In the Law Clinic at Iowa Law, students act as attorneys, not interns. They learn necessary skills that cut across practice areas, from client interviewing and case theory development to cultural competence and resilience. Students have primary responsibility for the representation of their clients at all stages of the legal process and learn to use and trust their legal judgment.
The Law Clinic functions like a single law firm with six distinct practice groups: Federal Criminal Defense, Civil & Employment Litigation, Estate Planning, Law & Policy in Action, Immigration, and the Community Empowerment Law Project. The Legal Clinic is unique in that students can choose to focus on one area of law or explore different interests by participating in two practice groups.
Recent clinic students have:
- Taken depositions and successfully represented clients in mediation to settle their employment discrimination claims
- Conducted drive-in and outdoor will signing ceremonies during the pandemic
- Filed successful motions under the First Step Act of 2018 for reduced sentences based on crack-cocaine sentencing disparities
- Designed an advocacy plan that led to the creation and passage of Iowa City’s hate crime ordinance
- Argued a case before the Iowa Supreme Court about preemption and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program
- Advocated at the Iowa statehouse in support of legislation to strengthen protections for mobile home owners
Law Clinic Practice Areas
Federal Criminal Defense Clinic
Represent indigent individuals charged with federal crimes in the US District Courts of Iowa and engage in post-conviction and decarceration litigation in the US Courts of Appeals for the Eighth and Sixth Circuits.
Provide basic estate planning and document preparation services for clients and families, as well as interactive workshops on wills, trusts, financial and medical directives, and guardianships and conservatorships.
Represent juveniles and adults in deportation/ removal proceedings and affirmative applications, including humanitarian relief, legal permanent resident status, and naturalization, and advocate on legal and policy issues affecting the civil rights of immigrants and their communities.
Community Empowerment Law Project
Advance racial, economic, and social justice in Iowa through collaborative representation of organizations, communities, and government entities in transactional and policy matters, including strategic planning, design of advocacy campaigns, and legislative drafting.
Civil & Employment Litigation
Represent clients in a wide range of civil matters before Iowa state courts and administrative agencies, with a focus on advocacy for workers in employment matters, including race and gender discrimination, wage theft, and unemployment insurance claims.
Law & Policy in Action
Partner with grassroots organizations, non-profits, businesses and public officials to solve recurring, systemic problems that cannot be adequately addressed through litigation. Provide representation, research, policy analysis and legislative advocacy, and conduct workshops to empower communities, Combat discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals, children and adults with disabilities, and other marginalized groups, in housing, healthcare, transportation, education, employment, and other matters.