Drake University Law School

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Drake University Law School
Established 1865
Dean Benjamin B. Ullem [1][2]
Location Des Moines, Iowa, US
Coordinates: 41°36′08″N 93°39′11″W / 41.60216°N 93.65306°W / 41.60216; -93.65306
Enrollment 400
Website http://www.law.drake.edu

Drake University Law School is a fully accredited law school of Drake University, located in Des Moines, Iowa. The school has over 400 full-time students. The school is led by Dean Benjamin B. Ullem.[3][4][5] The most recent edition of U.S. News & World Report's Best Law Schools ranked Drake the 113th best law school in the country. Ullem is the interim dean, a retied office practice lawyer brought in to manage Drake's declining enrollment and shrinking faculty.


Opperman Hall - Home of the Drake University Law Library

Established in 1865 by Chester C. Cole, a justice of the of Iowa Supreme Court, Drake Law is one of the twenty-five oldest law schools in the country and the second law school founded west of the Mississippi River after Saint Louis University. Justice Cole felt that having a law school located in the state capital would be advantageous. That notion proved to be correct. In time, Drake Law alumni would fill the ranks of all branches of Iowa local and state government. This alumni base, combined with the school's physical location, permit a large portion of the student body to participate in long-term governmental, corporate, and private practice internships.


In addition to the full-scale, three-year, Juris Doctor program, the law school features the following special programs:

  • Drake Law Review
  • Drake Journal of Agricultural Law
  • 5 Research Centers: Agricultural Law, Children's Rights, Constitutional Law, Intellectual Property, and Legislative Practice
  • Certificate programs in several fields
  • Civil and Criminal Clinical Programs
  • Multiple Moot Court and Mock Trial teams
  • Summer in France Program
  • Summer Institute in Constitutional Law (for entering 1L's)
  • LL.M./M.J. Program in Intellectual Property
  • M.J. Program in Health Law
  • LL.M./M.J. Program in Individualized Legal Studies (Concentrations in: Business Law, Criminal Law, Estate Planning, Family Counseling and the Law, Human Rights and Global Citizenship, Legislative Practice and Government Relations, Sustainable Development)

Opperman Lecture Series[edit]

After a beautiful renovation in 2013, Cartwright Hall houses classroom space, meeting space, cutting edge technology, and the faculy and administration of Drake Law.

The Dwight D. Opperman Lecture series, endowed by the former CEO of West Publishing and Drake Alumnus, is an annual event of national importance in constitutional law. Several Supreme Court Justices have visited campus to deliver lectures on American jurisprudence. Numerous current and former United States Supreme Court Justices have delivered the Opperman Lecture, including Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Stephen Breyer, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, and late Justices Harry A. Blackmun, Lewis F. Powell and William H. Rehnquist.

Drake Law Review[edit]

As of 2014, the Drake Law Review is nationally ranked among the top 40 law journals for the number of times courts have cited its articles. The rankings, compiled by John Doyle of the Washington and Lee Law School Library, show the Drake Law Review had 56 citations, according to the 2014 data. Drake is in the top group of more than 1,640 journals in the rankings.[6]

The Drake Law Review is published quarterly by Drake Law students. In the past few years, the Drake Law Review has published articles by a number of distinguished legal scholars and judges, including: Erwin Chemerinsky, Cass Sunstein, Randy Barnett, Cheryl Harris, Paul Brest, Stephen Carter, Michael Gerhardt, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., and Stephen Rapp (Chief Prosecutor of the United Nations Special Court for Sierra Leone).

The Drake Law Review increased its online presence in 2015 with a new website. The site hosts articles, notes, and lectures published in the pages of the Drake Law Review. In addition, this site is home to Discourse, an online journal founded in 2012 by the Drake Law Review.[7]

LL.M. and M.J. Programs[edit]

LL.M. Degree Overview Drake Law School's graduate law program, open both to American and international students on a full-time or part-time basis, allows each student to pursue an individualized course of study toward an LL.M. (Master of Laws) degree. Any applicant who holds a J.D. (Juris Doctorate) degree from an ABA-accredited law school, an LL.B., or an equivalent degree from a foreign law school is eligible for the LL.M. An LL.M. degree is ideal for American students who seek an advanced curriculum that facilitates their transition to practice or for practitioners who seek to expand their practices into new areas. For an international student, an LL.M. attests to the student's knowledge and understanding of American law and culture, as well as to the student's English language proficiency. An international student who wishes to practice in the U.S. and who holds an LL.M. may, in some states, sit for the state bar exam and obtain a license to practice law in the United States.

