Lens' interdisciplinary research encompasses multiple legal facets including health law, tort law, remedies, bioethics, informed consent, criminal law, and reproductive rights.
Tuesday, April 23, 2024

The University of Iowa College of Law is pleased to welcome alumna Jill Wieber Lens to the faculty. Lens, who will start her appointment in August 2024, will serve as the Dorothy M. Willie Professor in Excellence. 

Jill Wieber Lens Headshot

Lens is a leading legal expert on stillbirth, defined as pregnancy loss after 20 weeks of pregnancy. She studies the ways in which federal and state laws contribute to the United States’ stagnant stillbirth rate, shape the experience of stillbirth for birthing parents, and define broader cultural conceptions of stillbirth. Her work is inspired by her son Caleb’s stillbirth in 2017 when Lens was 37 weeks pregnant. 

Encompassing multiple legal contexts—including health law; public health law; tort law; remedies law; bioethics principles and informed consent law; reproductive justice and reproductive rights law; and criminal law—Lens’s research is interdisciplinary, often relying on medical studies and empirical studies of parents after stillbirth. Her work often highlights the increased risk of stillbirth faced by marginalized persons and examines the relationship between unintended pregnancy loss and abortion rights. 

After earning her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin—Madison, Lens graduated with highest distinction and Order of the Coif from Iowa Law in 2005. She spent several years in St. Louis practicing commercial and appellate litigation before being appointed to the faculty at Baylor University School of Law. In 2018, she joined the University of Arkansas School of Law, where she presently serves as the Robert A. Leflar Professor of Law and Associate Dean of Research and Faculty Development. She has authored numerous scholarly articles and book chapters. Her recent work has appeared in the Michigan Law Review, Georgetown Law Journal, Vanderbilt Law Review, and U.C. Davis Law Review, and her popular writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, and Time.

Lens is delighted to return to her alma mater.

“Iowa is a great school,” she said. “The faculty research is amazing. I’m really looking forward to possible interdisciplinary opportunities with the Carver College of Medicine and the College of Public Health.”

The Dorothy M. Willie Professorship in Excellence was made possible by financial donations to the UI Center for Advancement from the late Dorothy M. and Ben “BV” Willie of Iowa City.