University of Iowa
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Jon Garvin ( Class of 2017)

Hometown: West Des Moines, IA

Undergraduate school and major: James Madison College of Public Affairs at Michigan State University; B.A., Political Theory & Constitutional Democracy

Extra-curricular or co-curricular activities in which you were involved during law school:

Journal of Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems (Student writer 2L, Assoc. Editor 3L); Research Assistant for Prof. Hughes; Field Placement with U.S. Attorney’s Office, SDIA-Des Moines; 1L Appellate Advocacy.

What did you come to law school to become:

I had worked as a lobbyist for 5 years prior to law school and intended to use a law degree to either advance down that career track or transition to a job as Counsel in the Senate. My interests and goals changed quite a bit over the course of my 1L year

Current employer:

Federal Communications Commission, Enforcement Bureau


Washington, DC

Job title:

In March, I was asked to fill in as a Legal Advisor in the Office of the Enforcement Bureau Chief so currently my title is “Acting Legal Advisor, Enforcement Bureau” but my actual position is “Attorney, Spectrum Enforcement Division, Enforcement Bur

What is your pinnacle career goal:

Federal District Court Judge or U.S. Attorney.

Description of what you do:

In my current role as a front office Legal Advisor, I review the work of division staff attorneys for consistency with Commission/Bureau precedent, FCC Rules and the Communications Act (or other relevant statutes) prior to public release, advise the Bureau Chief and the relevant deputies about any novel or particularly sensitive potential legal (or political) issues in Bureau orders, subpoenas, consent decrees or investigations. I also keep track of half the Bureau’s cases and guide them through internal Commission approval processes.

As a staff attorney my job was to investigate potential violations of FCC rules regarding spectrum use, equipment marketing and certification, public safety networks, and unauthorized transmission/operation of radio frequency devices. As part of that process I drafted subpoenas and letters of inquiry, negotiated with targets and their counsel, and drafted notices of liability, forfeiture orders and consent decrees (settlement agreements). I also work with Asst. U.S. Attorneys on collections cases when targets don’t pay their forfeitures.

Your favorite part of your job:

One of the best things about working for the federal government is that you are thrust into a lead attorney role, where you are almost totally responsible for the cases assigned to you, quite quickly. As a staff attorney I really enjoyed the autonomy and discretion that I had in managing my cases and ultimately giving supervisors my recommendations. I liked that within a month of starting in September 2017, I had five full cases that were completely mine and that I would be responsible for resolving. It’s a great way to learn the law and build practice skills fast.

Your interests outside of work: Golf, cycling, exploring historical places and travelling with my fiance, reading (not enough fiction books, sadly), playing strategy board games, visiting new breweries, and watching college football and basketball.

What do you wish your 1L/2L/3L self knew about the job search:

I was very uptight and anxious about finding a job both summers and after law school (my offer for the FCC Attorney Honors Program didn’t come until April 26, 2017!). Law school is difficult and can be grueling even without the added pressure of the constant background job searching you have to do. So, I wish I’d have known (or if I did know had accepted as true) that not having an offer after 2L Summer or when (seemingly) all my classmates did was OK and it would all work out. Also, start applying to firms early and often, and rely less on OCI for private practice jobs.