Field Placements, also referred to as externships, are one of the College of Law's experiential learning programs. They enable students to perform legal tasks in a professional setting. Iowa Law recognizes the critical importance of creating opportunities for students to exercise and develop judgement, practical knowledge, professional skills and professional identity.
"I cannot recommend enough an externship experience. The externship programs are incredibly helpful in preparing students to become successful attorneys. I had the opportunity to work in-house at John Deere Financial and at the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Iowa. These experiences helped me to put into practice the knowledge I acquired in the classrooms. At John Deere, I had the opportunity to participate in meetings and research issues which gave me an insight into the clients’ perspective of legal issues. In addition, working with Judge Collins provided me with the perspective of seeing the law from the judge’s eyes."
Each field placement is for the full semester, and scheduling each week is arranged between the student and the field placement site. For placements outside of the greater Iowa City area, on-site scheduling is usually arranged for two or three full days (depending on the crediting). Full-time away placements are possible, but students must meet with Professor Tai to discuss planning and logistics.
Summer Legal Placements
Rising 2L and 3L students may arrange summer field placements for academic credit with government agencies, non-profit organizations, and in judicial chambers. Students perform field work and participate in an online faculty-guided course. Students may also request approval to earn academic credit for work performed through volunteer internships with government agencies, non-profit organizations, and in judicial chambers outside Iowa.
Academic Year Placements
Academic year externships may be arranged on a part-time, local basis or on a full-time semester away basis. Students earn one academic credit for every 50 hours worked in their placement. In addition, during the academic year, students are required to enroll in the accompanying field placement seminar class or tutorial, which earns an additional two credits. Students can also seek approval for externships that they locate for academic credit.
Washington, DC Field Placement Program
Over the years, many Iowa Law students have spent a semester away from Iowa City to pursue a field placement in other cities. The DC 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.
New York Pro Bono Scholars Program
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.
Iowa Law students have participated in the performance of legal work in:
- Federal Public Defender
- Iowa Attorney General
- Consumer Protection
- Criminal Appeals
- Environmental Law Division
- Licensing & Administrative Law
- Regents Division
- Iowa State Appellate Defender
- Linn County Attorney
- U.S. Attorney's Office, N.D. Iowa - Civil
- U.S. Attorney's Office, S.D. Iowa - Civil & Criminal
Nonprofit Legal Services
- HELP Legal Aid
- Iowa Legal Aid
- Iowa State Education Association
- Kids First Law Center
- MacArthur Justice Center
- New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative, Inc.
- Prairie State Legal Services, Inc.
- Student Legal Services
- Hon. Brent Appel, Iowa Supreme Court
- Hon. Celeste Bremer, U.S. Magistrate Judge, S.D. Iowa
- Hon. Thad Collins, Chief Judge, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, N.D. Iowa
- Hon. Sarah Darrow, Chief Judge, U.S. District Court, C.D. Illinois
- Hon. Stephen B. Jackson, Jr., U.S. Magistrate Judge, S.D. Iowa
- Hon. Matthew McDermott, Iowa Supreme Court
- Hon. Christopher McDonald, Iowa Supreme Court
- Hon. Dana Oxley, Iowa Supreme Court
- Hon. Thomas Waterman, Iowa Supreme Court
- Hon. C.J. Williams, U.S. District Court Judge, N.D. Iowa
Corporate Counsel Placements
- ACT, Inc.
- Deere & Company
- Global Law Services Group
- Global Intellectual Property Services
- New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative, Inc.
- University of Iowa Health Care
Crediting for the field placement is comprised of two parts:
- Each student earns 1-2 credits (graded) for successful completion of the class associated with the placement and taught by a law school faculty member; and
- Each student earns credits associated with the field work as indicated in the placement listing or as arranged based on hours worked (pass/fail).
Students may also separately apply for and propose a placement for credit. Students interested in proposing a placement or with questions about the field placement program generally should schedule a meeting with Professor Tai using Calendly.
In addition to earning credit for their field work, students in field placements take a class or tutorial, led by a faculty member, designed to maximize and supplement the experiential learning.
1. Meet with field placement director
Before submitting applications, you must meet with Prof. June Tai to discuss your goals and interests. Appointments may be scheduled via Calendly: https://calendly.com/jttai. Students will be limited to applying for their top three choices and careful planning will help to fit your goals to the anticipated work in the placement.
2. Review the following information:
3. Apply for a field placement
There are two ways students may apply for a field placement:
- Participate in the Field Placement Program's placement process for pre-approved placements; or
- Apply for externships separately and receive approval for academic credit from the Field Placement Director.
4. Have questions about application process?
Questions regarding posting and bidding on law school arranged field placements, submitting applications forms for field placements, and other logistical aspects of the program may additionally be directed to Amanda Bibb, Program Coordinator.