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. 

While the law school has many pre-approved summer field placements, students may also request academic credit for work performed through volunteer internships with government agencies, non-profit organizations, and in judicial chambers outside Iowa.  Students are encouraged to work with the career counselors to find potential summer field placements.  Many internship opportunities are posted on Symplicity under "Jobs" and many law-school pre-approved externships will collect resumes from students through the Spring OCI session.

Enrolling in a Summer Field Placement

Students receiving academic credit for their summer externship enroll in a three-credit course called "Summer Legal Placement" (LAW:9335).

  • In order to register for the Summer Legal Placement course, students must complete the online application form available from Prof. Tai.  The deadline for registration for the Summer 2020 term is April 16, 2020.
  • Students should also contact the Director, Field Placement Programs (Prof. Tai), to determine whether their placement site needs to complete the Supervisor Application form.

Description of Summer Legal Placement Class

The students in the Summer Legal Placement must spend a minimum of 150 hours onsite working in their placement over the course of at least six weeks and participate in an online faculty-guided seminar. The course is graded pass/fail. Students pay tuition and fees and are usually eligible for financial aid.  Summer grants may also be available through the law school's summer grant application process.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Iowa Law Field Placement Program will permit students to receive academic credit for a remote placement for the Summer 2020 term.

For the 2020 Summer term, the Summer Legal Placement program will be organized around two themes. 

General Section

This section will provide you with an opportunity for individualized learning and exploration of your legal practice interests.  You are encouraged to become a self-directed and active learner in the context of a real-life legal experience. You will do this in a number of ways: setting goals in advance of your externship, submitting periodic reports of your activities, and by engaging in a series of assignments encouraging you to reflect on your experiences and translate those experiences into marketable skills, and academic and career plans.  You will be in a section with students working in a wide variety of externships and the resulting discussion will allow you to compare and contrast the different roles attorneys play in the legal system.

Criminal Justice Section

In addition to developing professional skills and reflection practices, in this section, we will focus on social justice related to the criminal justice system. We will define social justice; we will consider readings relating to privilege and systemic injustices in the criminal justice system. We will examine the work you are doing this summer and how a lawyer's role perpetuates the justice or injustices within the system. We will consider strategies as to how you can effectively cope within the system; and consider strategies as to how lawyers can make a difference in the system.  This section is open to all students whose externships touch the criminal justice system, including judicial externs.

Students in all Summer Legal Placement sections will respond to guided reflections and participate in an online discussion board.  In addition, all students must participate in a live orientation session scheduled for the end of the Spring semester.