Iowa College of Law

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
midwestlawl
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:19 am

Iowa College of Law

Postby midwestlawl » Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:25 am

Hi there TLS,

I am a bit confused about the reputation of Iowa. It seems it is a school that gets dumped on a lot on this site; however, the employment stats are quite solid. I am from a small town in the Midwest (EXTREMELY rural), but I have gained acceptance to Iowa and recently toured the school. I loved the fact that Iowa City is not a major metropolis (just not my thing), and I fell in love with the school. I also have admission to WUSTL; however, I really am not wanting to live in Saint Louis. In addition, Iowa offered me some money while WUSTL did not.

I am open to living anywhere in the Midwest, it is where I want to live my entire life. However, I am extremely open to any city and any type of law. I would love to do family law ideally, but as a 0L I am ignorant to many aspects of the law and I hope to gain more knowledge in school.

Anyway, my real question is there a reason that Iowa seems to get trash-talked a lot on here? For someone with my goals, it seems like a perfectly reasonable place to attend law school does it not?

Thanks so much all for your input!

xiao_long
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:38 pm

Re: Iowa College of Law

Postby xiao_long » Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:45 am

Welcome to the TLS community! :D

Most people on TLS are interested in Big law or its equivalent, hence the less-than-stellar-opinion of many non-feeder schools.

However, given your geographical preferences and tolerance of any type of legal practice, I don't see why Iowa would be such a bad idea - especially if the cost of attendance is reasonable. But the question is, will you be able to find a job? The reason why Big law is attractive is because the outcomes are fairly predictable, while small to mid law is more of a wild card.

Having said that, you're most likely looking to earn 40-60k for the greater duration of your career as a lawyer practicing in the non-Biglaw Midwest market, if you manage to find a lawyer job at all. Depending on the amount of debt you'll have, the relatively low salary might eventually prove problematic. I'm sure others more familiar with Iowa can chime in.

midwestlawl
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:19 am

Re: Iowa College of Law

Postby midwestlawl » Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:15 am

Thank you for the response and welcome to the TLS Community! I appreciate it!

I have examined http://www.lstscorereports.com/schools/iowa/sals/2013/

It seems that $52,000-$100,000 is the 25th to 75th percentile range for salary. When you said I should expect to make such a low salary I wanted to re-look those statistics up. Is there a reason to believe those statistics are faulty? I know the top-end of salaries will come from Biglaw, but the median salary is still fairly solid, especially for the low cost of living many Midwest cities offer.

In regards to debt, Iowa offered me a bit of money and I am lucky enough to have a bit of a savings fund from my family to help offset debts. My total COA for Iowa including living expenses will be about 75-80K. I realize this is a heavy debt burden, but I feel the reach of Iowa, the employment outcomes, and the salary ranges are well within making this debt manageable.

If my thinking or logic is faulty in any manner I would truly appreciate yours and other TLSers feedback.

I do have other offers from schools for full-rides, however, the employment prospects at schools such as SLU, Mizzou, Drake, Loyola (Chi) and other similar schools scare the crap out of me!


Thanks again.

foregetaboutdre
Posts: 129
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2014 3:16 am

Re: Iowa College of Law

Postby foregetaboutdre » Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:20 am

1. Many people will ask you your COA (cost of attendance) to these schools (which is a good idea), but it seems like Iowa's is lower. All I will say is can you afford school/how are you paying for it (you don't have to answer if you don't feel comfortable), but be very aware that Iowa could lead you to a job that is not close to the 160/130k big law salaries and if you have to repay loans keep that in mind (very much so).

2. What part of the midwest are you from? I'd imagine WUSTL (anecdotally) is portable probably throughout the midwest. Iowa may get you: Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, and maybe Nebraska (I don't go to Iowa, but this is my hunch from talking around). However, Iowa will be your major destination for employment. It's good to have some ties to want to work (e.g you grew up in that state, you have family there, spouse etc...)

3. Don't get into the illusion that rankings matter past essentially the top 14/20. After that these schools are essentially regional besides special snowflakes. To go to one of these regional schools the best ideas are: 1. Have a low COA, 2. Have ties to the area.

EDIT: I'm from the midwest and I am going to a state flagship with a relatively low COA. Just be realistic and you'll have a good chance of making it. Your COA is decent for Iowa if you're comfortable with that debt, some will tell you to retake your LSAT to go there for free (but that's essentially a personal decision). Reported salaries on LST: I would skew downwards (think making 50-60k). Law salaries are bimodal (you can look this up). Also I haven't checked Iowa's numbers BUT usually ~50% of classes fill out the salary portion of the questionaire (another reason to skew downwards).
Last edited by foregetaboutdre on Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:25 am, edited 2 times in total.

midwestlawl
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:19 am

Re: Iowa College of Law

Postby midwestlawl » Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:21 am

On a second look, I did realize that nearly half of the class did not report a salary. Well, that sucks!

