Ambition and Civility

Are Not Mutually Exclusive

Year 1

Year 1

Foundation for a Career


Year 2

Year 2

Specialize in Your Interests


Year 3

Year 3

They Call You "Counselor"


News | Events

Alex Lodge, Class of 2016

Law + chemistry = perfect career formula: Recent law grad Alex Lodge plans to combine academic backgrounds through chemistry/biotechnology patent prosecution

By: Hayley Bruce  |  2016.07.14  |  Complete Article at:

The thought of attending law school had always lingered in the back of Alex Lodge’s mind. 

But it wasn’t until after he had completed an undergraduate degree at Grambling State University in Louisiana—and was in the process of finishing a doctorate in chemistry at the University of Iowa—that Lodge realized he could effectively combine a Ph.D. in chemistry with a J.D.  

“My first exposure was during a summer undergraduate internship in the research labs at Procter & Gamble, when they had us meet with their patent group,” Lodge says. “That’s when I first realized I could have a background in the hard sciences, but also pursue law.”

After earning a Ph.D., Lodge was admitted to the UI College of Law, where he quickly immersed himself in the areas of intellectual property practice and patent law.

“I had heard a lot of really great things about Iowa Law, and I was particularly attracted to the patent moot court team that had recently won a national competition,” Lodge says. “I did some more research on where Iowa Law stood in that area, and decided I was already here, I was already very involved in the Iowa City community, and Iowa is a great law school, so it was a no-brainer to come here if I could get in.”

He did get in, and once he began his studies, Lodge joined the Patent Moot Court Team (which later qualified for the national championship) and used his legal experience to continue his work as a community advocate through his involvement in the Black Law Students Association (BLSA).

Through BLSA, Lodge teamed up with his classmate Crystal Pound to develop a “Street Law” program to teach area minority youth and college students about their Fourth Amendment rights.

“It was more of a response to what was happening on a national scale between African-Americans and law enforcement,” Lodge says, adding the pair taught five 45-minute courses to area youth as well as a workshop for about 50 students under the mentorship of Iowa Law Professor Emily Hughes.

“We saw it as a way to help educate and empower African-American teens, who tend to be at the highest risk of having their Fourth Amendment rights violated due to a disproportionate amount of police contact,” he says.

Lodge also worked as a research assistant for UI Law Professor Jason Rantanen, and did some legal work alongside an in-house counsel at a biotech startup on the UI’s Oakdale Campus as a first-year student. In his second year, he completed a summer externship at Foley & Lardner in Madison, Wisconsin, where he worked closely with patent prosecutors to prepare communications sent to the Patent & Trademark Office patent examiners.

Aside from his extracurricular experience, Lodge says he’ll continue to draw on the lessons he learned from the faculty who encouraged him to think beyond the outcome of a case.

“Some of the courses I’ll remember most are those that went beyond studying the cases, and examined the other dynamics that impacted them—why the laws existed in the first place, which communities were impacted by them, and why some laws aren’t actually that great,” Lodge says, referencing Professor Angela Onwuachi-Willig's Critical Race Theory course. “They pushed you to think beyond the outcome of a case and think of every other lens that’s there.”

Lodge graduated from the UI College of Law in May 2016. And, though he’ll spend his summer studying for the Wisconsin bar exam, he’s looking forward to starting his patent prosecution job back at Foley & Lardner where he’ll combine his degrees to focus on chemistry and biotechnology patent prosecution.

Leonard A. Sandler

Iowa Law Professor Len Sandler and Law and Policy In Action Clinic law students develop report on the Trans experience in Iowa

Len Sandler, clinical professor of law, and a team of law students in the Rainbow Health Legal Clinic, recently completed a report that examines and provides a legal, cultural, and historical context about discrimination that transgender individuals have experienced both in Iowa and across the country.

