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University of Iowa College of Law, Iowa City, IA

published April 30, 2007

( 122 votes, average: 4.2 out of 5)
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The University of Iowa College of Law is more than a century old and focuses on providing its students theoretical and practical training. Its curriculum provides students with a solid foundation in the fundamental workings of the law and legal principles. Its upper grade students are exposed to a broad array of substantive areas of the law, with focus on fact-gathering, interviewing, counseling, drafting, transaction planning, negotiation, and litigation. Students also concentrate course work or writing and research opportunities in particular areas of interest.

The Clinical Law Program gives students opportunities to gain experience in many different areas of law, including assistive technology, consumer rights, criminal defense, disability rights, domestic violence, general civil, immigration, and workers’ rights. It operates like a law firm within the walls of the Boyd Law Building. Externship opportunities are also available.

The College of Law sponsors programs in London, England; Arcachon, France; and Bucerius, Germany. Students may also apply to ABA-accredited programs offered by other law schools.

The law library with its collection of over one million volumes and volume equivalents has one of the largest law school library collections among all law school libraries in the country. The law library collects in great depth primary and secondary legal materials of all kinds, on all subjects, and in all formats relating to the US, its territories, and every state. It is a State of Iowa Government Documents Depository.

Student-Faculty Ratio 11.9:1

Admission Criteria




25th-75th Percentile






The above LSAT and GPA data pertain to the fall 2011 entering class.

Medians have been calculated by averaging the 25th- and 75th-percentile values released by the law schools and have been rounded up to the nearest whole number for LSAT scores and to the nearest one-hundredth for GPAs.

Admission Statistics

Approximate number of applications


Number accepted


Percentage accepted


The above admission details are based on fall 2011 data.

Class Ranking and Grades

Students at the University of Iowa College of Law are not ranked until they complete their first year of study. Thereafter, rankings are done at the end of every semester and summer session once all grades are reported. The school uses the following system for ranking students by their grade point averages:

The top 10% in each class may be informed of their exact rank.

The grade point averages at the 12.5 percentile and 37.5 percentile will be posted.

The above will constitute the entire ranking system.

Students are ranked following the fall semester, spring semester, and summer session each year. Final class standing will be based on the ranking in September and will include students who completed all graduation requirements in August, May, and the previous December. For purposes of ranking underclass students, the same system is used based upon the expected date of graduation.

Grades are awarded on a scale of 1.5 to 4.3. No academic credit is given for a grade below 1.8 or for a grade of Fail. A 2.1 average (the lowest C average) is required for retention and graduation. Numerical grades may be translated into letter grades for purposes of comparison as follows:




















1 .7-1.5

The various courses for which Pass/Fail grades are awarded are Iowa Law Review, Journal of Corporation Law, Journal of Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems, Journal of Gender, Race, and Justice, Appellate Advocacy I and other Moot Court courses. Trial Advocacy may be graded Pass/Fail or numerically at the option of the instructor.

The effects of marks other than Pass, Fail, and numerical grades in all courses are as follows:

W equals Withdrawn. This grade carries no course credit.
I denotes Incomplete. This grade carries no course credit toward a degree until changed to either a numerical grade or, where permitted, a pass/fail grade.

A mark of R is reported if the student is registered for a year-long course or program and has completed the first semester of the course or program satisfactorily, but a grade cannot be assigned until the second half of the course or program is completed.

Grade normalization

For most classes at the University of Iowa College of Law, the median grade must be 3.3, and the grades assigned must adhere to the following distribution guidelines:



0-5%, with a norm of 2.5%



5-10%, with a norm of 7.5%



10-20%, with a norm of 15%



20-30%, with a norm of 25%



20-30%, with a norm of 25%



10-20%, with a norm of 15%



5-10%, with a norm of 7.5%

C, D, F

2.3 and under

0-5%, with a norm of 2.5%

For upper-level courses with fewer than 30 students in which the final grade is based primarily on a final examination, an alternative curve is mandatory. The median grade in such courses must be between 3.2 and 3.4, and the grades assigned must adhere to the following distribution guidelines:











2.9 and below


The curve is not applicable in upper-level seminars and other upper-level classes in which a student’s grade is based primarily on the student’s performance on graded skills-oriented tasks (including writing) other than a final examination.




