University of Iowa College of Law Profile, Iowa City, Iowa |

University of Iowa College of Law

Rank 20


290 Boyd Law Building,

Iowa City, IA 52242-1113









Overview 5-7

The most successful and effective lawyers are true counselors, offering clients incisive analysis, clear-eyed yet compassionate understanding, and creative problem solving. The world needs more lawyers who embrace the role of counselor, and at Iowa Law, we offer the best possible environment for producing them.

Students play a central role in the academic and professional life of Iowa Law. Seven student-run, co-curriculum programs award academic credit for a variety of professional skills training exercises. There are more than 20 recognized student organizations within the law school, many of which actively work to enhance the professional and cultural opportunities available to students and to organize volunteer projects to provide pro bono community services.

Why apply to Iowa Law? Because we have a reputation for producing lawyers who are highly skilled and successful—and who display an exemplary level of professionalism. With an Iowa Law degree, you’ll be more than an advocate or attorney: you’ll be a trusted counselor at law for your clients, your colleagues, and your community.

Student-Faculty Ratio 8


Admission Criteria 9

25th-75th Percentile 157-163 3.44-3.79
Median* 161 3.61

Director of admissions Collins Byrd
Application deadline March 1

The above LSAT and GPA data pertain to the fall 2016 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 10

Approximate number of applications 1214
Number accepted 555
Percentage accepted 45.7%

The above admission details are based on 2016 data.

Law School Cost 11

Tuition and fees Full-time: $24,930 per year (in-state)
$43,214 per year (out-of-state)
Room and board $10,602
Books $1,800
Miscellaneous expenses $5,358

Class Ranking and Grades 12-13

Students are not ranked until they complete their first year of study. Thereafter, PDF iconrankings are done at the end of every semester and summer session, once all grades are reported.

Students will be 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.

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

A+ 4.3-4.2
A 4.1-3.9
A- 3.8-3.6
B+ 3.5-3.3
B 3.2-3.0
B- 2.9-2.7
C+ 2.6-2.4
C 2.3-2.1
D 2.0-1.8
F 1 .7-1.5


Students 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 following system of ranking students by their grade point averages shall be in effect:

  1. The top ten percent in each class may be informed of their exact rank.

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

  3. The above will constitute the entire ranking system.

Students will be 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 shall be used based upon the expected date of graduation.

The following ranking information is provided (after the Spring 2016 semester):

Class 12.5% 37.5%
Class of 2018 3.77 3.43 (based on 139 students)
Class of 2017 3.77 3.48 (based on 151 students)
Class of 2016 3.70 3.54 (based on 101 students)

Grade Normalization (Curve)14

Grade Distribution Policy (effective September 2006)

The following grading norms shall be followed in all courses in the College of Law, except as otherwise provided below:

A 4.2-4.3 0-5%, with a norm of 2.5%
A 3.9-4.1 5-10%, with a norm of 7.5%
A- 3.6-3.8 10-20%, with a norm of 15%
B+ 3.3-3.5 20-30%, with a norm of 25%
B 3.0-3.2 20-30%, with a norm of 25%
B- 2.7-2.9 10-20%, with a norm of 15%
C+ 2.4-2.6 5-10%, with a norm of 7.5%
C, D, F 2.3 and under 0-5%, with a norm of 2.5%

When awarding grades at the extremes of the scale (i.e., "A+" grades or "D/F" grades), faculty members must exercise their own judgment concerning what performances are outstanding ("A+") or seriously deficient ("D," "F"). To the extent a faculty member's grades at the extremes are below the distributional norms, the distribution of grades at adjacent grade levels can be adjusted to achieve the overall distributional norms of 25% of grades at the "A+/A/A-" level and 25% of grades at "B-" or below.

LAWR and Upper-Level Courses

For LAWR and upper-level courses with fewer than 30 students in which the final grade is based primarily on a final exam, an alternative curve is mandatory. The median grade in such courses shall be between 3.2 and 3.4 with the following distribution:

A+/A/A- 3.6-4.3 15-35%
B+ 3.3-3.5 20-30%
B 3.0-3.2 20-30%
B-/C+/C/D/F 2.9 and below 15-35%

The curve is not applicable in upper-level seminars and other upperlevel 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 exam.

There shall be no deviations from this policy without showing good cause to the Dean of the College of Law. University of Iowa College of Law Faculty Meeting Minutes adopted (Apr. 20, 2006).

