20 Things You Didn’t Know about University of Iowa Law School

University of Iowa

The University of Iowa is more than a school. Aside from the numerous programs it offers like mass communications and music, it also offers a lot of undergraduate programs. According to Britannica, the school’s writing program is known throughout the world. The school opened in 1847, a year after Iowas was admitted into the Union. However, classes didn’t start for the college until 1855. The University of Iowa Law School may not be able to claim writers like John Irving but it certainly has its own unique and storied history. The school has seen many different Deans, some of who helped shape what he knows as the school today. It’s also a University that much like its sister school prides itself on diversity and making sure that all students feel included. James Van Allen, an American physicist once said, “our family is very fond of the University of Iowa. We thought it was a good place to go.” Much like the main University, the University of Iowa Law School is certainly a good place to go. The school has never wavered from its original mission and continually strives to move further ahead than comparable schools. These are 20 things you didn’t know about the University of Iowa Law School.

20. First Class

The initial graduating class only had 12 people. Where this may seem shocking there are several other things about this class that are even more surprising. In 1866 when this group graduated, they had no entrance exams and only a two-year program. As more Dean’s passed through the halls, more programs and adjustments were continually made. Additionally, as the college worked towards finding its identity it shaped a lot of prominent people. All, the while, there remained a continual focus on being progressive.

19. University of Iowa Center for Human Rights

Like many other facts on this list, this item has to do with the college’s commitment to including anyone who seeks a law degree. This organization, known as the UICHR for short works with a myriad of different events all with one purpose, promoting equal rights for all. Additionally, they work on public programs and important initiatives which encourage outreach and collaboration. Naturally, part of the campus space would be devoted to this sort of project since the college’s mission statement focuses heavily on diversity.

18. Jean de Fiennes

The University took care in how this statue was displayed. It’s resting low to the ground. When he passed away, the sculptor, Rodin gave all his work to the French government with stipulations on how many copies of the statue could be made and how many could be displayed publicly. The Jean de Fiennes Statue was the last made and to this day, the bronze statue stands proudly outside the Boyd Law Building. This is one of the models Rodin made to learn more about anatomy. This particular one was part of a set called The Burghers of Calais. There were several different casts of each of the figures in varying positions. Later, Rodin did a set fully clothed but maintaining the same positions.

17. Boyd Law Building

This building was finished in 1983 and underwent the most change in the last three decades. The University of Iowa Law School felt they could give their students better accommodations. The building’s name is to honor two people, Willard “Sandy” Boyd and Susan John Boyd who were a husband and wife who worked tirelessly to promote the school’s mission. Mr. Boyd started with the college as a professor and worked his way up to a Dean. During an interview with The Gazette, he was asked about the strong bond he had with his wife. He talked about the way she was always there for him but added “we don’t have to do everything together. That’s been the key point in our lives.”

16. Extra Study Partners

The University of Iowa has a reputation for being haunted and one of those places is the library. Students have reported seeing books falling off the shelves. Additionally, they’ve even had some of the ghosts appear. Still, others report that there are hot spots in various locations that can’t be explained.

15. Iowa Law School Foundation

This is a board put in place to ensure that students receive the best education they can. It’s a volunteer Board of Directors that includes people closely linked to the college, faculty, and graduates. The Foundation strives to propel the law profession forward, constantly implementing new technology. Additionally, they work tirelessly to make scholarships available for those who need them.

14. Accelerated Learning Program

According to U Iowa, in 1947 the college began to do an accelerated learning program to try to move students along as quickly as possible. By 1950, they had a seven-semester requirement which meant students typically didn’t take summer breaks. Which this implementation, the school added five additional professors.

13. Nile Kinnick

One of the most notable graduates was Niles Kinnick Jr. Throughout his career, he excelled in not only athletics but also academics. Many think It may have been the slump the football team was in the hat the time was that; lead him to the college. He was recruited for Coach Ossie Solem in 1936. Kinnick went on to win the Heisman trophy in 1939.

12. Mason Ladd

Another of the University of Iowa Law School’s most famous graduates is Mason Ladd. He was destined for a career in law. After all, his father was a lawyer. In 1923, he graduated from the University of Iowa. Six years later he returned to the college as a professor. While there he continued to expand upon his education, so much so that he had a second career in 1966. The United States Supreme Court asked him to draft the Federal Rules of Evidence for courts and magistrates.

