When third-year law student Lauren Knudson says she bleeds black and gold, she means it. As a fourth-generation University of Iowa student, some of her earliest memories take place on Melrose Avenue during crisp fall days cheering on the Hawkeye football team. She has attended an astounding 90+ Iowa football games in her life, and her family has been tailgating in the same spot for 40 years. Talk about tradition!
Knudson also shares the title of Iowa Law student with her grandfather, who received his business and law degrees from the university. Besides teaching her the importance of cheering loud in Kinnick, her grandfather modeled the excellence of the legal profession. He exemplified what it looked like to spend a whole career learning and helping people.
Knudson went to high school right down the road from the law school at Iowa City West High School. She made a big jump to the Philadelphia area for undergrad where she attended Swarthmore College, studying political science and economics. Missing the Midwest, she returned to Iowa for law school. It was during her undergraduate studies when she unexpectedly fell in love with economics, which is the foundation that led her to pursue a career in antitrust law.
“I like antitrust because it is grounded in economic theory and involves complex litigation and interesting clients.” When Knudson spent her 1L summer at the office of the Attorney General of Colorado, she worked on as many antitrust projects as she could find. By the end of the summer, she was almost certain she wanted to do antitrust law, and after taking the law school’s antitrust class that fall, her interest was solidified.
Before she heads out to Washington D.C. to join Mayer Brown’s litigation team with a focus on antitrust after graduation, she will be spending a year as a law clerk for Senior Judge Michael J. Melloy of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. This is especially exciting for Knudson who enjoys, and has plenty of experience with, research and writing.
As editor-in-chief of The Iowa Law Review and of her undergraduate student newspaper, Knudson is no rookie to the editing and publication process. Both positions have given her the opportunity to hone her leadership skills and learn about different topics that she would never read about on her own. Not only does Knudson manage the 12th nationally ranked law journal in the country, but she also published a piece of her own as a student writer, Stalking in the Grocery Aisles: Using Section 5 of the FTC Act to Curtail Big Data Driven Price Discrimination.
“I joined law review because I wanted to feel more connected to the school. I think right when the pandemic was hitting, it would’ve been really easy to feel like this is just a place I go to school and not something that I'm a part of.” Knudson wanted more from her law school experience. She followed that desire to get plugged-in, explaining that law review is “a great opportunity to get to know people and contribute to the Iowa Law community.”
Incidentally, that community is what initially drew her to Iowa Law. “I wanted a school that was academically focused but not overly, outwardly competitive.” Iowa was the perfect fit. “I explain the culture as externally versus internally competitive. Iowa law students are internally competitive; they want to do well for themselves, and they want to succeed, which is something I want to be around. But there isn’t external competition between students.”
In addition to her classmates, Knudson notes a special appreciation for professors who have supported her. “I would not have the clerkship or the job I have without the support of the Iowa Law faculty.” The tight-knit community of Iowa Law allows “the professors to get to know the students and work hard to make sure they succeed.”
Luckily for Knudson, she has another fall season to cheer on the black and gold in Kinnick stadium before she makes her way out east. With deep roots planted in Iowa City, it takes a special opportunity to pull Knudson away from the beloved Hawkeyes. “I always said that to get me to move out of the Midwest, you would have to give me a job that I can't get in the Midwest,” and with excitement Knudson states, “I think I found that job.”