Join us for the 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.  All students can benefit from the chance to witness federal lawmaking firsthand whether they wish to live in DC long-term or not.  Through the DC program, students can deepen their understanding of federal law by working in a government agency, or with a judge or non-profit public interest organization.  Students will take a 2-credit seminar focused on the work of attorneys in the DC area.  There will be opportunities to hear from DC-based attorneys and Iowa Law alumni, tour institutions such as the Supreme Court or Congress, and learn firsthand the process for federal lawmaking.  Students are paired with alumni mentors during their time in DC, and there will be events to facilitate networking with DC area alumni.


Students may earn 12-14 credits over the course of the semester:  10-12 units P/NP through field work (which equates to 30-36 hours per week over the course of the semester) and two units graded numerically through the seminar class.  Students may additionally opt to complete an independent research project for 1 upper level supervised writing credit, to be supervised by the DC Program faculty instructor. 

Learning objectives for the seminar include:

  • Examining the role of attorneys in DC, both within the federal government and in organizations working with or interacting with the federal government
  • Understanding and witnessing the function of administrative agencies and the process of federal lawmaking; and
  • Reflecting upon the students' collective field work experiences and how they may affect their professional identity and development.

The seminar will include guest speakers with experience working in each branch of the federal government and from non-profits and lobbying firms interacting with the federal government.

Possible Field Placements in DC
US Capitol Building

A myriad of opportunities for legal work is available in DC, ranging in setting and legal subject area.  Participants in the DC program should think carefully about their interests and goals for a full time semester away externship and search for organizations with work that fits those goals.  More information about searching for and applying for opportunities is here.  For an idea of what other Iowa Law students have done, here's some organizations students have recently worked with in DC:

  • ABA Rule of Law Initiative
  • Ayuda
  • Commodity Futures Trading Commission
  • Center for Democracy and Technology
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Department of Commerce
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Federal Communications Commission
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency, Office of the Chief Counsel
  • Federal Railroad Administration
  • Federal Trade Commission
  • Institute of Museum and Library Services
  • International Trade Commission, Office of Unfair Import Investigations
  • Securities Exchange Commission 
  • Senate Judiciary Committee
  • Tahirih Justice Center 
  • Transportation Security Administration, Civil Rights Division
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Department of Justice, various divisions
    • Antitrust
    • Criminal Division, Fraud Section
    • Executive Office for Immigration Review,
    • National Courts
    • Office of Legal Policy
  • U.S. House of Representatives