Honors 15

Honor Criteria
Order of the Coif The Order of the Coif, a national legal honor society, has a chapter at The University of Iowa. The Order is dedicated to scholarship and advancement of high ethical standards in the legal profession and membership is highly coveted. A Chapter may elect to membership in the Order any graduating senior (1) who has completed at least 75 percent of his or her law studies in graded courses and (2) whose grade record ranks in the top 10 percent of all the graduating seniors of the school. Under a new interpretation of the Coif Constitution (November 2013), transfer students are not excluded from eligibility for Coif membership, and will be considered as having completed their first year of law studies in graded courses for calculating (1) above.
Highest Distinction With Highest Distinction: cumulative weighted average of 3.9 or more
High Distinction With High Distinction: top 12.5% of the graduating class
Distinction With Distinction: top 37.5% of graduating class

Awards 16

Name of Award Awarded for/to
Hancher-Finkbine Medallion Award Awarded to outstanding graduates who are selected from two nominations forwarded by each of the schools and colleges within the University. Recipients exemplify outstanding learning, leadership, and loyalty.
Philip G. Hubbard Human Rights Award Based on outstanding contributions to human rights and to equal opportunity as described in the University's Human Rights Policy.
John F. Murray Award John F. Murray Award is awarded to recognize the highest academic standing in the graduating class.
Awards for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement Awards for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement recognize four graduates for outstanding performance in both the academic and co-curricular programs of the College.
The Iowa State Bar Association Prize The Iowa State Bar Association Prize is awarded to a student with the attitude, ability, and other qualities that indicate success as a future leader of the Iowa Bar.
The Donald P. Lay Faculty Recognition Award The Donald P. Lay Faculty Recognition Award is presented to the student who has made distinctive contributions to the College of Law community, the College's educational programs, or the College's cocurricular programs.
The Alan I. Widiss Faculty Scholar Award The Alan I. Widiss Faculty Scholar Award is presented to the student in the graduating class who has written the most outstanding and distinctive scholarly paper.
The Robert S. Hunt Legal History Award The Robert S. Hunt Legal History Award is presented in recognition of an outstanding scholarly paper in the field of legal history by a graduating student.
The Randy J. Holland Award The Randy J. Holland Award for Corporate Scholarship is presented to a member of the graduating class who has the best scholarly paper on corporate law.
The Antonia "D.J." Miller Award The Antonia "D.J." Miller Award for Advancement of Human Rights recognizes outstanding contributions by a student to the advancement of human rights in the law school community.
The Michelle R. Bennett Client Representation Award The Michelle R. Bennett Client Representation Award recognizes outstanding service in the College's clinic program.
The Russell Goldman Award The Russell Goldman Award is presented to the member of the graduating class who has the most improved academic performance after the first year.
The National Association of Women Lawyers Award The National Association of Women Lawyers Award is awarded to an outstanding third year student who has contributed to the advancement of women in society and women in the legal profession and who has attained high academic achievement.
The Iowa College of Law Appellate Advocacy Award The Iowa College of Law Appellate Advocacy Award is presented to the student who has made the most outstanding achievement in appellate advocacy.
The International Academy of Trial Lawyers Award The International Academy of Trial Lawyers Award recognizes the student who has distinguished himself or herself in the area of trial advocacy skills.
The Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers Award The Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers Award is presented to the most outstanding student advocate in the Roy L. Stephenson Trial Advocacy Competition.
The Erich D. Mathias Award The Erich D. Mathias Award for International Social Justice is presented in recognition of outstanding contribution or demonstrate commitment to attaining international social, economic, and cultural justice by a third year student.
The ALI/ABA Scholarship and Leadership Award The ALI/ABA Scholarship and Leadership Award is presented to the student who best represents a combination of scholarship and leadership and the qualities embodied by the American Bar Association (ABA) and the American Law Institute (ALI).
The ABA/BNA Award The ABA/BNA Award for Excellence in the Study of Intellectual Property is awarded in recognition of excellence in the study of Intellectual Property Law.
The American Bankruptcy Institute Medal The American Bankruptcy Institute Medal for Excellence in Bankruptcy Studies is presented in recognition of excellence in bankruptcy studies.
The Willard "Sandy" Boyd Law Prize The Willard "Sandy" Boyd Law Prize is presented to the student who has demonstrated outstanding ability and creativity in the development of written legal scholarship.
The Dean's Achievement Award The Dean's Achievement Award is awarded to a student who, through his or her achievements, has exemplified, promoted, or contributed to cultural, racial, or ethnic diversity in the law school.
The College's nomination for the Burton Award The College's nomination for the Burton Award for Legal Achievement is awarded to a student in recognition of a clear, concise, and comprehensive legal writing style, in a paper published in the prior calendar year.
The ABA-Bloomberg BNA Award The ABA-Bloomberg BNA Award Program for Excellence includes awards in the areas of Labor and Employment, Intellectual Property and Health Law.

