Thursday, May 16, 2024

The University of Iowa College of Law is pleased to announce that Samantha Barbas will join the Iowa Law School faculty as the Aliber Family Chair in Law. Her appointment will begin in August 2024. 

Samantha Barbas headshot

Barbas, who earned her law degree from Stanford University in 2010, also holds a PhD in history from the University of California, Berkeley. She is a prominent scholar and presenter of legal and media history—with a focus on journalism, privacy, defamation, and the First Amendment—and the award-winning author of seven full-length books. Barbas received the Public Scholar Award from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2020.

Her most recent book, Actual Malice: Civil Rights and Freedom of the Press in New York Times v. Sullivan (University of California Press), made The New Yorker’s list of the best books of 2023, among other critical accolades. Actual Malice brings fresh insights and analysis in examining New York Times v. Sullivan, a historic 1964 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that provided key protections for news organizations against libel lawsuits. Her previous book, Newsworthy: The Supreme Court Battle Over Privacy and Press Freedom (Stanford University Press, 2017), won a silver medal in the U.S. History category of the Independent Publisher Book Award.

The University of Iowa is known nationwide as the “Writing University,” because of its storied history and continued production of world-class writers and communicators in all genres. Iowa Law—the “Writing Law School”—embraces that mission. Whereas many law schools assign legal writing courses to teaching assistants and adjunct instructors, Iowa Law employs six full-time professors as writing teachers and mentors. 

“As a writer and book author,” Barbas said, “I’m thrilled to be joining the writing law school and one of the world's premier universities for writing.”

Barbas comes to Iowa Law from the University at Buffalo School of Law in Buffalo, New York, where she joined the faculty in 2011. Prior to joining Buffalo, she clerked for Judge Richard Clifton, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.