Student Authors Discuss the Motivation Behind Their Recent Publications

Pence Law Library Reading Room
Pence Law Library Reading Room


This spring, AUWCL celebrated 96 student authors who were published in a wide variety of legal journals and briefs. The 12th Annual Student Authors reception was a moment for the law school to celebrate the accomplishments of all our student authors. AUWCL News took the opportunity to ask just a few of them what motivated them to delve into the innovative topics that led to their being published as law students.

John Zipp

John Zipp, a 3L, wrote an article entitled, "The Road Will Never Be the Same: A Reexamination of Tort Liability for Autonomous Vehicles,” which was selected for publication in the Transportation Law Journal. Zipp said he wanted to write about a topic he believed would be an “emerging legal battleground.” While he discovered through early research there was already a lot written about autonomous vehicles, he chose to write about the liability framework of these vehicles because he believed he could provide a different approach to the conversation. Zipp noted there was no legal precedent for many of the potential issues, specifically because these vehicles are not yet available to the public. This is how he decided on the angle of proposing what the liability framework should, instead of could, look like. Writing about autonomous vehicles allowed him to incorporate his love for torts into a subject that he found to be exciting and yet still undefined. He hopes his article will have an impact on the way people perceive this new technology.

“I am honored that my article was selected for publication,” said Zipp. “It is truly rewarding to know that someone appreciated the amount of work I devoted to writing this article. It is also very exciting to know that my article has the potential to play a role in shaping people’s perceptions of autonomous vehicles.”

Matt Reeder

Matt Reeder, an LL.M. student, began writing his articles based on a question he has often asked himself as a trial lawyer: how does this law, regulation, or policy affect individual human behavior? Reeder’s article, “You can't Stop What You Can't See: Complimentary Risk Mitigation Through Compensation Disclosure" is being published by the William & Mary Business Law Review, and his second article, "Proceeding Legally: Clarifying the SEC/Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Protections" was selected for publication by the Harvard Business Law Review.

In both articles, Reeder observed that the central goal of the particular provision he was examining sought to protect consumers by increasing transparency, encouraging disclosure, and aligning incentives to reward desired behaviors. However, he found the realities of corporate governance structures, the pull of economic forces, and the courts' interpretation of the law to not align with this original intent. This encouraged him to write about a suggestion that in his view better shapes the law to affect individual behavior in a way that protects both consumers and the market.

“Being published during law school is, to me, something that every student should aspire to,” said Reeder. “Because the law is both a profession and a discipline, theory and practice are inexorably linked. Consequently, each time we offer advice, make an argument, or write an article, we join the ongoing work of lawmakers, courts, and attorneys to shape the law.”

Brooke Hofhenke

Brooke Hofhenke, a 3L, wrote her article, "The Fourth Amendment in the Coming Drone Age" based on a conversation with Professor Jennifer Daskal, her Criminal Procedure professor at the time. While talking about the Fourth Amendment she brought up the question of drones and the potential issues surrounding how they fit into this area of the law. Professor Daskal convinced her that this would be an interesting question that would make a great topic to write on. Her article was selected for publication in the Dartmouth Law Journal.  

“At the point [I started writing] I already had a different topic in mind,” said Hofhenke. “But after that conversation I conducted a bunch of research and switched my topic. I'm excited to get published and can't wait for it to come out!”




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