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Iowa Law Students and Staff Honored at Hancher Finkbine Dinner

Nancy Jones receives Hancher Finkbine Medallion from Dean Agrawal and President Harreld

We are proud of our Finkbine honorees from Iowa Law! Congrats to: Devan Rittler ('17) and Thomas Laehn ('17) who each received a Distinguished Student Leader Award, Graduate/Professional and to the Director of our Writing Resource Center, Nancy L. Jones, who received the Hancher-Finkbine Staff Medallion.

Devan Rittler receives Distinguished Student Leader AwardDevan Rittler, Class of 2017
Distinguished Student Leader Award, Graduate/Professional

Devan Rittler is pursuing a JD at the UI College of Law. She is the editor in chief of the Journal of Gender, Race & Justice and has been an active volunteer with the Equal Justice Foundation, serving as the 2016 auction co-chair to plan the college’s main fundraiser to support students in unpaid public-interest positions. The event raised more than $14,000. Rittler has also volunteered her legal skills to aid community members in need and worked with a team of fellow volunteers to develop and organize presentations to educate community members about recent developments in immigration policy. In addition, Rittler volunteered with the Wrongful Convictions Unit of the Iowa State Public Defender and edited online educational articles for clients of Iowa Legal Aid. She’s also a regular volunteer with various community organizations, including the North Liberty Community Pantry and the Johnson County Crisis Center.

Thomas Laehn receives Distinguished Student Leader AwardThomas Laehn, Class of 2017
Distinguished Student Leader Award, Graduate/Professional

Thomas Laehn is pursuing a JD at the University of Iowa College of Law. In 2016, Thomas was named Top Overall Advocate following the law school’s annual Van Oosterhout-Baskerville Moot Court Competition. The distinction was based on both the quality of his written brief, which he submitted prior to the competition, and his performance in a series of oral arguments. He was one of four students selected to participate as a student advocate in the university’s 2016 Supreme Court Day event. As a student advocate, Thomas argued a mock case before the actual justices on the Iowa Supreme Court. He also served as a member of the law school’s six-member national moot court team. In addition to his involvement in moot court competitions, he served as president of the University of Iowa College of Law’s Federalist Society during the course of the 2016–17 academic year and oversaw the society’s 2016–17 speaker series. During his time in law school, Thomas has published academic articles in both a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal and a university law review.

Nancy Jones receives Hancher Finkbine Medallion from Dean Agrawal and President HarreldNancy L. Jones
Hancher-Finkbine Staff Medallion

Nancy L. Jones is director of the Writing Resource Center at the UI College of Law. As the longest-serving staff member teaching in the Hubbard Law School Preparation Program, Jones is committed to students and supporting their well-being and professional development. In 1990, she created the first law-based writing resource center in the country, a model now used by numerous law schools. Through a highly effective professional development program, Jones teaches her staff to be educators to help students become more effective and sensitive writers so they can anticipate what their audience needs to know, to imagine themselves in shoes of their client, and to consider what opposing counsel will address. In addition to supporting students on campus, she developed an online legal writing course for student externs spending summers outside of Iowa City. Jones remains active in the national nonprofit organization the Legal Writing Institute and has published and presented numerous articles on writing for legally trained audiences.

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