Working with clinic law students George Fitting, Derek Tran, Bradyn Fairclough, Jeff Brunelle, and Tom Wisniewski, Sandler conducted a literature review, analyzed national and local surveys, statistics, reports, media accounts and scholarly articles, and interviewed advocates and experts. The group also worked with local, state, and national organizations that support transgender rights and conduct research on the topic to prepare the report. Clinic Secretary Mishelle Eckland assisted with formatting, as well as logistics.

The hope, Sandler says, is that this information will begin to help those across Iowa begin to understand the transgender experience, and that, as humans, we’re all more similar than we may initially perceive.

“Even though the statistics and vignettes in this report are sobering, I want people to be hopeful,” Sandler says. “This report will be a valuable tool that can be used by individuals, organizations and institutions to advocate for fair and just treatment for transgender people across the state.”

For the complete report, see PDF iconWhere Do I Fit In -- A Snapshot of Transgender Discrimination.

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kailash Satyarthi

Iowa Law Professor Lea VanderVelde to lead dialogue session about Domestic Slavery as part of 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Forum

Lea VanderVelde, Josephine R. Witte Chair, Professor of Law at the University of Iowa will lead a dialogue session about Domestic Slavery in Minnesota and the Northwest as part of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize forum on Monday, June 6.

VanderVelde — who has long held ties to Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kailash Satyarthi and played a part in his nomination for several years until his selection in 2014 — is one of several experts on issues related to slavery scheduled to speak during the three day forum in Bloomington, Minnesota.

As a leading expert on the Dred Scott v. Sandford case — which brought national attention to slavery when the U.S. Constitution prevented Congress from banning it — VanderVelde will discuss the invisibility of domestic slavery through the lens of the Dred Scott just miles from where his story took place.

VanderVelde first met Satyarthi through her research interest in combatting slavery. She later visited him in India, where she learned more about his organization, Bachpan Bachao Andolan, which means “Save Childhood Movement.”

For more information on the forum and VanderVelde’s dialogue session “You Never Know Where You May Find Domestic Slavery – Slavery in Minnesota and the Northwest before the Civil War,” visit the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Forum’s website:

Megan Horst

Shipping out from the College of Law: Iowa Law student set for career in Navy JAG

Megan Horst has always loved traveling the world, but the Vinton, Iowa, native never imagined her passion for exploring would land her in law school—or the U.S. Navy, no less.

Horst, a second-year student in the University of Iowa College of Law, decided to attend law school because she loves learning and was interested in the challenges that studying law would present her with.

Megan HorstBut it wasn’t until she began taking courses at Iowa Law—where she sat in on a presentation about opportunities in the Navy JAG Corps—that she realized she could travel the world by way of her J.D. She inquired about internship opportunities and was encouraged to apply.

The U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps provides commanders, sailors, and Navy families with targeted legal solutions wherever and whenever required to enable effective naval and joint operations.

“I applied because I really wanted to spend more time abroad,” Horst says. “I studied in Portugal in undergrad, and I wanted to go back to Europe because I’ve lived in Iowa my whole life. This was a job that would force me to move and experience new cultures.”

Horst landed an internship with the U.S. Navy JAG Corps at the Sigonella Naval Air Station in Italy last summer, where she advised officers and various commands on matters of naval law, as well as personal legal issues, such as drafting wills. Much of her time was spent on legal research related to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, a legal system entirely new to her.

“One day we might be discussing what to do about an issue with stray dogs on the base, and the next we would discuss our aircraft flight schedule with the Italian Air Force,” Horst says. “Because you’re the only legal counsel on site, you get to know everything about how the military base functions. I learned a lot about the operational side of the Navy and grew to love military culture just as much as Italian culture.”

Horst returned to Iowa Law to complete her legal education last fall, and she’s already secured a job with the Navy JAG Corps after graduation in May 2017. And she says she has her instructors and peers to thank for that.

