Law Preprofessional Program
Law is a professional degree program and is not offered as an undergraduate major, but students applying to Iowa may declare a pre-law designation on their application to receive specialized advising and preparatory course work as undergraduates. This designation means you eventually intend to apply to a law school.
Why Study at Iowa?
The University of Iowa College of Law has a reputation for excellence. U.S.News & World Report consistently ranks the college in the top 10 public law schools.
The college was the first public law school established west of the Mississippi River when founded in 1865. It also was a founding member of the Association of American Law Schools. Graduates and faculty include:
- Many distinguished members of the federal, state, and tribal judiciaries
- One of the first women to graduate from law school
- One of the first African Americans to graduate from law school
- The first U.S. attorney of Native American ancestry
The college offers a broad and diverse curriculum with particular strengths in public law, international and comparative law, antitrust and economic regulation, intellectual property, and corporate law. Iowa's emphasis on legal writing throughout all three years of study is recognized natioanlly.
Students gain a solid foundation for a lifetime of professional growth, including a thorough familiarity with legal principles and the operation of legal institutions, fundamental lawyers’ skills (particularly writing), and an appreciation of the roles of law and lawyers in society.
The college cultivates student participation in the learning process and creates regular opportunities for individuals and small groups to engage challenging teachers genuinely interested in each student’s professional development.
The College of Law considers applicants with any undergraduate major. If you declare a pre-law designation as an undergraduate student, you will work with a pre-law adviser at the Academic Advising Center.
Iowa strongly endorses three educational objectives recommended by a committee of the Association of American Law Schools:
- Comprehension and expression in words
- A critical understanding of the human institutions and values with which the law deals
- Greater power in thinking
While planning your undergraduate study, keep these objectives in mind. Don’t sacrifice a broad perspective in order to pursue detailed specialization right now.
Once admitted to the JD program, first-year students take a defined curriculum in the fundamental workings of the law and legal principles. In years two and three, students are exposed to a broad array of substantive areas of the law, along with a heavy dose of professional skills training in fact gathering, interviewing, counseling, drafting, transaction planning, negotiation, and litigation. They also concentrate course work on writing and research opportunities in their particular areas of interest. Students also have many opportunities to develop and practice leadership skills.
See College of Law in the UI General Catalog to learn more about the JD and LLM degrees and for detailed information about admission to the College of Law.
Before beginning law school, you must complete all the requirements for your undergraduate degree. Review our Areas of Study to see the admission requirements associated with your undergraduate degree program.
Admission to the College of Law is competitive, and fulfilling the basic admission requirements does not guarantee acceptance. Multiple admission criteria are used to determine which applicants’ admission will best advance the College of Law’s mission. Your undergraduate academic record and Law School Admission Test (LSAT) performance are two important criteria.
In the College of Law's most recent entering class, the median Grade-Point Average (GPA) was 3.64 and the median LSAT score was 162. The college recognizes that GPA and test scores may not provide a complete assessment of an applicant’s ability to succeed at studying law, so the admission committee also considers factors such as special academic or professional abilities, extracurricular activities, law-related employment experience, public service commitment, and leadership roles.
There is a Law Study and Legal Careers Living-Learning Community in the UI residence halls for first-year students interested in pre-law.
Faculty, Facilities, and Resources
The college is housed in the Boyd Law Building, high above the western bank of the Iowa River. Small seminar rooms, a newly renovated clinic suite, and special-purpose learning areas are situated throughout the building, allowing students and faculty members to work together in close professional interaction. The largest classroom seats only 100 people. The student lounge, faculty lounge, and faculty offices are located on the same floor, encouraging interaction between students and faculty members.
The University of Iowa Law Library offers an exceptional legal research collection of print and electronic resources relating to U.S. domestic, international, foreign, and comparative law. One of the most comprehensive collections of legal materials in the country, it contains more than 1.3 million bound volumes and microform equivalents and over 1 million separately cataloged titles as of July 2012.
Particular strengths of the library's collection include U.S. legal materials and government documents, Iowa government documents, legal materials of Great Britain and the present and former British Commonwealth nations, and the laws of Germany, France, and Mexico.
College of Law graduates build meaningful and significant lives by integrating rigorous legal training with rich professional and civic engagement. Overall, about half of the college’s living alumni work in private practice, while others use their law degrees to work in the judiciary or in health care, public policy and government, business, and education.
The college works with each student who is seeking employment. Individual and small-group counseling is available from the career services staff as well as from alumni. Each year about 92 percent of law graduates are employed nine months after graduation, and bar exam passage rates typically exceed 90 percent.
Employers view College of Law students and alumni as high-quality, hard-working, and engaged employees. Each year, nearly 150 employers recruit students through on-campus and consortium-based interview programs. In addition, students create successful paths in judicial clerkships, government, public service, business, and education by networking with alumni and pursuing meaningful work during their first and second summers in law school.
The college to which you should apply for your undergraduate degree will vary depending on your major. Review the Areas of Study to determine the application process associated with that major. Indicate your "Pre-Law" interest on your application to receive specialized advising.