When Kevin Washburn arrived as the University of Iowa College of Law’s new dean two years ago, he was surprised by the low number of Iowa undergraduates staying at Iowa for law school.
“It was apparent that we were losing good Hawkeyes to other law schools, and we needed to find ways to keep that talent here in Iowa City,” said Washburn. “The University of Iowa is a strong institution and produces terrific graduates who already know that Iowa City is a great place to live and learn.”
The vow to improve local recruitment efforts resulted in a dramatic increase in 2020. This fall, 52 Iowa students joined the entering class, up from 30 Hawkeyes in the 2019 entering class.
A concerted effort produced the surge in local recruits. First, Washburn set about meeting with the faculties of some of the strong entry point programs across campus—philosophy, political science, and sociology/criminology, among others. He also reinstituted the Kinnick Law Program, which allows outstanding undergraduates at the University of Iowa to enter the College of Law without taking the LSAT. Iowa Law now has five Kinnick students (the most ever) and two students from Iowa in the 3+3 program, which allows undergrads to begin law school in their senior year and graduate with an undergrad degree and law degree in only six years.
Another major factor influencing the uptick: student leadership from the pre-law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta and law student leaders of the College of Law’s Student Bar Association working together. “When Dean Washburn connected us with Phi Alpha Delta, we were excited to reach out and organize an event,” said Adam Ramadan Lorenzana, who last year was co-president of the Student Bar Association. “So many of us law students did the whole application process without much advice or help, so we jumped at the opportunity to pass along a little bit of what we've learned on our respective journeys.”
The data in this article was current as of September 10, 2020.