I still am fairly certain Iowa is the right place for me but definitely looking for more input. Thanks :)

midwestlawl
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:19 am

Re: Iowa College of Law

Postby midwestlawl » Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:24 am

I am from Missouri, but a very, very rural part of it. A good few hours to either STL or KC. I really have no ties anywhere to any major market.

The COA for the schools I listed above offering full rides or close to a full ride will have a lower COA, but I feel that Iowa may be a safer bet in securing a job.

WUSTL would be an option except for the fact I dont particularly want to live in Saint Louis and the total COA for WUSTL would be outrageous compared to Iowa. More than double.

Is not having ties to any particular area extremely damaging?

Thanks for the replies!

foregetaboutdre
Posts: 129
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2014 3:16 am

Re: Iowa College of Law

Postby foregetaboutdre » Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:27 am

midwestlawl wrote:I am from Missouri, but a very, very rural part of it. A good few hours to either STL or KC. I really have no ties anywhere to any major market.

The COA for the schools I listed above offering full rides or close to a full ride will have a lower COA, but I feel that Iowa may be a safer bet in securing a job.

WUSTL would be an option except for the fact I dont particularly want to live in Saint Louis and the total COA for WUSTL would be outrageous compared to Iowa. More than double.

Is not having ties to any particular area extremely damaging?

Thanks for the replies!


Take this with a grain of salt, but I'd imagine Iowa is extremely insular. Check out law firms/govt offices you may want to work in. If in in Missouri you see a lot went to mizzou, going to mizzou may essentially be better if you have a $0 COA. Also rural areas = not a ton of money. So definitely skew down on your salary expectations v. reported salaries from the questionnaires.

Edit: looked at Iowa's LST and 5.3% of grads work in Missouri. That's not a great number, but it may be because of self-selection. It is also pretty significant compared to other regionals. What is Missouri's COA for you? The employment numbers are a little worse and the salaries reported aren't great, but if you can go for free + have ties that might be a nice option for you if you don't essentially have any COA.
Last edited by foregetaboutdre on Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:32 am, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar
Mullens
Posts: 651
Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2013 1:34 am

Re: Iowa College of Law

Postby Mullens » Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:27 am

In order to receive the best feedback in this forum, please provide as much of the following information in your original post as possible:

-The schools you are considering
-The total Cost of Attendance (COA) of each. COA = cost of tuition + fees + books + cost of living (COL) + accumulated interest - scholarships. Here is a helpful calculator.
-How you will be financing your COA, i.e. loans, family, or savings
-Where you are from and where you want to work, and other places where you have significant ties (if any)
-Your general career goals
-Your LSAT/GPA numbers
-How many times you have taken the LSAT

midwestlawl
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:19 am

Re: Iowa College of Law

Postby midwestlawl » Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:36 am

-The schools you are considering
Mizzou: Essentially free when factoring in the help I am getting from my family

Iowa: ~70k total COA including living

SLU: Essentially free when factoring in the help I am getting from my family

WUSTL: Not really considering, the COA is pretty outrageous.


-Where you are from and where you want to work, and other places where you have significant ties (if any)
Rural Missouri with no real ties to anywhere. I would be happy living anywhere in the Midwest and I am open to any type of law practice. I do not have my sights set on a particular type of practice, yet. Though family law is definitely an area of interest. I am fairly sure once exposed to the different types of law in school this may change, though .

-Your LSAT/GPA numbers

3.6 GPA, 162 LSAT

-How many times you have taken the LSAT

Twice. 157 first time around, 162 the second.. I know retake is extremely common advice; I am considering retaking in June. However, I badly want to start in the fall.

I have visited all of the schools, fell in love with Iowa, the city, and the community. I know the advice above has been that Mizzou might be a better option. However, I have lived in Missouri my entire life and attended Mizzou for undergrad. I really would like to not be tied down to Missouri the rest of my life. I feel Iowa may put me on a path that allows me to get out of Missouri and into other states. I love Missouri--but I am ready to leave it. I am not ruling out Mizzou though, I realize that having a low COA there is not something to be tossed aside.

User avatar
transferror
Posts: 816
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2014 5:42 pm

Re: Iowa College of Law

Postby transferror » Thu Apr 02, 2015 2:03 am

Your desire to leave Missouri is confusing, especially b/c of your aversion to larger cities and metro areas. Why would you prefer rural Iowa or whatever over rural Missouri?

