Robert J. Iversen, a third-year student in the School of Law at Washington University in St. Louis, died recently. Iversen was 39.
His family has advised the university that he took his own life at a location out of state.
An accomplished and involved law student, Iversen was expected to earn a juris doctoris in May 2016.
“We are deeply saddened by Robert’s death,” said Nancy Staudt, JD, PhD, dean of the School of Law and the Howard & Caroline Cayne Professor of Law. “He was a stellar student and an active student-leader in our law school community. Our thoughts are with his family and his many law school colleagues at this very difficult time.”
He was a staff editor of the Washington University Law Review last academic year and was named a senior executive editor of the Law Review this year.
A Scholar in Law Award recipient, Iversen was vice president of the Student Law Association of Metropolitan St. Louis in 2014-15.
“Rob was one of the most talented, intelligent and hard-working students that I have come across in my time at Washington University,” said Richard E. Finneran, JD (’08), an adjunct professor at the law school who was Iversen’s instructor in appellate advocacy and head coach of the school’s National Moot Court Team, of which Iversen was a member in 2014-15 and in this academic year.
Iversen won the championship in last year’s Wiley Rutledge Moot Court Competition, the law school’s oldest and largest moot court competition, and he and his teammates were quarterfinalists in the 2015 Evan A. Evans Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition at the University of Wisconsin Law School.
Iversen, who also won the Carmody MacDonald Legal Practice Excellence Award last year, applied for and was selected as one of the two co-chairs of the Wiley Rutledge Moot Court Competition Board members for this year.
“He put his heart and soul into everything he did, whether that was an academic course, winning a moot court competition, or helping to improve one,” said Finneran, who is also an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri. “No matter how successful he was, he always saw room for improvement. I am sad that I will not have the chance to work with him again.”
Bruce La Pierre, JD, professor of law and director of the law school’s Appellate Clinic, said Iversen was his student in a first-year constitutional law class in spring 2014.
“Because I was impressed with his performance and captured by his obvious delight in debating legal issues, I selected Rob to participate in the Appellate Clinic,” La Pierre said.
La Pierre noted that last spring and early this fall, Iversen took an active part in drafting a brief that was recently filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.
“Never afraid to question authority — including my own — Rob challenged us all to think carefully and to explore all the alternatives. The brief reflects his many contributions. He was a very good colleague. I, among many, will miss the opportunity to continue working with him,” La Pierre said.
Iversen had worked in information technology before deciding he wanted to complete his undergraduate education so that he could pursue a law degree.
While working full time in various hospitality positions, he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Central Florida in 2013, making the President’s List or the Dean’s List every semester and graduating with a 3.97 GPA.
Iversen is survived by his parents, Jeff and Debra Iversen, of Plano, Texas; and a stepsister, Rebecca Matthews of Ocala, Fla.
A memorial service will be held at 12:15 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19, at the Catholic Student Center at Washington University, 6352 Forsyth Blvd.