The University of Iowa College of Law

The information on this page was provided by the law school.

Official Guide to ABA-Approved JD Programs


World-class academics, close connections with faculty, collaborative culture, dynamic campus life, and invaluable resources to help you prepare for a career you love. We treat service, writing, and on-the-job experience as integral components of a legal education—giving you the flexibility to explore the breadth of the profession and contribute to real change in society. With a degree from Iowa Law, you can succeed anywhere. 

Learn more about University of Iowa College of Law

The JD Program

Our JD program is designed to build your knowledge base through the study of legal doctrine and experiential opportunities. And because we are a smaller program, you will find our faculty and staff are invested in your growth over time.  

In your first year, you will build a solid foundation in legal thinking and writing. As a second- and third-year student, you can focus on the areas of law that interest you the most. You can take what you know into a wide range of legal settings through internships, externships, and study-beyond-campus programs. 

Learn more about the JD program at University of Iowa College of Law

Clinical Law Program

In the Law Clinic at Iowa Law, students act as attorneys, not interns. They learn necessary skills that cut across practice areas, from client interviewing and case theory development to cultural competence and resilience. Students have primary responsibility for the representation of their clients at all stages of the legal process and learn to use and trust their legal judgment. 

The Law Clinic functions like a single law firm with six distinct practice groups: Federal Criminal Defense, Civil & Employment Litigation, Estate Planning, Law & Policy in Action, Immigration, and the Community Empowerment Law Project. The Legal Clinic is unique in that students can choose to focus on one area of law or explore different interests by participating in two practice groups. 

Student-led Activities

Iowa Law hosts four student-edited journals: Iowa Law Review; Journal of Corporation Law; Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems; and Journal of Gender, Race and Justice. 

Students are also active in trial advocacy and moot court competitions, including competitions in trademark law, patent law, copyright law, and information technology law through our Intellectual Property Advocacy Program. 

Iowa Law students can participate in more than 25 separate student organizations. These groups sponsor social and educational activities for students and community members. 

Legal Writing Program

Law is a profession whose principal tool is language. The ability to use that language to craft concise, compelling legal writing is an essential skill—your clients’ livelihoods, freedom, even their lives depend on it. 

This is why Iowa Law invests in a full-time writing faculty—and we’re one of the few top-tier law schools to do so. We have six full-time writing faculty committed to developing your analytical thinking and persuasive writing skills. Our writing faculty are experienced attorneys who are also award-winning teachers and published authors who speak frequently at local, regional, and national conferences. 

Pro Bono and Community Service

The Citizen Lawyer Program is a teaching platform for students to develop the knowledge, values, and skills that are central to the law as a professional calling. By offering a wide variety of opportunities each year for pro bono work, community service, and programs about the issues, skills, and values most critical to both personal and professional success, this program extends students’ legal education beyond the classroom and clinical programs while engaging them directly in the college’s mission of public service. 

Field Placements

The Field Placement Program at Iowa Law gives students the opportunity to perform legal tasks in a professional setting including government or nonprofit agencies, criminal prosecution and defense offices, state and federal judges’ chambers and international law offices and agencies. 

These externships can take place locally or around the country and are offered both during the summer and the academic year. One of the more popular programs is the Washington, DC Field Placement program. Students spend a semester in Washington DC with a cohort of classmates and paired with alumni mentors to facilitate networking with DC area alums all while being exposed to the unique legal environment of the Nation’s Capital.  

Study Abroad

Iowa Law offers a strong program for the study of international and comparative law, including several opportunities for study abroad. Iowa is the stateside home of the London Law Consortium through which a group of US law schools conducts a winter intersession program in London. Many students participate in the summer program in France, which begins in Paris and then moves to the seaside town of Arcachon. We have exchange programs with several universities worldwide. 

Student Life

Attractions

Iowa City is considered one of the best places to live in the country. With big-city amenities and the comfort of a small town, members of our community reap the best of both worlds. Where downtown seamlessly blends with the heart of campus, you will find hundreds of restaurants, BIG Ten athletics, and a dynamic art scene all within walking distance of the Boyd Law Building. With annual festivals, block parties, and plenty of exciting events scheduled throughout the year, you will find it easy to balance the rigors of law school with fun and new experiences. 

And because it is located in a state that is one of the first testing grounds for presidential hopefuls, Iowa City is also an ideal place to get involved in government, politics, and social justice. 