Small towns and rural areas are often extremely insular, big on nepotism, and pay less $$. You're more likely to land one of these jobs as the hometown kid at Mizzou instead the newby at Iowa. It sounds like you're just making things more difficult for yourself + taking out 70k in loans simply so you can leave the state of Missouri.

midwestlawl
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:19 am

Re: Iowa College of Law

Postby midwestlawl » Thu Apr 02, 2015 2:32 am

Well, I can see how that would make sense. I am not necessarily wanting to trade rural Missouri for rural Iowa. I am not really wanting to stay rural. The town I am from is about 3000 people--I want to escape from that. I dont have an aversion to big cities. I would be happy in many larger cities. St. Louis just is not one of them. Larger cities in Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, etc I would be more than happy with. My reasoning behind Iowa is it opens doors to many states in the Midwest region while going to Mizzou traps me in Missouri forever. Students I talked to at Iowa all felt that an Iowa degree, especially around the Midwest, is a portable degree and that any Midwest market, rural or urban, you at least have a chance of finding work. Whereas a Mizzou degree is pretty much worthless outside KC, Columbia, or rural Missouri markets.

And I suppose it may be hard to explain, but for personal and just state-of-mind reasons I truly would like to leave Missouri. Would you (or anyone else) argue that Iowa does not open more doors for someone who is willing to practice ANYWHERE in the Midwest than a degree from Mizzou would? Genuine question--not trying to come off as snide.

Thanks!

User avatar
Clyde Frog
Posts: 7050
Joined: Sun May 26, 2013 2:27 am

Re: Iowa College of Law

Postby Clyde Frog » Thu Apr 02, 2015 4:43 am

midwestlawl wrote:Well, I can see how that would make sense. I am not necessarily wanting to trade rural Missouri for rural Iowa. I am not really wanting to stay rural. The town I am from is about 3000 people--I want to escape from that. I dont have an aversion to big cities. I would be happy in many larger cities. St. Louis just is not one of them. Larger cities in Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, etc I would be more than happy with. My reasoning behind Iowa is it opens doors to many states in the Midwest region while going to Mizzou traps me in Missouri forever. Students I talked to at Iowa all felt that an Iowa degree, especially around the Midwest, is a portable degree and that any Midwest market, rural or urban, you at least have a chance of finding work. Whereas a Mizzou degree is pretty much worthless outside KC, Columbia, or rural Missouri markets.

And I suppose it may be hard to explain, but for personal and just state-of-mind reasons I truly would like to leave Missouri. Would you (or anyone else) argue that Iowa does not open more doors for someone who is willing to practice ANYWHERE in the Midwest than a degree from Mizzou would? Genuine question--not trying to come off as snide.

Thanks!


If you're so set on Iowa you should retake so that you can hopefully get your tuition taken care of. People on TLS may come off as assholes but we actually possess empathy and don't want to see you ruin your life. Close to 100k in debt is hard to overcome, especially with a law degree from Iowa.

midwestlawl
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:19 am

Re: Iowa College of Law

Postby midwestlawl » Thu Apr 02, 2015 4:49 am

No one is coming off like an asshole. I am considering every post thoughtfully. I guess I am surprised that people would think roughly 70k of debt for a degree from Iowa would be THAT dangerous of a prospect. Especially after coming from a visit to the school where students pump you full of info basically saying that that amount of debt should be no issue at all. Obviously they have skewed views, but it definitely is interesting to hear perspectives from all sides.

I appreciate all of the input really! I love hearing from as many people as possible. I know retaking is something I should consider doing, and I just might. I really have my heart set on starting in the fall, but I havent ruled anything out. I know it comes off as extremely stubborn when people say NO I AM NOT RETAKING, when it could theoretically change your life. So, yeah, retaking is a possibility. It would just make me extremely frustrated no to start in the fall.
Last edited by midwestlawl on Thu Apr 02, 2015 4:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Clyde Frog
Posts: 7050
Joined: Sun May 26, 2013 2:27 am

Re: Iowa College of Law

Postby Clyde Frog » Thu Apr 02, 2015 4:54 am

midwestlawl wrote:No one is coming off like an asshole. I am considering every post thoughtfully.

I appreciate all of the input.


Never said that you thought that. I'm just stating the obvious that TLS members will generally come off as assholes but they usually are trying to help.

User avatar
Clyde Frog
Posts: 7050
Joined: Sun May 26, 2013 2:27 am

Re: Iowa College of Law

Postby Clyde Frog » Thu Apr 02, 2015 5:06 am

midwestlawl wrote:No one is coming off like an asshole. I am considering every post thoughtfully. I guess I am surprised that people would think roughly 70k of debt for a degree from Iowa would be THAT dangerous of a prospect. Especially after coming from a visit to the school where students pump you full of info basically saying that that amount of debt should be no issue at all. Obviously they have skewed views, but it definitely is interesting to hear perspectives from all sides.

