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University of Iowa College of Law

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University of Iowa College of Law
Location Iowa City, IA, US
Faculty (See List)
Annual tuition
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University of Iowa College of Law is located in Iowa City, IA

The University of Iowa College of Law is one of the eleven professional graduate schools at the University of Iowa, located in Iowa City, Iowa. Founded in 1865, it is the oldest law school in continuous operation west of the Mississippi River. The law school was ranked as the 27th best law school in the United States in the 2012 U.S. News and World Report Top Law School rankings.[1] The law school is consistently ranked in the top ten most distinguished public law schools in the US.


The law school offers a rich curriculum covering the full range of contemporary legal education, with an especially significant concentration of courses organized in 2 areas: (1) the International and Comparative Law Program (ICLP), and (2) the Innovation, Business & Law Program. The College has a strong program of clinical legal education, and it offers a small but well regarded LLM program in International and Comparative Law.

In conjunction with the change in deans in 2004, the law school has embraced the opportunity to engage in substantial curriculum reform, especially in the first year curriculum and LAWR instructors. The reform is intended to strengthen Iowa's historically strong commitment to the teaching of legal writing. The other principal change to the first year has been adoption of a one-course elective in the second semester.

Iowa surpasses the ABA minimum standards for student contact with faculty. The law school has a high course requirement for graduation (84 credit hours), a long semester (14 weeks), and a long classroom period (60 minutes). The law school traditionally required its full time faculty to teach 12 credit hrs per year (usually 4 courses). The high course load for professors results in a large number of low-enrollment courses, and therefore more opportunities for faculty/student interaction in those classes. As a result, legal education at Iowa involves a high level of contact with faculty and considerably more than many of Iowa's peer schools.

The law school has a distinguished faculty with a strong tradition of substantial and significant scholarship and self-governance as well as strong commitments to teaching and service. Most faculty take faculty committee work quite seriously.

Iowa Law School is said to have graduate the first female law student in 1873 by the name of Mary Beth Hickey.[2] The second woman to graduate Iowa law was Mary Humphrey Haddok in 1875, who later became the first woman admitted to practice before the U.S. District and Circuit Courts.[3]

For the class entering in 2006, the law school enjoyed a rise of over 30 percent in its applicant pool, even though the national pool declined by almost 7 %. With its long tradition of concern for diversity, school does vigorous recruitment to enhance diversity and uses a numbers plus admissions process as well, which does a careful read of all files, and does not rely merely on numerical indicators.

Iowa has the advantage of very low in-state tuition, making the average debt of a 2010 graduate $87,891.[4] University policies enable out of state students to get in state tuition if they become a research assistant to a professor. The law school has been able to more than double the non-loan based financial aid it can make available to students and now offers that aid to about half of the class.

The law library has the second largest collection of volumes and volume equivalents and the second or third largest number of unique individual cataloged volume and volume equivalent titles among all law school libraries.[5] The law library is the crown jewel of the College, and indeed, of the University. It is technologically up to date, currently has the second largest number of different individually cataloged titles (third if only bound volumes are counted), and it has one of the most comprehensive collections of on-site legal materials in the country.

It contains over one million volumes and volume equivalents and is one of the largest and finest collections of print, microform, and electronic legal materials in the United States.[6] The collections of the Law Library cover all aspects of Anglo-American law. In addition the library has a very strong collection of foreign, international, and comparative law materials. The library also is fully computerized, both in its internal operations and in its public services, and provides hardwired and wireless access for library patrons to access an extensive range of computer research sources and library information.

The law school has sponsored, for more than 30 yrs, “Bridging the Gap,”[7] a minority pre-law conference held at the law school and participates in, and supports, CLEO and PLSI. The mission of the law school is to challenge students to set high standards for themselves and to strive for the best professional education they can obtain from the curriculum, the faculty, and the academic environment.

Facilities of special interest to law students include the $25 million law building that features state-of-the-art computer equipment, audiovisual technology, and 3 full scale courtrooms. All law school facilities are accessible to the physically disabled.

Students have access to federal, state, county, city and local agencies, courts, law firms, and legal aid organizations in the Iowa City area.

The Boyd Law Building has a central campus location on a bluff overlooking the Iowa River.

Degrees and areas of specialization

The College offers a JD program, the LLM in International and Comparative Law, as well as a Joint Degree program between the College of Law and other graduate and professional colleges.

Currently, the most popular joint degree objectives include JD/MA (Management), JD/MPH (Public Health), JD/MHA (Health Management & Policy), JD/MA or MS (Urban & Regional Planning), JD/MA (Journalism), and JD/PhD (Communication Studies).

Other graduate departments/colleges in which current law students are enrolled include Accounting, Biology, Chemistry, Economics, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Higher Education, History, Medicine, Philosophy, Political Science, Preventative Medicine and Environmental Health, Social Work, and Sociology.[8]

Law Journals

The Law School also features four academic journals, including the Iowa Law Review. The Iowa Law Review was founded in 1915 as the Iowa Law Bulletin, and has served as a scholarly legal journal, noting and analyzing developments in the law and suggesting future paths for the law to follow. The Iowa 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.


The College has approximately 10,000 alumni. While 40 percent of the alumni practice in the state of Iowa, other top states for the alumni include: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas, Wisconsin, and Virginia.

The alumni have an international presence with almost 200 alumni located outside the United States in the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, and Vietnam.