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Get to Know: June Tai

June T. Tai Director, Field Placement Programs

Joined Iowa Law: August 2016

Hometown: Arcadia, California

Alma Mater: 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. In private practice, I focused on complex civil litigation, particularly patent and other intellectual property disputes.

At Deere, I managed litigation and supported various business units. It was a tremendous opportunity to learn about the products Deere makes, and about farming in Iowa and all over the world. This was fascinating to me since I have an engineering background.

Describe your role at the university. As the director of the field placement program, I help students identify educational experiences outside of the classroom. Most of our students work in government or non-profit agencies or judges’ chambers, but we are also developing a corporate counsel externship program to provide more opportunities for transactional skills training. Many of our field placements are in Iowa, but students can also participate in semester away placements. We have had students spend semesters in California, Colorado, and New York --- and we are launching a semester-away in DC this Fall. Students seeking to gain experience in international law have also pursued field placements in the Hague and in Kosovo.

Courses: I teach some 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 learning from practice.

This past spring, I co-taught a seminar on contract drafting. As a litigator, it was a great opportunity to develop a course focused on how to think and write as a proactive business attorney.

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. When I was in private practice, every case gave me a chance to talk with engineers working on new and cutting edge innovations. As an in-house attorney, I worked closely with product development teams. Lawyers are often well positioned to engage in systems thinking – it’s an interdisciplinary role that gives you a bigger picture of a client’s situation so that you can solve problems and improve outcomes.

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.

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 and am always picking up new projects. Recently, I have been knitting, but in the past, I have done everything from sewing to printmaking to reupholstering furniture.

Is there anything else you want alums to know about you? As I develop the 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.

June Tai