I appreciate all of the input really! I love hearing from as many people as possible. I know retaking is something I should consider doing, and I just might. I really have my heart set on starting in the fall, but I havent ruled anything out. I know it comes off as extremely stubborn when people say NO I AM NOT RETAKING, when it could theoretically change your life. So, yeah, retaking is a possibility. It would just make me extremely frustrated no to start in the fall.


Don't base a law school on what students say at the visit. Harvard students pump prospective students full of bs on how paying sticker is a good deal. Taking one year off to study/work is worth 70k in student loans. Let's say you really study hard, go through the Manhattan guides, then take PTs/blind review and move into the 170 range, then things look pretty damn good.

User avatar
transferror
Posts: 816
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2014 5:42 pm

Re: Iowa College of Law

Postby transferror » Thu Apr 02, 2015 8:25 am

midwestlawl wrote:Well, I can see how that would make sense. I am not necessarily wanting to trade rural Missouri for rural Iowa. I am not really wanting to stay rural. The town I am from is about 3000 people--I want to escape from that. I dont have an aversion to big cities. I would be happy in many larger cities. St. Louis just is not one of them. Larger cities in Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, etc I would be more than happy with.


Ok, I'm with you now. In the OP you said major metropolises weren't your cup of tea, so I assumed you wanted to stay rural. I'm not sure this changes much of anything, since Iowa's placement power is really only notable within the state. Des Moines is the largest city with (I assume) the biggest legal market in IA and even there you'd be competing with Drake grads and your classmates with ties for what has to be a very limited number of SA's and entry level positions. Not to mention T14 students from the area looking to return.

You can pretty much give up on larger cities in WI, MN, etc., for the reasons below.

midwestlawl wrote:My reasoning behind Iowa is it opens doors to many states in the Midwest region while going to Mizzou traps me in Missouri forever. Students I talked to at Iowa all felt that an Iowa degree, especially around the Midwest, is a portable degree and that any Midwest market, rural or urban, you at least have a chance of finding work. Whereas a Mizzou degree is pretty much worthless outside KC, Columbia, or rural Missouri markets.


I admit that Iowa's geographic placement is more diverse than I initially thought (http://www.lstscorereports.com/schools/iowa/jobs/location/2013/), but you shouldn't assume that these same markets will be available to you. You haven't indicated a preference for NYC, DC, or Chicago, which would require top grades anyways. As for the placements in MN (9.5%) and WI (2.1%), you can't assume that you'll have access to those markets b/c you don't have ties there. Something else to consider is that these placement percentages by state aren't limited to full-time long-term attorney jobs, so a portion of that 9% in MN could just as well be grads waiting tables or doing doc review or whatever.

I don't think you understand how insular some of these markets are, and I'd be willing to bet that almost all of the students going to MN, WI, NE, etc from Iowa are students returning home. I can assure you that ppl aren't just picking up to move to Iowa, and then snagging a job in Minneapolis or Milwaukee without a connection to the state or community.

midwestlawl wrote:And I suppose it may be hard to explain, but for personal and just state-of-mind reasons I truly would like to leave Missouri. Would you (or anyone else) argue that Iowa does not open more doors for someone who is willing to practice ANYWHERE in the Midwest than a degree from Mizzou would? Genuine question--not trying to come off as snide.


I completely understand wanting to leave for state-of-mind/personal reasons. I was from a rural area in the south/midwest and picked up and moved to the east coast for law school for those same reasons. I'm glad I did it but I am extremely limited geographically b/c of it. I can't even get an interview in most places in the state. Don't think that your willingness to work anywhere will allow you to waltz into random places in the midwest. It's not like a career counselor says "hey, there's a job open in bumfuck Wisconsin to anyone willing to move there." The reality is that you have to go them. You have to strategically put together a plan of attack and target 2 or 3 primary areas where you think you have the best shot, and those people will grill you about your motives for moving. Your answer has to be more compelling than "I wanted to leave Missouri and I'm open to working anywhere in the midwest," because they will have their pick of top students from the local school/s and plenty of others from good schools with roots in the community. Your best bet will be to target Missouri (and should be your safety net at the very least), and if you end up doing that you could have probably just saved 70k and ended up with the same job from Mizzou.

I'm not saying it's impossible for you to end up achieving your stated goal, I'm just telling you that it's unlikely to happen and you may very well end up right back in Mizzou, in which case you could have saved a lot of money. If leaving Missouri and having an outside chance of finding a good job in MN or IA or whatever is worth 70k to you, then go for it. Just know what you're getting into.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Iowa College of Law

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Apr 02, 2015 10:08 am

Iowa would be an excellent choice based on your geographical & career goals, but it would be an even better option if you received a larger scholarship award. Study hard & retake the LSAT as even a 2 or 3 point increase should greatly expand your options & your scholarship offers.




Return to “Choosing a Law School”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest