Before graduating from law school, Austin Mouw, LW'15, had already gained significant experience in the courtroom. His 3L year Mouw won two cases before the Court of Appeals and a case before the Iowa Supreme Court.
Mouw called the cases the defining moments of his Drake Law career.
"In my opinion you get out of law school what you put into it," he said. "Drake provides its students with numerous opportunities to get real-world experience. I was involved in many internships that were litigation specific, so I was able to practice those skills and receive one-on-one mentoring about what to do."
Mouw, a recipient of the Samuel Logue Scholarship, was offered the opportunity to argue before the Iowa Supreme Court through an internship with the Appellate Defenders Office. While the case provided Mouw with significant professional experience, it also affected Iowa law.
Mouw was representing Archaletta Young. Young's sentence for theft in 2012 was enhanced to an aggravated misdemeanor because of a prior misdemeanor for which she pleaded guilty without the assistance of an attorney. The Iowa Supreme Court ruled that Young's earlier conviction could not be used as the basis for the enhanced charge because it occurred without the benefit of counsel.
The decision impacts practicing law in Iowa because it will require prosecutors to carefully consider when to proceed with enhancements based on prior offenses and judges to document whether people who plead guilty to misdemeanors have waived their right to counsel, said Drake University law professor Bob Rigg.
"Not many law students can claim that they argued a case that significantly changed the law in a jurisdiction," Rigg said.
Mouw has leveraged his Drake Law experiences into job opportunities after graduation. He completed a clerkship for the judicial branch in Iowa and recently began a job with Gislason & Hunter LLP in Des Moines.
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