The first year of the Iowa Law program offers the personal connection and attention you need to develop a strong intellectual foundation for legal thinking and writing. We boast a low student-faculty ratio and our professors take pride in having an open-door policy, and in modeling the kind of highly collaborative, rigorously professional behavior that prepares you to serve as counselor to your clients.

You’ll also get intensive, individualized instruction from our legal writing faculty—Iowa is one of the few law schools in the nation with a full-time faculty dedicated solely to your growth as a legal writer. 

Preparing for Law School

Congratulations on your decision to study law.  You are about to embark on an intellectually transformative endeavor that offers you a lifetime of personal and professional rewards.  In and out of the classroom, you will learn to think, analyze, speak, and write as an effective lawyer—talents that you can bring with you not only to the practice of law, but to a wide range of careers, including in government, business, and the nonprofit sector.  The capacities of an effective attorney are not easily obtained, but you will have them by the time you leave our doors.


Every August, Iowa Law welcomes its incoming students during Orientation.  Orientation takes place the week before classes begin and is a wonderful time to settle in to life at Iowa Law. Highlights include welcomes from the Iowa State Bar, an introduction to service opportunities, and ample time to get familiar with the Boyd Law Building and your classmates. 

Your First Year Classes

The classes that you will take during your first year at Iowa Law will focus on the doctrinal courses that every 1L student takes in the United States. This includes Contracts, Torts, and Property Law during the Fall semester, then Civil Procedure, Criminal Law and Constitutional Law in the Spring. Students will also take Legal Analysis, Writing & Research during both semesters and will have the opportunity to take an elective course during the Spring. Iowa Law's model for the structure of the 1L courses groups common law classes, or the fields of law that have been developed historically by the courts, together for the first semester and legislative law classes, where all of the topics and fields of law have been developed primarily through laws, rules and regulations, together in the second semester. 

At Iowa Law, we have a reputation for producing very strong legal writers. Your Legal Analysis, Writing & Research courses provide intensive, individualized attention, including 3–6 one-on-one conferences each semester, you’ll deepen your understanding of law and develop the tools to be an effective legal communicator as you learn to apply the law to real-world legal problems.

More Information about Courses and Curriculum

Academic Achievement Program Details

The College's Academic Success Program ("ASP") helps students hone the academic skills necessary to succeed in law school. ASP serves all law students, with a special emphasis on helping first-year students transition from successful undergraduate careers to the unique challenge of law study.  ASP offers programs on legal study skills and exam-taking, as well as providing students access to other resources to support their academic skills. In the spring semester, ASP offers a small-group workshop series for first-year students.

Students may request individual appointments with Dawn Anderson, professor of Legal Analysis Writing & Research and Director of the Writing & Academic Success Center. Students can discuss academic-related questions or concerns with Professor Anderson. She helps law students consider effective strategies in areas such as reading efficiently, preparing for class, taking effective notes, outlining, time and stress management, preparing for exams, and exam review strategies. In addition, she can refer students to campus and community resources when appropriate.

Students can make an appointment by e-mailing or by booking an appointment here

Many resources are available to Iowa law students through the Writing & Academic Success Center ICON site Current Iowa law students can access workshops Professor Anderson has offered, reviews of law school guide books, links to study aids the library has subscribed to, writing resources, and more.

By Mail

Academic Success Program
The University of Iowa College of Law
480 Boyd Law Building
Iowa City, IA 52242

By E-mail