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Jeff DeBeer Finds Law Review Experience Mirrors Life

When given the chance to submit an entry into the Law Review write-on competition two years ago, Jeff DeBeer ’12 saw the journal as an opportunity to improve upon his research and writing skills.

“I tried out for Law Review, in part, because I thought I could have done better in my legal research and writing class,” he said. “I wanted to improve.”

Not only was DeBeer invited to join the Law Review, but he had a case note published as an associate member during the 2010-11 school year. It analyzed the effect of U.S. v. Doss on the federal witness tampering statute, § 1512(b),

After enjoying his Law Review experience as a 2L, DeBeer wanted to continue contributing to the publication as a 3L student. Thus, last spring he submitted a statement of interest to announce his candidacy for editor-in-chief, and he was eventually elected by his peers to serve in that capacity during this 2011-12 year.

“I ran for editor-in-chief for several reasons,” DeBeer said. “One reason is that the editor-in-chief gets to be a part of every aspect of running the journal, so there is a lot of group work and collaborative problem solving with bright, motivated students. Also, the editor-in-chief gains a lot of substantive editing experience.”

While being editor-in-chief certainly requires a significant time commitment, the St. Louis native has found it to be a very positive and even “fun experience so far,” he said.

Just last month, the Law Review launched a new website, which DeBeer credits to the work of Kenneth Hirsh, Director, Law Library and Information Technology and Professor of Practice, and the library staff.

The 2009 University of Kentucky graduate was also instrumental in establishing the Law Review’s new alumni advisory board, which was born out of the idea of holding an annual Law Review alumni banquet – the first of which is being held March 8 at the Millennium Hotel downtown.

DeBeer, a former member of the College’s Student Court, is also a member of the Trial Practice Competition Team and is a student member of the Inn of Court.

Of course, DeBeer spends most of his time outside the classroom in the third-floor Law Review office, working towards publishing the latest volume of the Cincinnati Law Review.

For the former UK political science major, getting the opportunity to work on Law Review to publish something that will be distributed to the legal community is a unique experience, unlike the typical submission of a term paper, DeBeer said. “When you’re putting your words, your opinions, your voice out (there), the level of detail and diligence required to make sure things are done properly mirrors what students on Law Review will have to do as attorneys,” DeBeer said. “The experiences gained while working on Law Review carry over into the student’s legal careers.”

DeBeer, who worked for a family law judge in Batavia and at the Northern Kentucky office of a Cleveland-based civil defense firm the last two summers, respectively, said he has aspirations to work in a litigation-oriented firm after graduating from the College of Law.

“As an end goal, hopefully somewhere down the line, I’d like to end up being a litigator, being in the court room and trying cases in front of juries,” he said.

Despite being extremely busy with classes, Law Review and the Trial Practice Team, DeBeer has made sure not to miss a single UK basketball game this season. The 3L said he “religiously” watches his alma mater, even if he has to watch on the Law Review television or on his computer when he cannot make it home in time to watch the Wildcats play.

DeBeer also enjoys playing basketball and running, as well as pleasure reading during breaks.

By Jordan Cohen, ‘13