Order of the Coif

Top 10%

Highest Distinction

Cumulative weighted average of 3.9 or more

High Distinction

Top 12.5%


Top 37.5%


Name of Award


Hancher-Finkbine Medallion Award

Awarded by the University of Iowa for outstanding learning, leadership, and loyalty

Philip G. Hubbard Human Rights Award

Awarded by the University of Iowa for contribution to human rights work

Donald P. Lay Faculty Recognition Award

Awarded for distinctive contribution to the law school community

John F. Murray Award

Awarded for outstanding scholastic achievement

Robert S. Hunt Legal History Award

Awarded for an outstanding scholarly legal history paper

Iowa State Bar Association Award

Awarded for scholastic achievement and contribution to law school life

Iowa College of Law Appellate Advocacy Award

Awarded for outstanding achievement in appellate advocacy

International Academy of Trial Lawyers Award

Awarded for achievement in trial advocacy

Michelle R. Bennett Client Representation Award

Awarded for outstanding legal clinical service

Alan I. Widiss Faculty Scholar Award

Awarded for writing the most outstanding and distinctive scholarly paper

Antonia “D.J.” Miller Award for Advancement of Human Rights

Awarded for contribution to the advancement of human rights in the law school community

ALI/ABA Scholarship and Leadership Award

Awarded for scholarship and leadership qualities

ABA/BNA Award for Excellence in the Study of Intellectual Property

Awarded for excellence in the study of intellectual property law

Joan Hueffner and Stephen Steinbrink Real Estate Award

Awarded for excellence in the study of real estate law

National Association of Women Lawyers Award

Awarded for contribution to the advancement of women in society as well as in the legal profession and academic excellence

Erich D. Mathias Award for  International Social Justice

Awarded for contribution to or demonstrated commitment to attaining international social, economic, and cultural justice

Randy J. Holland Award for Corporate Scholarship

Awarded for the best scholarly paper on corporate law

Russell Goldman Award

Awarded for the most improved academic performance

American Bankruptcy Institute Medal

Awarded for excellence in bankruptcy studies

Burton Award for Legal Achievement

Awarded in recognition of a plain, clear, and concise legal writing style in a student paper

Dean’s Achievement Award

Awarded for contribution to diversity at the law school

Sandy Boyd Prize

Awarded for outstanding creativity and ability in legal writing

Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers Award

Awarded for outstanding advocacy in the Roy L. Stephenson Trial Advocacy Competition

Outstanding Scholastic Achievement

Awarded for outstanding performance in both the academic and co-curricular programs

Faculty Award for Academic Excellence

Awarded to the student with second-highest grade in a class of at least 40 students

Jurisprudence Award for Academic Excellence

Awarded to the student with the highest grade in a seminar

The Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence

Awarded to the student with the highest grade in a class of at least 15 students

Boyd Service Award

Awarded for volunteer services to charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental, and educational organizations


Since its inception in 1915 as the Iowa Law Bulletin, the Iowa Law Review has served as a scholarly legal journal, noting and analyzing developments in the law and suggesting future paths for the law to follow. Since 1935, it has been edited and managed by second- and third-year students, and it is published five times annually.

The Journal of Corporation Law is a student-published journal that specializes in corporate law. Its philosophy is to provide quality articles examining subjects of current importance to businesses, scholars, and the practicing bar. The journal has been designed to serve as a practitioner-oriented publication.

The Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems is a multidisciplinary journal edited by students and published thrice per year. Two issues take the form of a symposium on a single topic and is guest-edited by a legal scholar noted for his or her work on that topic. The third yearly issue is submissions-based. The journal addresses issues and problems that transcend national political boundaries, presenting to the international and comparative law communities matters not commonly found in other journals

The Journal of Gender, Race & Justice, founded in 1996, is part of a dynamic and provocative movement going on throughout the national legal community to push at the boundaries of “traditional” legal scholarship and theory. It is devoted to furthering social justice and to promoting discussion and scholarship about the vital legal issues of our times. The journal is a symposium-based law review that currently publishes two issues each year in the spring and fall.16

Moot Court

The University of Iowa College of Law Appellate Advocacy Program seeks to familiarize students with brief writing and citation form, to further develop research skills, and to strengthen students’ persuasive ability in oral argument at the appellate level.