11. Law Jubilee

In 1922, there was a rivalry between the law and engineering students at the University. The engineering department had a tradition known as Mecca Day after the names of different types of engineering. So, to try and disrupt their festivities, the law students created the jubilee hoping to draw attention away from their rivals. They put on musical numbers and funny skits.

10. Iowa Law Review

One offshoot of the law school is the Iowa Law Review. It started as a legal bulletin in 1891 and has since grown to be one of the most reputed publications. The publication also contributed to the school’s overall mission to give students the best path to success. Since its inception, the Iowa Law Review has also made a major contribution to the overall evolution of the law in general. One of the things that make it such a standout is that its entire run by students. However, the information is thoroughly fact-checked.

9. Dean Gregory and Gilmore Hall

Dean Gregory worked tirelessly to provide for his students. For almost ten years he consistently voiced the need for a better location for his students. Two years before his first time as dean closed the school opened Gilmore Hall where the students would remain until 1962. After the building opened the was room for 245 new students which created a need for more teachers. Additionally, during this time more volumes were added to the school library. Dean Gregory returned for one more year in 1914.

8. Regent Board of Directors

The year before Iowa State University opened its doors, Territorial Legislature passed a bill that required the Board of Regents of the University of Iowa to create a Law School as well as a Medical School. They hoped to continue providing excellent education to its students. Since its inception, this has been the University of Iowa’s mission; providing students with a top-notch education.

7. Two Years for a Law Degree

Today, there is a lot of preparation needed to obtain a law degree. People incur tremendous debt and it’s a long arduous commitment. However, in 1884 in Iowa, this wasn’t the case. 10 years prior The Iowa Bar was founded in Des Moines and the ensuing decade, the University created an accelerated program. It was called the “Advanced Course-Second Year” and it was offered without charge to anyone who could pass the test. However, the program which was the brainchild of Dean Hammond had a short shelf life. There was little to no interest. Even though it didn’t last, it was the first time a college offered a continuing legal education program.

6. Prof. William G. Hammond

Remember the rivalry between the engineers and lawyers? Well, William G. Hammond might have been a part at one point or another. He moved to Iowa in 1860 and was working as both. Six years after moving to the state he became part of the faculty at the school. Additionally, he was the principal and later the Chancellor of the school. As Chancellor, he was one of the people responsible for increasing the time it took to earn a law degree.

5. Clark Versus Board of Directors

This case happened during the wake of the civil war. Susan Clark was 13 when the state of Iowa denied her admittance to an elementary school because she was black. She took them to court under a violation of state law and they sided with her. The case happened almost a century before Brown vs. Board of Education. Susan Clark’s brother went on to be the first black graduate from the University of Iowa Law School. Interestingly, her father was the second man of color to earn his degree from college.

4. First Iowa Law Class

Twelve is a special number for Seahawks fans; it’s their fan number. It’s also the total number of people the University of Iowa Law School graduating in 1866, its first year. The degree time was just a year. Additionally, there was no entrance exam. There is so much more with the law now. However, it’s almost unimaginable that a group this small would be able to practice law after such a short time. However, this is the class that started the long-distinguished tradition of the school.

3. Oldest West of the Mississippi

Initially, the University of Iowa college was the Iowa Law College located in Des Moines. It was founded in 1865 and is one of the American Association of Law Schools and American Bar Association-approved law schools. One of the things that have kept it in such regard is that its curriculum prioritizes the needs of the students over all else. Another thing to note is that the writing program is one of the strongest in the country. The school remains culturally diverse and prides itself on how the education students receive prepares them for a well-rounded career in the law profession.

2. No Discrimination

According to U Iowa, the University is one of the only higher education facilities never to deny someone admittance based on their gender, race or religion. This may be because of the Iowa Territorial Supreme Court decision that Ralph, a slave who was brought into the state after it was declared free needed to be released from the bonds of slavery. Nonetheless, throughout the college’s history, they’ve continually put diversity first. Moreover, it’s part of its mission statement.

1. First Woman

As we’ve seen on this list, the University of Iowa prides itself on remaining ahead of the pack and a continual commitment to racial equality. It also has a few other firsts. The University was the first to admit men and women on an equal basis even as early as 1860. The school is also the first to see a woman graduate with her law degree. Mary Hickey Wilkinson received hers in 1873.

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