Akron Law Students Step Up with Scholarly Writing


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Associate Professor Vera Korzun and 3L Student John Skakun

At least seven University of Akron School of Law students have had papers accepted for publication by scholarly journals this school year.

“These papers represent a huge achievement for our students,” said Associate Professor Vera Korzun, director of faculty research & development. “Writing a scholarly paper requires a substantial research and time commitment. Publishing is also very difficult because many law reviews won’t even consider student papers. In all my years of teaching, I can’t recall a time when so many of our students have had articles accepted for publication by scholarly journals.”

Third year (3L) student Jasmine Oesterling’s paper "'I Can't Breathe': A Comparison of Racial Inequity and Police Brutality Observed in France and the United States" was published in the spring 2024 issue of the DePaul Journal for Social Justice.

3L Abby Klaus’s paper "From Coat Hangers to Prison Bars: A Comparative Abortion Law Overview,” a comparative analysis of abortion laws in the United States and the European Union, will be published in Volume 17 of Albany’s Government Law Review.

Oesterling and Klaus were both inspired to write a comparative law paper while attending a class called Race and Social Justice Lawyering during a three-week study abroad program at the law school at Paris Nanterre University last summer.

“When we got back to school in the fall, we saw a post from Professor Korzun about a call for scholarly articles from the Younger Comparativists Committee of the American Society of Comparative Law, and that sparked the idea of writing a paper,” Klaus said. “So, we both signed up to do an individual comparative studies and research project.”

3L John Skakun’s paper “The Efficiency of International Efforts and Legal Alternatives to Protect the Laurentian Great Lakes and Alleviate North American Water Insecurity in Our Warming World” will be the lead article in Volume 30, Issue 1 of the Buffalo Environmental Law Journal.

“I started working on this article in Professor Korzun's International Law class last semester,” Skakun said. “I work in environmental law and policy in the office of Akron Mayor Shammas Malik, so I knew I wanted to do something in the environmental and sustainability realm. A colleague encouraged me to explore Great Lakes water diversions.”

Skakun said he initially took a protectionist position in the paper.

“However, after further research, I determined that a protectionist policy would actually heighten tensions between regions, leading to potential conflict. My paper attempts to quell perceived water insecurities in North America and alleviate tensions among water-rich and water-poor regions through the lens of racial equity, resource co-ownership and environmental justice.”

More recently, Skakun received an offer from the Georgetown Environmental Law Review to publish a second article he wrote this year titled "Great Lakes Polycentric Governance: Governing the Great Lakes as an Urban Commons."

Vera Korzun advised Oesterling, Klaus and Skakun on their papers. 

3L Brendan Mohan has won two writing competitions and had several papers selected for publication. 

In October, he won the 2023 Alvin D. Lurie Memorial Award for his paper “Dobbs v. Employee Benefits: Major Questions Left After the Landmark Decision.” It was published by The American College of Employee Benefits Counsel (ACEBC) and is forthcoming in Saint Louis Law's ABA Journal of Labor & Employment Law. Emeritus Professor Martin Belsky was his faculty advisor.

In January, Mohan’s article "Beyond the Ban: One Major Challenge Facing the FTC Non-Compete Rule" received first place in the New York State Bar Association's Dr. Emanuel Stein and Kenneth Stein Memorial Law Student Writing Competition. It was recently published in Akron Law’s ConLawNOW and will also be published by the New York State Bar Association's Labor and Employment Journal. The article was included in the 2024 Akron IP Symposium as CLE material.

Mohan has also published a few pieces with the Federal Bar Association and is still in the running for several national writing competitions and publications.

“I am hoping that I will have won a few more writing competitions before I graduate in May,” he said.

Mohan will join the legal department at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in August as its 2024 Legal Fellow.

3L Halle Marchetta’s paper “Bringing a Knife to a Gun Fight, A Cruel and Unusual Punishment" is being published by the Firearms Research Center at the University of Wyoming College of Law. The paper argues that widespread state statutes banning all convicted felons from possessing firearms, without any consideration of their underlying charge, unconstitutionally infringes on their Second Amendment rights and are in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

“My Second Amendment Law instructor, Adjunct Professor Joseph Muha, sent my final paper to George Mocsary, the author of our textbook, and he made me an offer to publish it,” Marchetta said. Mocsary is professor of law at the University of Wyoming and co-founder and director of Firearms Research Center. He spoke at Akron Law in 2022.

For more about students who are getting published see:

Akron Law student takes first place in IP writing competition

National Jurist names 2L a law student of the year


Jasmine Oesterling and Abby Klaus

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Brendan Mohan

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Halle Marchetta