Journals 17-21

The College of Law is pleased to be home to four student-edited journals. A majority of Iowa students write for a journal during their second year of law school and many of them accept board positions during their third year.

The Iowa Law Review

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, students have edited and have managed the Law Review, which is published at least five times annually. The Law Review ranks high among the top “high impact” legal periodicals in the country, and its subscribers include legal practitioners and law libraries throughout the world.

Alumni of the Iowa Law Review have gone on to become successful lawyers, federal and state judges, law professors, politicians, and business people. The Iowa Law Review Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes former members of the Iowa Law Review for outstanding personal and professional achievement.

The Journal of Corporation Law

The Journal of Corporation Law is the nation’s oldest student-published legal periodical specializing in corporate law. The Journal enjoys a large and influential audience worldwide. For example, the Journal currently is received by every accredited law school library in the United States, two-thirds of the one hundred largest law firms in the country, and approximately forty percent of the largest two hundred fifty firms. The Journal is also received by many federal agencies such as the Securities Exchange Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, and most federal courts. It is also available on both the WESTLAW and LEXIS database systems.

The Journal’s philosophy is to provide quality articles examining subjects of current importance to businesses, scholars, and the practicing bar. Student editors believe that such an approach will produce a publication that makes a valuable contribution to the legal community in addition to serving the important function of providing excellent legal training for students.

From its inception, the Journal has been designed to serve as a practitioner-oriented publication. A great emphasis is placed on publishing material suitable for practicing lawyers. According to former Iowa Law School Dean Larry Blades, the Journal is “designed to meet the needs of lawyers on a practical and down-to-earth level.” To maintain such an orientation, Journal editors receive advice from an editorial advisory board that consists of distinguished attorneys and scholars. The advisory board gives suggestions to Journal editors concerning editorial processes, format, and editorial staff operations. This advice keeps the Journal attuned to the needs of the present day legal world.

The Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems

Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems (TLCP) is a multi-disciplinary journal published by the University of Iowa College of Law. It is student-edited and publishes two issues per year. One issue takes the form of a symposium addressing specific topics. The symposium-based issue is guest-edited by a legal scholar noted for his or her work on the symposium topic. The other yearly issue is submissions-based. TLCP 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

The Journal of Gender, Race & Justice is not for the weak of heart or the timid in spirit. Feminist inquiry and critical race analysis are the touchstones of our endeavor. Our building blocks are new forms of analysis that reach beyond traditional conceptions of legal thought. We challenge our writers, our readers, and ourselves to question who we are and how the law defines us. We strive to be a transformative experience. In a spirit of openness, we explore how we are classified, stratified, ignored, and singled out under the law because of our race, sex, gender, economic class, ability, sexual identity, and the multitude of labels applied to us. Identity is a matrix of experiences; when the law fails to recognize any one facet of our identity, both the law and the person lose invaluable dimension. Our challenge is to examine how we negotiate our identities, how the legal system negotiates them for us and how these negotiations affect our ability to attain justice

Our conception of justice looks beyond legal rights to how fairness, equity, and respect delineate the boundaries of what legal justice must, at a minimum, entail. We include all struggles against oppression within this conception. We seek to invoke a vision of justice that is without fear, a vision that allows us to be who we are as we are, without sanction or penalty. We encourage personal and social responsibility towards achieving this vision, and we welcome all viewpoints and ideas that are expressed with respect and collegiality.

Finally, we are a journal that promotes living discussion. Through our symposium, we will test, shape, and strengthen our scholarship by bringing a myriad of experiences into the realm of legal thought. We intend to build alliances across differences, to rub ideas together and watch the sparks fly. We invite you to help us fan the flames, to set the legal community on fire. Subscribe, submit (your work, not yourselves), and support us in our mission.

