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Program Overview

Law Research Assistant (RA) positions are primarily intended as learning experiences that contribute to the student's progress toward a program of study. RA positions are for a  quarter-time  appointment or 10 hours a week. RA positions are available with many faculty members only for second- and third-year students. If you are classified as a nonresident for tuition purposes, a quarter-time research assistant position (10 hours per week) will change your tuition status during that semester to resident tuition, thus altering your financial aid package. 

Current Openings

The Symplicity CSM  system is used to advertise RA positions.   To view current openings, please  go to the Student Log On to Symplicity.   If you are a faculty member seeking to advertise an opening, please go to the Employer Log On to Symplicity.   For instructions about posting a position in Symplicity, please see PDF iconInstructions for RA Postings in Symplicity

What do you need to know about Research Assistant Positions?

What is a Research Assistant?

Law Research Assistant (RA) positions are primarily intended as learning experiences, which contribute to your progress toward our program of study. RA positions are available during the second and third year with most of the faculty.

What are the advantages to having a salaried RA position?

  1. Tuition Adjustment for Non - Residents to the Resident Rate. For those students classified as a nonresident for tuition purposes, a quarter-time salaried research assistant position will change your tuition status during that semester to resident, thus reducing your tuition charges and financial aid package accordingly. For 2017-18 this is a savings of $9,370 per semester or $18,740 for the academic year.
  2. Health Insurance Subsidy. (These benefits do not apply to hourly employees.) RA’s who chose to enroll in the UI Employed Graduate/Professional student health insurance receive a premium subsidy of approximately 90% for single enrollees and approximately 70%. A separate health insurance application is required.  The first time you will be eligible for subsidized health insurance will be the first semester that you have an RA appointment. If you have had health insurance as a non-employee, to receive the premium subsidy you must complete a new Employed Graduate Student Insurance form.
  3. Salary. RA positions are salaried at $1,087.50 per semester, paid $217.50 monthly (over ten months) by direct deposit. Your monthly salary will remain the same regardless of the number of hours worked in any month. RA positions are a quarter-time appointment, or an average of 10 hours a week..
  4. Mentorship by a Professor or an Administrator. RA positions can provided you with one to one experience working with a professor or supervisor doing legal research and writing. Your RA supervisors can become your best reference for future legal work and can provide you with useful contacts. Many state bar applications require RA supervisors to answer questions about the quality of your work.

How Do I Find a Position?

  1. Faculty typically hire RA’s from February–August. The Symplicity CSM system is used to advertise RA positions. View current openings.
  2. Students are advised to look everywhere across campus to secure a 25% salaried RA/TA/GA appointment. Positions can include Libraries, College of Law Centers, the Graduate College department of your undergraduate major.

After a Professor/Administrator has agreed to hire me what do I do?

  1. As you begin any form of employment with the University, federal law requires that you complete an I-9 form to confirm your eligibility to work. You must be prepared to present appropriate documentation to a University representative on or before your first day of employment, who will then work with you to complete this form. Please refer to the list of acceptable documents.
  2. After you secure an RA position with a faculty member, you must complete the appropriate employment forms. Contact the Financial Aid Office,, Room 276 for the required forms.

Why it is important for you to attend the Fall Semester RA Program?

The fall semester RA program will be with Associate Dean Crain and a member of the faculty who will provide you with information about professor’s expectations. The Director of Financial Aid and the Financial Aid Assistant will also provide you with other important information about your RA position.

Faculty Expectations: An RA position offers professional training as a legal employee. Faculty members will expect you to:

  • Treat the position with respect. Be professional and prepared
  • Meet submission deadlines. If you suspect you will not meet a deadline inform your supervisor as soon as possible
  • If you don’t understand an assignment, ask questions until you do
  • Above all: communicate with your supervisor

Bar Character & Fitness: State licensing agencies routinely require you to report all employers on your application. RA supervisors receive the following inquiries from state judicial licensing agencies:

  • Would you hire this person again?
  • Was this person trustworthy?
  • Would you recommend this person for admission to the bar?

Terms of the Position

  1. Keep careful, accurate, and contemporaneous records of your work hours. Ten hours a week is an appropriate guideline. If you are not meeting your RA commitment discuss this with your supervisor as soon as possible.
  2. If you have questions about reporting hours, contact
  3. Employees who do not complete their required hours must repay their salary and their health insurance subsidy will end. Nonresidents who do not complete their required hours may be subject to reversal of the 2017-18 tuition charges to the nonresident rate of $42,390, which will increase tuition for the academic year by $18,740.

Where do you find answers about your paycheck?

For answers to your questions about your paycheck go to the Employee Self Service Website. After you sign in select "Personal" then select paycheck review. All employees are paid by Direct Deposit to a checking or savings account.

What is the Faculty RA Print/Copy Account?

After you are hired, many faculty will want you to print and/or copy the materials you find in your research for them. Faculty have a shared Faculty RA Print/Copy account for this purpose. You should not use your personal Print/Copy funds for this purpose. For more information see

Who do you contact with Questions, Troubleshooting or Concerns?

Please contact the appropriate staff member based on the subject of your question or concern.

  • Payroll and Time Sheets: Financial Aid Office, 276 BLB, 335-9142,
  • Symplicity:Career Services, 280 BLB, 319-335-9011
  • Employee & Supervisor Concerns: Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Carin Crain 280 BLB, 335-9544 or Financial Aid Director, Susan Palmer, 276 BLB, 335-9142