UI College of Law implements new Hawkeye recruitment programs

The University of Iowa College of Law successfully ushered in a new series of programs this semester, aimed at recruiting and retaining undergraduate students for law school.


Emily Wangen

The Boyd Law Building is seen on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019.

Preston Hayes, News Reporter


The University of Iowa College of Law ushered in a new series of programs this semester aimed at recruiting and retaining undergraduate students for law school.

The law school has resinstated its Kinnick Law program, a remote semester in Washington, and added an on-site mental health counselor in the department.

According to law-school documents, 30 of the 151 first-year students enrolled in the college for the fall 2019 semester are UI graduates. The department is seeking to boost retention of UI undergraduate students pursuing a law degree through these new programs, UI College of Law Dean Kevin Washburn said.

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Among first-year students in the College of Law, a total of 69 are official Iowa residents, according to those documents. 

“It seems like a great opportunity to keep Hawkeyes in our program and to recruit the best from other in-state schools,” Washburn said of the inspiration for his department’s latest recruitment efforts.

The Kinnick Law program, which allows UI undergraduates to enroll in law school without taking the LSAT, was reinstated following shifting standards of the American Bar Association, Washburn said.

Requirements for students wanting to partake in the Kinnick Law program include at least a 3.5 undergraduate GPA and a score at or above the 85th percentile on the ACT or SAT, according to the law-school website. 

First-year law student Madison Recker said that applying to the UI College of Law through the Kinnick Law program was beneficial.

“My original plan was to take a year off and take study for the LSAT and work,” Recker said, “but then I got accepted into the program.” 

Although the program is advantageous for UI students, Washburn said, they are still expected to maintain academic excellence while completing the strenuous law curriculum.

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The College of Law also added a semester in Washington, a program which allows students the unique opportunity to strengthen their knowledge of federal law by working in a government agency with a judge or nonprofit public-interest organization. Six students are currently in Washington this fall, Washburn said. 

One of these students is Justin McCorvey, a UI law student currently working in Washington as a legal fellow for Rep. Terri Sewel, D-Alabama. McCorvey said the program began because of Iowa’s key role in politics, which gives Iowa residents an edge when applying for jobs in Washington offices. 

“Iowa law is a very unique situation, because Iowa is the first state to caucus,” McCorvey said.

In addition to working directly for an organization in Washington, students are required to complete a two-credit seminar taught by an Iowa alum. McCorvey described the experience as a “meeting of the minds with your classmates as well as a professional attorney.” 

In addition to the revamping of one program and the creation of another, the College of Law is hiring an on-site mental-health counselor to help students navigate the stress of law education and work environment, Washburn said.