Barbara Rodriguez (22JD) joins a list of Iowa Law alumni who have won this prestigious legal writing award.
Thursday, April 13, 2023

The University of Iowa College of Law is thrilled to announce that Barbara (Barbi) Rodriguez (22JD) has been awarded the 2023 “Law360 Distinguished Legal Writing Award" by the Burton Awards for her note published in the Iowa Law Review titled, “In the Interest of Justice: Presuming Prejudice When the Right to Counsel in Removal Proceedings Is Denied.”

Barbi Rodriguez (22JD), winner of the Law360 Distinguished Legal Writing Awards
Barbi Rodriguez (22JD), winner of the Law360 Distinguished Legal Writing Award.

This prestigious recognition is granted in association with the Library of Congress, presented by lead sponsor Law360, and co-sponsored by the American Bar Association. Since 1999, the Burton Awards have been praising excellence in the legal profession, including writing, reform, public service and interest, regulatory innovation, and lifetime achievements.

According to William Burton, the founder and chair of the awards program, "The winners are truly exemplary, technically skilled, and effective writers. The authors have set a new and even higher standard of excellence."

Only 25 writers were selected from nominations submitted by the nation's top law schools. The committee responsible for the selection process included judges and law school professors from esteemed institutions such as Harvard Law School, Georgetown Law Center, and UC Berkeley Law School.

"The winners are truly exemplary, technically skilled, and effective writers. The authors have set a new and even higher standard of excellence." - William Burton, founder & chair of The Burton Awards

Rodriguez's exceptional achievement and continued contributions to the field of legal writing bring us great pride. Known as the "Writing Law School,” Iowa Law has long been a pioneer in legal writing education. Our program invests in full-time writing faculty, which is a rarity among top-tier law schools. Dean Kevin Washburn has made it a top priority to expand and enhance the program to prepare our students to become accomplished legal writers and advocates who make a meaningful impact in their careers.

Rodriguez not only published legal scholarship in her area of interest while at Iowa Law, but also participated in meaningful hands-on learning experiences to sharpen her advocacy skills. During her final semester of law school, Rodriguez participated in the New York Pro Bono Scholars Program (NYPBSP). This innovative program equips students with practical skills to excel in their legal careers, all while providing much-needed aid to those in need. As a result, graduates can accelerate their admission to the NY bar and enter the professional world with a competitive edge.

After graduating from Iowa Law in 2022, Rodriguez embarked on a career-defining journey as a clerk for the United States District Court of the Eastern District of New York. Her time in this role has further honed her writing skills and provided invaluable legal experience. Rodriguez intends to return to Iowa and contribute her exceptional talents to our community by securing a clerkship with the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

With her expertise in legal writing and exceptional knowledge of the law, Rodriguez is well-equipped to make a significant impact in the legal profession and serve as a remarkable role model for current students.

Since the year 2000, eight Iowa Law graduates have received the “Law360 Distinguished Legal Writing Award" for their excellence in writing:

2023: Barbara Rodriguez
Lisa C. Castillo

Zane A. Umsted

Walter S. Gindin

Jacob E. Meusch

Matthew J. Donnelly

Samuel Langholz

Sharone Levy

View the complete list of award recipients here.