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Agritourism and the law

Drake law school alumna recognized for excellence in legal writing

Beth Dooley

The ability to write concisely, persuasively and effectively is a valuable skill in any profession, but especially critical in legal scholarship. An article on agritourism written by Beth Dooley, LW’11, has been recognized as one of the best law review articles of the year.

The article, titled “Watch Where You’re Steppin’ Out Here: Why States Should Adopt Legislation to Promote the Diversified Farming Practice of Agritourism,” has been selected for inclusion in the 2011 edition of the Entertainment, Publishing and the Arts Handbook.

“My article examines federal administrative initiatives that are aimed at rural development, supporting the same goals as agritourism in providing supplemental income for farmers and rural communities,” Dooley said. “The article also explores the different features of state agritourism laws and offers model legislation aiming to facilitate agritourism.”

Dooley said that she was thrilled to find out that her article would be published in the handbook, and that its selection reflects the importance of diversified agricultural practices.

“I’m very interested in the topic of rural development and keeping small farmers on the land by increasing the profitability of their operations for a very personal reason,” said Dooley, who is originally from Eagle Grove, Iowa. “My hometown is very small, and my family owns a Century Farm on which my uncle and brother grow corn and soybeans. I would love to see rural operations profit from participation in farmers markets and direct interaction with educated consumers.”

Dooley credited Drake’s Dwight D. Opperman Chair of Law Neil Hamilton and the Drake Agricultural Law Center for developing her interest in agritourism. She also praised the Drake Law School for preparing her for a legal career through practical experiences and writing-intensive courses.

“My experiences in the classroom and as the editor in chief of the Drake Journal of Agricultural Law really showed me the value of honing superior writing skills,” Dooley said. “Effectively communicating ideas and making legal arguments is critical, invaluable and essential to the practice of law, and Drake emphasizes this practical side of legal writing.”

John Edwards, Drake Law associate dean for information resources and technology, said that Dooley’s achievement reflects the school’s commitment to educating students in effective legal writing.

“It is exciting when one of our students receives a national award for research and scholarship,” said Edwards, who also serves as associate dean for information resources and technology. “When an article like Beth’s is recognized it gives further confirmation that the skills our students develop provide an excellent foundation for the research, analysis and writing they will do as lawyers.”

— Stella Hart