Lukas Schnepel

Lukas Schnepel, JD student

Weighs law's role in climate response

“Schnepel’s research exemplifies the cross-disciplinary work at Iowa, spanning multiple areas of study and tackling one of the core issues for Iowa, the United States, and the world: global food sustainability.”  – Jason Rantanen, Hammer-Boyd Professor of Law & Associate Dean for Faculty

Treynor, Iowa

Faculty mentor/advisor:
Jason Rantanen, Hammer-Boyd Professor of Law & Associate Dean for Faculty

What is your degree program and anticipated graduation date?
JD, 2024

Please describe your research:
My research has focused on the intersection of law and society’s efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. This has involved the law and regulation of plant intellectual property, nuclear energy, and animal infectious disease. In most of my work, I have comparatively analyzed various jurisdictions’ legal approaches to highlight opportunities for reform. For example, I compared the nuclear energy law of the US and France to show how the US can more effectively use nuclear power as a means towards decarbonization.

In simple terms, why does this research matter?
Law is important to climate change because it provides frameworks for driving societal action, such as offering incentives and enforcing regulations. These frameworks can cause individuals and entities to act in ways that they otherwise wouldn’t, ultimately shaping behavior to address climate risks. Without the law, there would be no means to effectively orchestrate the large-scale changes in behavior necessary to respond to climate change.

How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research?
In my second year, I had numerous opportunities to participate in research, whether by assisting a professor in their research or by launching my own.

How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa?
It has allowed me to take creative initiative over my education and to engage with more niche areas of the law than a standard legal education would provide.

What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation?
I plan to work as a corporate attorney for Koley Jessen in Omaha, Nebraska.

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