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Drake University Law School

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Drake University Law School
Parent school Drake University
Established 1865
Dean Allan Vestal
Location Des Moines, IA, US
Enrollment 400
Faculty (See List)
Annual tuition
Outlines 0 (See List)
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Drake University Law School is located in Des Moines, IA

Drake University Law School is a fully accredited law school of Drake University, located in Des Moines, Iowa. The school has over 400 full-time students. The school is presently led by Dean Allan Vestal.[1][2][3] The most recent edition of US News and World Report's Best Law Schools ranked Drake in the third tier out of four among ABA accredited law schools and second in the state of Iowa. [4]


Established in 1865 by Chester C.Cole, a justice of the of Iowa Supreme Court, Drake Law is one of the twenty-five oldest law schools in the country and the second law school founded west of the Mississippi River after Saint Louis University. Justice Cole felt that having a law school located in the state capital would be advantageous. That notion proved to be correct. In time, Drake Law alumni would fill the ranks of all branches of Iowa local and state government. This alumni base, combined with the school's physical location, permit a large portion of the student body to participate in long-term governmental internships.


In addition to the full-scale, three-year, Juris Doctor program, the law school features the following special programs:

  • Drake Law Review
  • Drake Journal of Agricultural Law
  • 5 Research Centers
  • Certificate programs in several fields
  • Civil and Criminal Clinical Programs
  • Multiple Moot Court and Mock Trial teams
  • Summer in France Program
  • Summer Institute in Constitutional Law (for entering 1L's)

Opperman Lecture Series

The Dwight D. Opperman Lecture series, endowed by the former CEO of West Publishing and Drake Alumnus, is an annual event of national importance in constitutional law. Several Supreme Court Justices have visited campus to deliver lectures on American jurisprudence. Numerous current and former United States Supreme Court Justices have delivered the Opperman Lecture, including Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Stephen Breyer, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, and late Justices Harry A. Blackmun, Lewis F. Powell and William H. Rehnquist.

Success of Drake Law Review

As of September 2011, the Drake Law Review is ranked among the top 40 law reviews nationally for the number of times courts have cited its articles, is ranked #235 in "Impact Factor, is ranked #124 in the number of times cited by other journals, and is rated #199 in "Currency Factor."

The rankings, compiled by John Doyle of the Washington and Lee Law School Library, show the Drake Law Review had 60 citations, according to the 2008 data. Drake is in the top group of more than 1,400 journals in the rankings, which are available at

The Drake Law Review is published quarterly by Drake law students. In the past few years, the Drake Law Review has published articles by a number of distinguished legal scholars and judges, including: Erwin Chemerinsky, Cass Sunstein, Randy Barnett, Cheryl Harris, Paul Brest, Stephen Carter, Michael Gerhardt, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., and Stephen Rapp (Chief Prosecutor of the United Nations Special Court for Sierra Leone).

Notable alumni

Drake Law has graduated numerous significant lawyers, including several state/federal judges and politicians, including: