It all starts with writing: third-year law student Viviana Vasiu’s articles have been accepted in top publications

Viviana Vasiu.

Viviana Vasiu.

By Brandi Palmer

When third-year law student Viviana Vasiu B.A. ’15 talks about becoming a legal fiction writer on par with John Grisham, she’s not joking. Vasiu is determined to write iconic popular legal fiction, but in a way that accurately represents the roles of women in the legal field.

“For the most part, the novels either had no female heroines, or they were set up to fail somehow,” Vasiu said of Grisham’s novels. “Women still face issues in the legal profession. Even fiction authors make an impression, especially when they are cited in the courts. We have a responsibility ethically to think about how stereotyping impacts us.”

The editor-in-chief of the Stetson Law Review came to the U.S. a little more than seven years ago from Romania to study case law and has been fascinated by the law and writing from a young age. Her goal was to become a lawyer and her focus was always on writing.

“I knew I loved public speaking and being in a courtroom, but I also loved writing,” said Vasiu. “Law school teaches you to think about audience first.”

As a child, she said she pored over the comparative law books in her lawyer parents’ library in Romania that explored the differences between the civil and case law systems. It was Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. and the emphasis on legal history and storytelling in the judiciary system that drew Vasiu to study law in the U.S. She is fascinated by criminal law, constitutional law, and the intersection of the law with other disciplines, particularly literature and sociology.

As a paralegal studies major in San Diego, California, several universities recruited Vasiu directly because she was president of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor society at the college. She ultimately chose Stetson due to the tight knit community, strong academics and warm weather. At Stetson, Vasiu said she connected with professors who became like family. As an undergraduate student at Stetson, she wrote news features as student editor of both Visual and Stetson magazines.

At Stetson Law, Vasiu has learned what to look for in the best law review articles. The competition for page space in legal journals is highly coveted among law students around the nation, and Vasiu has perfected the science of law review writing. She has had five scholarly articles accepted for publication in legal journals and in an international conference book. Vasiu’s articles include a placement in a peer-reviewed journal nationally ranked second in criminal law and procedure, as well as a highly-ranked law review placement.

“The rejection taught me what was possible and how to push for it,” said Vasiu. “All you need is one yes.”

She has written on issues ranging from criminal law (cybercrime, white collar crime, juvenile, and constitutional issues) to the intersection of law with other disciplines (nonfiction, fiction and poetry). She was inspired to pursue the intersection between law and poetry through professor Kristen Adams’ class: Law Through the Lens of Poetry. As she approaches commencement in May, Vasiu is co-authoring a book review on white collar crime and a criminology book with Professor of Law Ellen S. Podgor that will be published in the fall. After commencement, Vasiu, who also worked in a big law firm as a student, will start a federal clerkship with Judge Anthony E. Porcelli B.A. ’93/J.D. ’98 in Tampa, then look for a position as a prosecutor, as well as an LL.M., Ph.D., or S.J.D. program at a top university.

She also plans to keep writing and said she will draw from all of these experiences in defining the female heroine in her upcoming novel.

“I want to challenge myself and break down barriers for myself, for other women, and for anyone who needs inspiration,” said Vasiu. “Stetson taught me what’s possible, and how to push for what you want when it gets hard. You have to show that you believe in yourself and show others why they should believe in you.”