Moot Court 22

Appellate Advocacy

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. The records and bench memos used in Appellate Advocacy I are generated by the Moot Court Executive Board of the previous academic year in conjunction with a member of the faculty. Each advocate will receive a case record of the lower court’s proceedings and will work in two-person teams representing either the appellants or appellees. Each student will be assigned one issue to brief and argue. Briefs are typically 14 pages long (of which, each advocate must write seven pages). Oral arguments consist of arguing in front of a panel of three to four judges. The panel is typically comprised of two student judges, one faculty judge, and one visiting judge (a practicing attorney or judge). 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.

Van Oosterhout-Baskerville Domestic Competition

The Van Oosterhout-Baskerville Domestic Competition was established in honor of Richard Baskerville, a 1959 University of Iowa College of Law graduate, and Martin Van Oosterhout, a 1924 University of Iowa College of Law graduate and former Chief Justice of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Participation in the competition is restricted to the top 32 advocates of AAI who express a desire to compete in a domestic law competition. This competition is designed to sharpen the skills of the student advocate. Each advocate will write 14 pages for his or her portion of the brief and will participate in four oral arguments. Advocates argue not only the issue and side on which they write their briefs, but also the other three sides of the problem. That is, advocates argue four rounds, a different side each round: on-issue/on-brief, on-issue/off-brief, off-issue/on-brief, and off-issue/off-brief. The top four scorers in the initial rounds will be selected to argue in a final round before a respected panel of jurists. The top six advocates of the domestic competition will form the National Moot Court Team in the fall semester of the following academic year. In addition, the two top advocates and the two top oralists (those with the highest oral argument scores) will have the opportunity to perform oral arguments before the Iowa Supreme Court during the College of Law’s annual Iowa Supreme Court Day during the fall semester.

Jessup International Moot Court Competition

The spring intramural Jessup Competition is modeled after the International Law Students Association Jessup International Competition to prepare students for participation on the International Jessup team (if they so desire and are chosen) the following year. Working in pairs, each student writes approximately 12 pages advocating his/her position. Oral arguments consist of an approximately 15-minute presentation before a bench. The competition gives students the opportunity to develop and improve their memorial (brief) writing skills, gain experience in oral advocacy, learn about the substance and procedure of international law, and discover how the International Court of Justice operates. The Jessup problem features current and exciting issues of international law. The top five students with the highest combined memorial and oral argument scores from the intramural Jessup Competition will comprise the College’s International Jessup Team for the following academic year. The Best Advocate (scoring the highest combined memorial and oral argument score) from the Jessup Competition receives the honor of serving as captain of the Jessup International Team the following academic year. The prestigious Jessup International Moot Court Competition is held in memory of the late Judge Phillip C. Jessup, an American judge who sat on the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The International Jessup Competition provides students with an incomparable opportunity to compete not only with teams from more than 100 American law schools, but also with teams from Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe, and South America. It is directed and administered by the American Society of International Law through the International Law Students Association (ILSA). Please see for more information.

Moot Court Board

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. All advocates successfully completing AAI and any spring appellate advocacy program (i.e., Domestic or Jessup Competition) are eligible for election to the Moot Court Executive Board (i.e., including position of: chairperson, vice-chair positions, domestic competition coordinator, AAI coordinator, Supreme Court Day coordinator and Jessup coordinator). Students who have successfully completed AAI are eligible to become student judges. Student judges are responsible for advising student advocates on their brief writing and oral argument preparation in AAI and the Spring Semester Competitions. Student judges also judge and score student advocates’ oral arguments and briefs in these programs. Selection to all positions is made by the current Moot Court Executive Board based on the student’s participation in Moot Court programs, personal interviews, and an editing sample.

National Moot Court Team

Open to six finalists from Van Oosterhout-Baskerville Domestic Competition. Students participate as the law school’s representatives in the Regional Moot Court Competition in the fall of their third year. Prerequisites: 91:210 Appellate Advocacy I and 91:404 Van Oosterhout-Baskerville Competition.

Clinical Programs 23

The College of Law's Clinical Law Programs reflect the richness and diversity of modern law practice and the College of Law's commitment to clinical education. The clinic operates like a law firm within the walls of the Boyd Law Building, offering students the opportunity to put their legal skills to use in a variety of practice areas and venues.

