Elias (3L) and Josiah (1L) from Mason City are launching their legal careers in Iowa and supporting each other along the way.
Thursday, October 19, 2023

The Wunderlich brothers of Mason City, Iowa, are all in on their home state—and the University of Iowa College of Law is all the better for it.

When Elias Wunderlich, the older of the two future attorneys graduated in 2011 with a degree in psychology from the University of Northern Iowa, he went to Nashville, Tennessee, mostly on a whim. That lasted a couple of years and brought a lot of fun memories working in the music business, including as a tour manager for recording artist Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors (not to mention meeting his wife). But it was no Iowa.

“I love Iowa,” Elias says. “I’m a very proud native Iowan. I’ve been all around the country, and there’s something special about Iowa. I feel like you can do something here and get noticed for it. Iowa’s an easy place to live, an easy place to realize your dreams, and the people are amazing.”

Elias had been kicking the idea of law school around for years, and he ended up enrolling at Iowa Law, where he’s now a third-year student.

Meanwhile, his brother Josiah had come to the UI—after earning his AA from North Iowa Area Community College—to finish out his undergraduate degree at the Tippie College of Business. He graduated in 2022, and then worked for a year and a half at a start-up called ClearCOGS, which helps restaurants reduce food waste; he began working with them for his senior capstone project and was their first full-time hire after he graduated. He loved the work and found it meaningful, but the law school seed had been planted.

 “About the time that Elias was applying to law schools, I was finishing up my undergrad,” Josiah remembers, “and as part of the core curriculum, you took a couple of law classes. I had a couple of great professors who taught employment law and business law, and I just loved those classes. They were two of my favorite classes in undergrad. So, I talked to those professors and to Elias, and that’s when I realized this might be something I want to do as well.”

Elias was encouraging and helped Josiah out with things like studying for the LSAT, looking at different schools, and what to expect as his search progressed.

“He was a great resource,” Josiah says of his older brother. “It took a lot of anxiety out of the process. I figured, I might as well take the LSAT and see how it goes.”

Spoiler alert: It went well. Josiah felt like law school was a viable option for him, and he applied to a number of schools. So why did he choose Iowa?

“It just made too much sense to stay here,” the now-first-year student says. “I’d done my undergrad here, and I really liked the educational atmosphere at Tippie and the commitment to education that Iowa has.” It felt like a “smooth and interconnected” pipeline leading from Tippie to Iowa Law.

And let’s face it—Iowa City is a great place to live. As Josiah says, “It’s a fun city. More fun than you would think based on how many people live here. It has a great community.”

A bonus is that Iowa City is just a short drive to Mason City, where he and Elias go regularly to hang out with their folks, four other siblings, and close-knit extended family.

Elias and Josiah have now firmly anchored the Wunderlich family in Iowa City and Iowa Law, and they love it. Elias will be starting as an associate attorney at the BrownWinick Law Firm in Des Moines after graduation. Josiah is keeping his options open, knowing that he will likely discover new and intriguing possibilities along the way. They know that their Iowa Law education and degree will have them prepared for anything they choose to take on. Most important, they love the collegial atmosphere at Iowa Law.  

“I’ve made a lot of great friends here,” Elias says, “It’s an excellent community and the faculty are really great.”

The Wunderlich brothers are lucky to have an outstanding law school on their home turf—and Iowa Law is lucky they’ve chosen to launch their legal careers here.