During her first-year of law school, Julia Harrison was looking for an opportunity to gain more exposure to business law. After thoroughly enjoying Business Associations, taught by Professor Yockey, she reached out about a research assistantship and was hired for her 2L year.
Professor Yockey studies corporate governance, organizational compliance, social enterprise, and higher education, and regularly works with law research assistants.
We caught up with Harrison to hear more about her work and the opportunities the position afforded her.
How has your experience impacted your career aspirations and enhanced your understanding of the legal field?
My experience as a research assistant has positively impacted my career aspirations and understanding of the legal field. I sought out Professor Yockey to become his research assistant because of my distinct interest in business/corporate law. Although, my favorite part of being a research assistant is the actual research I perform, regardless of the specific topic.
I have conducted research on a myriad of issues, including looking into corrupt family enterprises, researching recent direct/derivative shareholder lawsuits to update the Business Associations course materials, researching university governance/faculty senate structure at the "Big Ten" colleges and universities, completing a final edit to a law review article to be published, and even compiling a memo on how to start a podcast.
Not only has my interest in corporate/business law been nurtured—but I also found a love for legal research. My passion for legal research has shown me that I would enjoy a career in legal fields I did not previously consider, such as working as a judicial clerk or even becoming a professor one day.
How has your relationship with faculty positively impacted your law school experience?
Professor Yockey is the absolute best. He is incredibly kind, intelligent, and professional. Every student I speak to at the law school explains how much they love having him as a professor. To emphasize this, students selected Professor Yockey to receive the Collegiate Teaching Award in 2012.
I look forward to the assignments he asks me to work on, as his feedback is always encouraging. Being his research assistant has positively impacted my law school experience because of the relationship I fostered with such a beloved professor. I am fortunate to work with Professor Yockey.
Can you describe a project you found particularly rewarding or impactful?
Professor Yockey asked me to look into how we can incorporate materials on operating the business side of a law firm into the Iowa Law curriculum, as students have shown a lot of interest in this topic over the last few years.
Specifically, Professor Yockey wanted to understand if we could fit this material into business associations or create a seminar/intersession course focused on it. I looked into other classes offered at the law school and their curriculums, including reviewing syllabi and speaking to other students, and performed additional outside research to find books and articles relating to running the business side of a law firm.
From my findings, I recommended a seminar or intersession-style course to examine this topic. I enjoyed this assignment because it directly responds to students' interests like mine. If the law school develops this course or adds the material to an existing course, my research will benefit Iowa Law students in the future
How has your research assistant position supported your tuition expenses?
I am from California and received no financial aid to attend Iowa Law. However, when I discovered that Iowa Law had a research assistant program that awarded students with tuition aid, my decision to come to Iowa was easy. Aside from tuition, my health insurance is subsidized through my employment as a research assistant.
Having lowered law school expenses has made an enormous difference in my life, as I will graduate without significant debt.