergraduate student and worked as an engineer for a time at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which involved some regulatory work. At some point during that experience, I decided that I wanted to use the analytical thinking skills I had honed through engineering by applying them to something that was more focused on people and policy and law struck me as the right combination of a way to use rigorous, analytical thinking but also working with policy and justice.

What makes you passionate about your work? The idea of giving access to higher education to all kinds of people. The idea of opening their minds to things that they haven’t experienced before, and giving them the opportunities that come with that kind of training is really exciting to me. I care deeply about the affordability and accessibility of higher education and legal education as well. 

What do you enjoy most about working in higher education? I really love teaching. I get to know my students very well and often stay in touch with them throughout their careers and lives. I go to their weddings, I get photos of their children, I hear from them when they’re doing well, and I hear from them when they have setbacks. For me, teaching is a very personal job and I enjoy that. It’s one of the things that drives me. 

What’s your favorite book, or what are you reading right now & why do you enjoy it? I like to read a lot of science and social science outside of law. I’m really interested in behavioral and cognitive science. I like Jonathan Franzen as a fiction writer. I also really enjoy a good mystery. 

Name a few of your favorite things.

  • The NYT Crossword
  • I am currently watching Glee with my daughter
  • Mystery novels
  • I like exercise, I do workout and I like to run
  • Anything with chocolate 
Christina Bohannan