June T. Tai
Director, Field Placement Programs
Joined Iowa Law: August 2016
Hometown: Arcadia, California
J.D., University of Chicago Law School
B.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of California at Berkeley
What did you do before joining Iowa Law? Prior to joining the College of Law in 2016, I served as in-house counsel for John Deere and practiced at two different Bay Area law firms. My practice there focused on civil litigation, particularly patent and other intellectual property disputes.
At Deere, I handled litigation and supported various business units. I worked with the Global Crop Harvesting, Crop Care, Hay & Forage, Power Systems, and many other parts of the company. It was a tremendous opportunity to learn about the products Deere makes - which was fascinating to me since I have an engineering background - and about farming and farming practices in Iowa and all over the world.
Describe your role at the university. As the director of the field placement program, I help students identify educational experiences outside of the classroom that involve the performance of legal work in government or non-profit agencies, state and federal judges’ chambers, as well as in a limited number of private practice and corporate settings. Many of our placements are in Iowa, but students also participate in placements elsewhere in the United States or even internationally.
Courses: I teach one of the field placement seminars. Students in the field placement program both spend time in their placement doing legal work and participate in a seminar. The seminar I teach covers various lawyering skills, such as working with clients, and it also supports students as they develop the skill of active learning while in practice.
What do you like most about the legal profession? As a lawyer with training as an engineer, I have enjoyed the opportunity to learn about different industries and inventions. Every case is about a different technology, so you get to see all the new and exciting things happening and learn about them in depth.
What do you enjoy most about working in a higher education/law school setting? I enjoy working with and talking with students. They’re energetic and excited about their plans for their careers. It’s very rewarding to talk with them and help them get started in their careers.
What’s your favorite book, or what are you reading right now & why do you enjoy it? I don't think I have a favorite book, but I love British mysteries. I did recently read “The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend” by Katarina Bivald. It was a fun book about reading other books (another genre I enjoy) and it was set in Iowa. Actually, it was partly interesting because the author lives in Sweden and had never been to the U.S. at the time she wrote the book, so her Iowa was based on the Iowa she had read about in books.
Name a few of your favorite things.
- I spend way too much time thinking about food. I like to eat at restaurants and read cookbooks.
- I’m crafty – I like to sew and reupholster furniture so I spend a lot of time in thrift shops finding furniture and trying to revive it. I quilt and knit too.
Is there anything else you want alums to know about you? As I work on expanding our Field Placement Program, I'd love to hear from alumni about the types of experiential skills training they have benefited from most in their careers.