Judicial Field Placements
Through a judicial field placement, Iowa Law offers students the unique opportunity to work closely with and learn from a judge while in law school. Students in a judicial field placement gain firsthand experience witnessing the judicial process. At the same time, students refine their legal research and writing skills under the tutelage of an experienced judge and their judicial clerks. In this role students gain insight into the perspectives of judges --- an insight that can transfer to students’ future roles as attorneys crafting briefs and counseling clients. Iowa Law offers numerous field placements, both at trial and appellate courts, and in both federal and state court.
Full-Time, Semester-Away Externships
Iowa Law’s Field Placement Program allows students to work full-time in immersive field placements away from the law school. Through a semester-away Field Placement, students can become embedded in the work of the law office and work closely with practicing attorneys. Past students have spent semesters away from the law school in the following placements and states:
- Bronx District Attorney’s Office (Bronx, NY)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta, GA)
- Colorado Legal Services (Denver, CO)
- Department of Defense Office of Military Commissions (Washington, DC)
- El Paso County Public Defender (El Paso, TX)
- Federal Public Defender (Yakima, WA)
- Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee (Milwaukee, WI)
- New Jersey State Public Defender’s Office (Camden, NJ)
- U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, DC)
- U.S. Attorney’s Office (Minneapolis, MN)
- U.S. Attorney’s Office (Nashville, TN)
The Washington, DC Field Placement Program provides students an opportunity to spend a semester in DC with a cohort of classmates while acquiring exposure to the unique legal environment of the Nation's Capital.
Law students in their final semester of law school may opt to participate in the New York Pro Bono Scholars Program (NYPBSP). The NYPBSP is a unique and innovative program developed by the New York Court of Appeals intended to better assist students in preparing for the actual practice of law, impress upon them the value of public service at the start of their careers, and provide much-needed assistance to those of limited means in our state.
Because spending a semester away entails careful class planning, students interested in a semester-away externship should schedule a meeting with the Field Placement Director, Professor June Tai, to discuss their options as soon as possible in their law school careers.
Part-time, Local Field Placements
The Field Placement Program works closely with local organizations to arrange part-time, pre-approved field placements for academic credit. These externships are with government, judicial, or corporate counsel offices in the Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Quad Cities, or Des Moines area. Students typically work between 14-20 hours per week and arrange classes on the other days on campus.
Each semester, the Field Placement Program sets an initial deadline for submission of application materials (typically in early October for spring semester and late April for the following fall semester). After the initial deadline has past, students may still apply on a rolling basis for remaining placements. The last day to enroll in the fall semester Field Placement Program is August 1; the last day to enroll in the spring Field Placement Program is January 3.
Spring 2023 Field Placements
"As an aspiring litigator, I knew early on that I wanted to work for a judge. Iowa’s Field Placement Program allowed me to do just that during my 2L year, and I was fortunate enough to spend my spring semester with Chief Judge Sara Darrow in the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois. My time with Judge Darrow exposed me to a novel side of the law and imparted me with invaluable lessons that I will carry into practice. From learning how judges and clerks perceive varied attorney conduct, to challenging me to become a more concise, deliberate writer: My experience with the judiciary was unparalleled—leaving me more well-rounded in April than I was in January!"