The Appellate Advocacy Program is designed to give second-year students a chance to prepare and argue an interrelated question of law and fact in an adversarial setting. In September, advocates begin a ten-week process of researching and brief writing that culminates in oral presentations of their arguments. Those advocates with the highest total scores will have the opportunity to participate in the Spring Competitions (Van Oosterhout-Baskerville and Jessup Competitions) the following semester.

The Appellate Advocacy Program offers following competitions:
  • Van Oosterhout-Baskerville Domestic Competition
  • Jessup International Moot Court Competition
  • National Moot Court
The Moot Court Board consists of approximately 16 Student Judges (depending on class size) and an Executive Board consisting of approximately seven members. The Moot Court Board operates under the guidance of a faculty advisor.

The University of Iowa College of Law also hosts the Iowa Supreme Court on the University of Iowa campus each fall. Third-year students present oral arguments before the Supreme Court in a competition which is open to the public.

Clinical Programs

The University of Iowa College of Law’s clinical programs reflect the richness and diversity of modern law practice, offering students opportunities to put their legal skills to use in a variety of practice areas.

In-House Clinic

Interns work on cases supervised by full-time faculty members. They represent their clients at all stages of the legal process, including interviewing and counseling, negotiation, fact investigation, depositions, drafting and briefing, and courtroom appearances. Each semester they have an opportunity to argue cases before various state and federal trial or appellate courts, or before administrative agencies. Practice areas include: consumer rights, criminal defense, disability rights and policy, domestic violence, immigration and workers’ rights.

Placement Facts

Starting Salaries (2010 Graduates employed Full-Time)

Private sector (25th-75th percentile) $52,000-$110,000
Median in the private sector $67,500
Median in public service $55,000

Employment Details

Graduates known to be employed at graduation


Graduates known to be employed nine months after graduation


Areas of Legal Practice

Graduates employed In


Law Firms


Business and Industry




Judicial Clerkships


Public Interest Organizations






Externships / Internships


In addition to its diverse “in-house” clinical programs, the University of Iowa College of Law offers an externship program that places students in a variety of legal settings. These externships are directly supervised by staff attorneys and are also supervised by faculty members. Students have been placed with judges in US District Courts, US Magistrate Courts, and US Bankruptcy Courts. In addition, students have worked in the offices of the US Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa in Des Moines and the Quad Cities. Students have also been placed with the Iowa Attorney General, the Youth Law Center in Des Moines, Student Legal Services in Iowa City, the Iowa City City Attorney’s Office, the Federal Public Defender in Cedar Rapids, Iowa Legal Aid in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, and HELP Legal Services in Davenport.


The University of Iowa Center for Human Rights encourages students to explore human rights internship opportunities in Iowa, the nation, and around the world. The Center helps students to secure these internships.

Student organizations
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Society (ADR)
  • American Constitution Society
  • Asian American Law Students Association (AALSA)
  • Black Law Students Association (BLSA)
  • Christian Legal Society
  • Environmental Law Society
  • Equal Justice Foundation
  • The Federalists Society
  • Intellectual Property Law Society (IPLS)
  • International Law Society (ILS)
  • Iowa Campaign for Human Rights (ICHR)
  • Iowa Student Bar Association (ISBA)
  • J. Reuben Clark Law Society
  • Jewish Law Students Association
  • Latino Law Students Association
  • Law Students for Reproductive Justice
  • Middle Eastern Law Students Association (MELSA)
  • National Lawyers Guild (NLG)
  • Native American Law Students Association (NALSA)
  • Organization for Women Law Students and Staff (OWLSS)
  • The Outlaws
  • Phi Alpha Delta (PAD)
  • Phi Delta Phi (PHIDs)
  • Pro Bono Society
  • The Society for International Human Rights Law at Iowa (SIHRLI)
  • Sports Law Society

( 122 votes, average: 4.2 out of 5)
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