Career Placement and Bar Passage

Beginning your first semester, Iowa Law will provide you with the resources and support you’ll need to succeed in the professional world. Our dedicated career counselors will help you navigate your job search, explore your options, and arrange valuable opportunities to connect you with prospective. 

Iowa Law consistently ranks among the top U.S. law schools for full-time job placement. The Iowa Law Class of 2020 had a 100% job placement rate 10 months after graduation and Iowa Law is currently listed as 9th overall for full-time jobs (law.com). According to Law.com we are 20th for Federal Clerkship, with the clerkship class of 2021 being one of our largest yet. Bar Passage rates are currently at 93.70% (as of 3/25/22).  

You can find our alumni in all 50 states and around the globe. And because our alumni graduate with a far less debt load then the average law student—named a Best Value Law school for nine years in a row—you’ll have the freedom to practice the type of law you want, where you want. 

Learn more about career placement and bar passage at University of Iowa College of Law

Tuition and Aid

Iowa Law is committed to making sure that your tuition dollars are a solid investment in your future. We keep costs down—all JD students can qualify for in-state tuition in their second and third years through our Research Assistant program. Our commitment to keeping law school affordable has earned it a Best Value ranking by the National Jurist for five years and counting. 

Learn more about tuition & aid at University of Iowa College of Law

Admission Decisions: Beyond the Numbers

Personal Statement:  The College of Law requires applicants to submit a Personal Statement.  This essay should be one-to-three pages in length.  The Personal Statement is designed to inform the Enrollment Management Committee of the reasons why the applicant needs a law degree, which professional problems the applicant wants to be a part of solving, and which skill sets a law degree will cultivate within the applicant’s array of problem-solving skill sets.  The Personal Statement should focus on the professional need for a law degree.

Letters of Recommendation:  The College of Law requires applicants to submit at least two (no more than three) Letters of Recommendation.  Letters should come from professors or other individuals who know the applicant well, and can comment on the applicant’s critical thinking, writing skills and potential for success in law school.  The Enrollment Management Committee prefers to see at least one Letter of Recommendation from professorial sources, but non-professorial sources will be accepted.

Additional Addendum:  Multiple criteria are used to initially determine whether an applicant’s admission will best advance The College’s mission.  Two criteria of significant importance are undergraduate academic record (Cumulative Undergraduate Grade Point Average) and performance on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT.)  The College recognizes, however, that there’re are circumstances in which these numerical criteria do not accurately reflect an applicant’s potential and that exclusive reliance upon these two factors would result in an incomplete assessment of an applicant’s ability to succeed in the study of law, to develop skills as a leader, and to enrich the learning experience of fellow students.  Therefore, a “numbers plus” admissions policy has been developed to evaluate an applicant’s total suitability for admission.

The “numbers-plus” designation is intended to emphasize that numerical indicators are not disregarded for any applicant, but rather are supplemented by consideration of other non-quantifiable factors that may provide a more accurate picture of an applicant’s overall potential for the study and practice of law.

For example, if an applicant can substantiate that standardized test scores are not predictive of an applicant’s academic performance in law school, The Enrollment Management Committee may give proportionately greater weight to the Cumulative Undergraduate Grade Point Average (CUGPA.)

Other factors that The Enrollment Management Committee may take into consideration include:  Special academic or professional abilities not reflected in one’s GPA; disability or serious health factor affecting prior academic performance; extracurricular activities; exceptional school-year work commitments necessitated by family financial circumstances; post-baccalaureate academic success (including graduate study); public service commitment; law-related employment experience; leadership in groups historically underrepresented in the legal profession; educational or socioeconomic disadvantage; primary language other than English; unusual motivation or perseverance in overcoming obstacles to study law; and any other relevant information concerning potential for law study brought to the attention of The Committee that relates to an applicant’s qualifications for academic potential. 

Candidates wishing to call The Enrolment Management Committee’s attention to any of the above factors may do so by submitting a separate addendum with the application.

Learn more about admission at University of Iowa College of Law

Admitted Applicant Profile

25-75% UGPA Range at Iowa:

3.50 to 3.83

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Iowa:

160 to 164

120
135
150
165
180

25-75% UGPA Range at Iowa:

3.50 to 3.83

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Iowa:

160 to 164

120
135
150
165
180

25-75% UGPA Range at Iowa:

3.50 to 3.83

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Iowa:

160 to 164

120
135
150
165
180

Contact Information

280 Boyd Law Building,
Iowa City, IA 52242,
United States