Claire Eichhorn highlights the unique learning experiences gained while working as a research assistant.
Friday, April 21, 2023

Rising third-year law student Claire Eichhorn improved her legal research and writing skills and gained invaluable mentorship while working as a research assistant for Dean Adrien Wing. 

Dean Wing is the associate dean for International and Comparative Law Programs and the Bessie Dutton Murray Professor at the University of Iowa College of Law. She serves as the director of the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights and the France Summer Abroad Program.

We spoke with Eichhorn to learn more about her experience. 

What motivated you to become a research assistant?

I first met Associate Dean Adrien Wing in 2019 when I visited Iowa for the annual Iowa Human Rights Research Conference. I admired her, and when I came to Iowa Law, I was interested in taking courses she taught and for the opportunity to work for her as a research assistant.

I took Dean Wing’s Sex-Based Discrimination course as a 1L elective and enjoyed the course topic and research for my presentation. Many of my undergraduate experiences and interests align with her research interests, so I decided I wanted to work with her. I was excited about the opportunity to work closely with Dean Wing.

What do you do in your role as a research assistant?

As an RA, I handle a variety of projects for Dean Wing. Some of those projects include proofreading forthcoming books and articles, researching topics for future projects, reading and summarizing relevant work for upcoming projects, assisting with syllabus preparation, helping Dean Wing prepare for forthcoming lectures and presentations, and putting together resources for the Center for Human Rights.

Dean Wing has her RAs select what projects they would like to participate in at the beginning of the semester. I usually pick projects that interest me or may help me learn about a cool new area of law.

What advice do you have for students considering a research assistantship?

Being a research assistant is rewarding and helps you continue improving your skills. It is such a valuable experience for bettering yourself and building relationships. I’ve loved working with Dean Wing this year and will continue to work for her next year.

Professors love the help but also love to watch students grow. I suggest looking for a professor whose interests align with yours, as it is a great way to get started in an area of law you are curious about. Be confident in tackling the complexity of the work, as you will quickly become immersed in the professor's world.

How has your relationship with Dean Wing positively impacted your law school experience?

Dean Wing has a close relationship with all of her research assistants and is an excellent mentor. She taught me a lot about being a better researcher and writer and also about being a good person and member of the legal profession. Dean Wing is very supportive and has made Iowa Law feel like home. She has supported me immensely and has guided me during my job search.

My relationship with Dean Wing has also opened the door to unique learning experiences. For example, Dean Wing worked to bring the Kenyan Delegation of Judges to Iowa City this fall, including the Chief Justice of the Kenyan Supreme Court. As her research assistant, I got to participate in the welcome dinner for the Delegation and assist the board throughout their time in Iowa City. It was so exciting to meet these important judges and their staff and learn more about Kenyan law and culture. 

Can you describe a specific project you worked on that you found particularly impactful?

I enjoyed working with Dean Wing on a project about women in international law. As part of that project, I read book chapters and wrote summaries to help Dean Wing brainstorm for her introductory chapter. It was super fun to dig into that area, learn about the topics, and see the result of what she presented and is now writing for that introduction. 

More recently, I worked on a project for the Global Engagement Program. Through my research and proposals, we are working to strengthen programming and support for international students at Iowa Law. I am excited to help make Iowa Law an excellent place for international students and cross-cultural exchange.