What IOWA is:
1. A law school with an Academically diverse student body. This means that some students will be Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduates from a range of undergrads to students with less than stellar LSATS or GPAs, but with special qualities/backgrounds not measured well statistically. Overall, the students are collegial, but the best word to describe successful students is hardworking.
2. A STATE School. What I mean here is that the law school makes it a priority to accept a certain percentage of Iowans. So, about 40%-50% of your class will be from Iowa. Some of these students are brilliant, some are average, and some just need to graduate in order to get a position back in their Iowa hometown.
3. National (sort of). 50%-60% of students leave the state after graduation. Some of my friends went to places like Chicago, D.C., Minneapolis, Kansas City, Phoenix, and Miami. I do not think we place particularly well in New York City or L.A., but this is due to the fact most students who come to IOWA do not aspire to positions in these places. That said, one of my former roommates is working at a firm in NYC, but he was from New Jersey originally. Also, IOWA is making connections with Delaware corporate law firms due to our relationship with the DE Supreme Court.
What IOWA is not:
1. Racially diverse. In truth, we are not a racially diverse school. This is mostly due to the fact Iowa is not a racially diverse state. This is good news for non-caucasian applicants b/c IOWA offers crazy $ to increase class diversity.
2. BIGlaw Top to Bottom. Unlike some schools in the T-14, your chances of getting a BIGlaw position after graduation depends more on your class rank. So, if you are outside of the top 15%-25% or so, your chances of making over $100k+ your first year out is not great but not impossible.
3. An Oooh or an AAahhhh. Outside of the region, people will not say "ooh" or "ahhh" when you tell them you went to IOWA law. In fact, some people will not know the difference between Iowa and Idaho. You have to "know thyself" when it comes to the prestige factor.
Finally, a note on the professors. I think 1/4 are fantastic, 2/4 are okay, and 1/4...well, I have nothing positive to say. The fantastic professors are on the pulse of their area of law, publish, and are excellent lecturers. The okay professors are either lacking in their legal relevance or do not communicate well in the classroom. The final group is either passed their prime, are nascent professors still finding their stride, or people who should have never been offered tenure. However, I am excited about several of the new profesors, such as Katherine Porter.
--Hope this helps...