“What’s impacted me most is the fact that I’ve built relationships with certain faculty who are really helping me figure out what I want to do,” Horst says. “When I was evaluating internship opportunities, I had people to discuss the pros and cons with who were always asking me about my next step and my next goal and providing mentorship. The faculty here really help foster that.”

Horst says Iowa Law’s faculty also are proactive, providing learning experiences outside of the classroom, and she’s benefitted from being invited to sit in on criminal-defense trials and help faculty, like Todd Pettys, professor of law at the UI, with research.

But most of all, Horst says her time at Iowa Law has helped her learn what it means to be a lawyer—to build trust, to verify facts, and to accept criticism so she can continue to improve.

“The work we do here matters,” Horst says of her legal education. “As a lawyer, you have to learn to be confident and competent because you’re charged with handling someone else’s legal issues. At first it can seem pretty overwhelming, but it’s important to check and verify when you don’t know the answer to something. You have to gain your client’s trust to do a good job.”

Horst plans to take the bar exam before she begins her naval-officer training in Rhode Island. Once her training is complete, she’ll be on active duty, where she’ll gain experience in command services, legal assistance, defense counsel, and prosecution in six-month rotations.

And those back at Iowa Law will be encouraging her from afar.

“It’s such an honor to be part of Megan’s life during her time here at the College of Law,” says Pettys, for whom Horst works as a research assistant. “She is smart, poised, humble, and well-grounded. From the very first conversation I ever had with her, I’ve been struck by the great degree to which she has a knack for living a full, meaningful life. She’s a tremendous credit to this university, just as she will be to the Navy JAG.”

Horst says she’s ready for her next great adventure.

“My time at Iowa Law has taught me that I can truly do whatever I want with a law degree,” Horst says. “I’m really proud of the fact that I’ve taken advantage of the opportunities law school has to offer, and I’m ready for the next challenge.”

Complete Article available at:

Contact: Hayley Bruce, Office of Strategic Communication, 319-384-0072

Year 1

The foundation of your career

Personal Attention    Writing Faculty    Faculty Student Ratio

Building legal skills, learning to think like a lawyer, gaining the tools to practice with integrity.

In your first year, we emphasize essential writing skills, analytical thinking, and a sharpened understanding of the role of legal institutions. You’ll take full advantage of our being one of the few law schools in the nation with a full-time legal writing faculty. 

First-year students will have two, small-section courses each semester with the professors in our Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research department. These classes deliver intensive, individualized instruction, with three to six conferences per term devoted to your legal writing projects.

Year 2

Specialize in your interests

Citizen Lawyer    Moot Court    Externships

Develop your knowledge, with an expanded focus on the areas of law you’re most drawn to. The experts are here.
In your second year, you’ll begin to gravitate toward the areas that interest you most. Our faculty are experts across the legal spectrum, and every aspect of modern law practice is covered, including international and comparative law.
Iowa Law’s Citizen Lawyer Program offers a wide variety of opportunities for pro bono work, community service, and philanthropic projects. Another way students extend their education beyond the classroom, developing professional skills is through a variety of moot court competitions—and Iowa consistently prepares winning moot court teams.
In our externship program, we place students in a variety of legal settings. Externships are the best preparation for your career, and a great way to make professional contacts. In fact, many students’ first job after graduating is one that began as an externship.

Year 3

They call you "Counselor"

Law Review    Legal Clinic    Study Abroad

Build your professional identity and accumulate deep experience in a supportive environment. Practice makes practitioners.
By the time you reach your third year, you’ll take advantage of an array of opportunities, putting into practice the cutting-edge legal theory and core doctrinal concepts you’ve mastered in your first two years. Perhaps you’ll work in the “Bullpen” in our legal clinic. Every year our students provide thousands of hours to underserved clients and other special-needs populations, representing clients and honing their legal skills under close faculty supervision.
Iowa Law is also home to four student-run law journals. Many students write for a journal during their second year and accept board positions during their third year.