Student interns work on cases supervised by full-time faculty members, and have primary responsibility for the representation of their clients at all stages of the legal process, including interviewing and counseling, negotiation, fact investigation, depositions, drafting and briefing, and courtroom appearances. Most interns each semester have an opportunity to argue cases before various state and federal trial or appellate courts, or before administrative agencies. Students also provide basic estate planning, document-drafting, and other transactional services to clients. Some projects involve interns partnering with grassroots organizations, non-profits, businesses, and public officials to solve recurring and systemic problems that cannot be adequately addressed through litigation or traditional legal methods.

Practice areas include consumer rights, criminal defense, disability rights and policy, domestic violence, immigration, international human rights, juvenile court matters, and workers' rights.

Placement Facts 24

Starting Salaries (2015 Graduates Employed Full-Time)

Private sector (25th-75th percentile) $60,000 - $110,000
Median in the private sector $80,000
Median in public service $55,000

Employment Details

Graduates known to be employed at graduation 68.5%
Graduates known to be employed ten months after graduation 84.9%

Areas of Legal Practice

Graduates Employed In Percentage
Law Firms 47.8%
Business and Industry 14.5%
Government 9.4%
Judicial Clerkships 22.5%
Public Interest Organizations 5.1%
Academia 0.7%
Unknown 0%

Externships/Internships 25-26


Field Placement Programs

Legal employers expect law graduates to have the knowledge and skills necessary to be competent and ethical lawyers. In Iowa’s classrooms, law students master legal subjects and practice problem solving, analytical and writing skills.

Equally important to students’ success as professionals is what they learn through practical legal experiences. Iowa offers its students many such opportunities: volunteer legal placements with government, legal aid and nonprofits through the Citizen Lawyer Program; regional and national competitions for moot court, intellectual property, arbitration and trial advocacy; and a high-credit legal clinic where students represent clients under close faculty supervision in a law firm setting.

Iowa’s Field Placement Program offers quality educational experiences that involve students in the performance of legal work in government or non-profit agencies, criminal prosecution or defense offices, state and federal judges’ chambers, international law offices and agencies, as well as in a limited number of private practice and corporate settings. In addition to earning credit for their field work, students in field placements participate in a class or tutorial, led by a faculty member, designed to maximize and supplement the experiential learning.

National and International Field Placements

The law school offers a menu of for-credit externships, advertised through its Career Services Office. Students may also apply to get credit for externships that they locate on their own. After completing two semesters, Iowa law students may participate in externships for credit part-time during the regular school year; full-time, semester-away from the law school; or externships during the summer. A PDF iconpartial list of recent externships in all three categories demonstrates the wide range of externships types and their geographical locations

Information about Externships for Current Students

All registered law students have access to complete information about Iowa’s Field Placement Programs through ICON, Iowa’s classroom platform. Regular postings in This Week at Iowa Law (TWIL) and Symplicity (through Career Services) keep students up-to-date about externships opportunities and selection processes. Students are advised to plan ahead for high-credit, semester away externships.

Summer Externships for Credit

On ICON’s on-going course page, students will find application forms for their student-generated, summer externships. The application deadline for summer is April 1, but early applications are strongly encouraged.

Judicial Clerkships

Whether you are interested in working at a state or federal court, at a trial or appellate court, or at a specialty court, the Career Services Office is committed to helping you find the judicial externship and post-graduate clerkship opportunity that is right for you. Judicial externships and post-graduate clerkships provide terrific opportunities to learn from judges while providing worthwhile public service.

Are you interested in a judicial externship or a post-graduate clerkship? Then join the Judicial Clerkship Listserv. Email Dyahanne Ware to subscribe. Dyahanne posts updates every Monday.

Student Organizations 27

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Society (ADR)
  • American Constitution Society
  • Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA)
  • Black Law Students Association (BLSA)
  • Christian Legal Society
  • Environmental Law Society
  • Equal Justice Foundation
  • Intellectual Property Law Society (IPLS)
  • International Law Society (ILS)
  • Iowa Campaign for Human Rights (ICHR)
  • Iowa Student Bar Association (Student Government)
  • J. Reuben Clark Law Society
  • Jewish Law Students Association
  • Latino Law Students Association
  • Law Students for Reproductive Justice
  • Middle Eastern Law Students Association (MELSA)
  • Military and National Security Law Society
  • Native American Law Students Association (NALSA)
  • Organization for Women Law Students and Staff (OWLSS)
  • Phi Alpha Delta (PAD)
  • Phi Delta Phi (PHIDs)
  • Pro Bono Society
  • Sports Law Society
  • The Federalist Society
  • The Outlaws (LGBT)