Students interested in civil litigation have opportunities to focus on this area of study through both advanced coursework and experiential training. Many courses in this area combine theory with practice applications and simulation exercises. Students also learn the problem-solving skills necessary to be a successful litigator.
Iowa Law faculty are internationally known for their expertise in civil litigation, trial advocacy, and alternative dispute resolution. Faculty scholarship examines subjects such as complex litigation, evidence theory, litigation finance, and international and domestic arbitration.
Iowa Law’s Clinical Law Programs provide a window to legal practice while still in law school. Students enrolled in the clinic work on cases supervised by full-time faculty members and have primary responsibility for representing clients at all stages of the legal process, including interviewing and counseling clients, investigating matters, taking depositions, drafting documents, making courtroom appearances, and negotiating with opposing counsel. Specific practice areas relating to civil litigation include consumer rights, disability rights, and immigration.
Other opportunities to refine advocacy skills include Trial Advocacy and participation in cocurricular appellate advocacy in either of Iowa’s two moot court competitions: the Van Oosterhout-Baskerville Domestic Competition and the Jessup International Moot Court Competition.
Beyond the first-year Civil Procedure, Torts, Contracts, and Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research courses, the foundational courses for students interested in civil litigation are Evidence, Professional Responsibility, Federal Courts, Trial Advocacy, Appellate Advocacy, Complex Litigation, Negotiation, and Mediation.
Evidence introduces the rules that govern the presentation of evidence at trial. This includes everything from examination of witnesses and authentication of documents to complex rules of hearsay and impeachment.
Professional Responsibility examines the public and private ethical responsibilities of litigators, as well as those who work in the legal profession more broadly.
Federal Courts considers the role that federal courts play in our system of government, with specific emphasis on the federal courts’ original and appellate jurisdiction, Supreme Court review of state courts’ judgments, Congress’ power to strip the federal courts of jurisdiction, and the development of federal common law.
Trial Advocacy affords students opportunities to refine their skills in the preparation and trial of civil cases. Students are on their feet most class sessions, practicing the arts of jury selection, opening and closing statements, direct and cross examination, introduction of exhibits, and the use of expert testimony. The course culminates in a full-scale trial. For those interested in appellate work, Iowa Law offers many options for appellate advocacy, including appellate advocacy competitions that specialize in intellectual property law and international law.
Complex Litigation covers class actions and mass actions – the most complex, consequential, and politically charged areas of civil litigation.
Negotiation and Mediation—both of which are taught experientially with students simulating negotiations and mediations in different contexts—complement Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research by teaching the other critical skill set for litigators: settling a case.
Parallel to Iowa Law’s course offerings in civil litigation are the Iowa Law Legal Clinic and Field Placement Program, which provide intensive and hands-on experiential training. Students working in the clinic and at field placements may appear before state and federal courts, immigration tribunals, juvenile courts, and other forums. These opportunities equip students with advocacy and counseling skills that will serve them throughout their careers.
Courses & Programs
- Civil Procedure
- Legal Analysis, Writing & Research
- Federal Courts
- Professional Responsibility
- Trial Advocacy
- Administrative Law
- Advanced Legal Research
- Advanced Trial Advocacy
- Appellate Advocacy
- Applied Evidence
- Arbitration Principles and Practices
- National Arbitration Advocacy Competition Team
- Complex Litigation
- Compliance, Ethics, and Risk Management
- Conflict of Laws
- Corporate Compliance Overview
- Client Counseling
- Interest-Based Negotiations for Lawyers
- International Commercial Arbitration
- IP Advocacy
- Judicial Remedies
- Juries and Jury Selection
- Mediation: Theory and Practice
- Moot Court
- Patent Prosecution
- Pre-Litigation Drafting
- Sex-Based Discrimination
- Tax Practice and Procedure
Technology in Law Practice