‘Shark Enthusiast’ Julio, a 3L, Publishes Article on Great Whites and Endangered Species Act

In August, Derek Julio, a 3L at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law and self-described “shark enthusiast,” published an article, “Circling the Blood in the Water: The Difficulties in Endangered Species Protections for the Great White Shark,” in the peer-reviewed journal Natural Resources.  In the interview below, he describes the inspiration for the article, credits Professor Robin Craig for her guidance, and encourages his fellow students to prepare and submit for publication scholarly articles as a means of developing legal research and writing skills.

What inspired you to write about this subject?

Sharks have always fascinated me; I consider myself a bit of a shark enthusiast. I remember conducting an Internet search for “shark law” during my first year of law school just to see what results would show up. Coincidentally, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had just denied listing the Northeastern Pacific (NEP) population of the white shark as a threatened or endangered species. As I entered my second year, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife was conducting its 12-month status review of the NEP white shark under its state endangered species act. I knew very little about endangered species protections, but also knew that very few shark species had ever been listed, despite the millions of sharks that are reportedly killed each year. I decided it would be an interesting topic for me to research and write about, and an opportunity to combine my legal education with my personal interests.

How did your classes (and other opportunities, if applicable) at the College of Law help to prepare you to write the article?

The legal methods and legal research courses I took during my first year of law school certainly helped me in developing the writing skills needed for this type of paper. I had not done any legal writing outside of those classes when I began researching this topic, so there was a steep learning curve for me throughout the process. However, those courses did provide an extremely helpful structural and stylistic basis for my legal research and writing.

What kinds of help did your professor or professors contribute to the preparation of the article?

Professor Craig directed the research. She was extremely helpful in guiding my research and developing the direction my paper ultimately took. Her thoughtful critiques on each draft helped me mold the article into its final version. Additionally, she encouraged me to publish the article and informed me of the opportunity to submit it to this particular journal.

What did you learn during the process of researching and writing the article? 

I learned a great deal about the ins and outs of the federal and California endangered species acts, and the factors that are considered in listing a species as threatened or endangered. I began writing the paper with the notion that the white sharks required further protection. However, as I researched prior government involvement and conservation efforts, I ultimately concluded that endangered species protections might not be necessary in the case of the NEP white shark. Essentially, the white shark needs a media coach, not further governmental involvement.

Would you encourage other College of Law students to submit their works for publication?  If so, why?

I would definitely encourage other students to submit their works for publication. I think it is important that law students engage and participate in the greater legal discussion while still in school. Writing and publishing papers is a fantastic way to engage in that discussion while simultaneously developing legal research and writing skills. More importantly, I think the opportunity to be published really gives law students a sense of accomplishment and validation for the time and effort put into their research and writing projects.