LL.M. in Intellectual Property Law The LL.M. in Intellectual Property Law program at Drake Law School provides an exceptional learning environment to prepare transnational IP lawyers for today’s global business environment. The program also offers an innovative curriculum that combines legal theory, policy analysis, practical experience and professional skills development. The faculty consists of scholars with a wide range of expertise in intellectual property law, as well as experienced attorneys practicing in the field.

LL.M. in Individualized Legal Studies The philosophy of the LL.M. in Individualized Legal Studies program is to allow each student to build his or her own program to fit their individual career goals and interests. All students must successfully complete 24 hours of law credit drawn from the regular Drake Law School curriculum. Some curriculum requirements vary for domestic and international students. A student may design his or her own concentration by devoting 12 of these 24 credit hours to a specialized area of study of the student’s choice, or the student may pursue one of several areas of concentration including:

  • Business Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Estate Planning
  • Family Counseling and the Law
  • Human Rights and Global Citizenship
  • Legislative Practice and Government Relations
  • Sustainable Development

M.J. Degree Overview Drake's graduate law program is open to both American and international students on a full-time or part-time basis. The Master of Jurisprudence program is open students who have received a bachelor's degree, but have not earned a J.D. or its foreign equivalent. Credits earned as an M.J. student are not transferrable should a student later decide to pursue the J.D. program.

M.J. in Health Law Drake Law School's Masters of Jurisprudence (MJ) in Health Law is a masters degree designed to expand health care professionals’ understanding of health law and advance their career opportunities. The 28-credit MJ program can be completed in two years of part-time study. Students have the flexibility to participate online or on campus, with courses offered during the evening and during the day. In addition, students will participate in three on-campus sessions that are conveniently held from Thursday to Sunday.

M.J. in Intellectual Property Law The Master of Jurisprudence (M.J.) in Intellectual Property Law program targets those who do not have a law degree, such as doctoral students in other disciplines, policymakers, government officials, business executives, intellectual property agents, scientists, technology developers and journalists.

M.J. in Individualized Legal Studies The philosophy of the M.J. in Individualized Legal Studies program is to allow each student to build his or her own program to fit their individual career goals and interests. All students must successfully complete 24 hours of law credit drawn from the regular Drake Law School curriculum. Some curriculum requirements vary for domestic and international students. Candidates may choose a pre-set concentration in Business Law, Criminal Law,Estate Planning, Family Counseling and the Law, Human Rights and Global Citizenship, Legislative Practice and Government Relations or Sustainable Development, or design a curriculum to fit individual career goals.

Notable alumni[edit]

Drake Law has graduated numerous significant lawyers, including several state/federal judges and politicians, including:


According to Drake's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 54.3% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.[15] Drake's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 21%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[16]


The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at Drake for the 2014-2015 academic year is $58,146. The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $214,740. The average amount actually borrowed in law school by 2013-14 JD graduates at Drake Law School was $108,857.[17]


  1. ^ /?p
  2. ^ pageID=facultyProfiles
  3. ^ Template:Cite web Ullem is a interim Dean, a retired office practice lawyer in his early seventies who has never taught a law school class or published scholarly articles but is good at raising money.
  4. ^ "Commitment to Diversity". Drake University. Retrieved 2007-10-05. 
  5. ^ "Drake University, Cole Hall". Historic Des Moines. 
  6. ^ "Law Journals: Submissions and Ranking". lawlib.wlu.edu. Retrieved 2015-09-22. 
  7. ^ "Drake Law Review". Retrieved September 22, 2015. 
  8. ^ http://www.iowacourts.gov/About_the_Courts/Supreme_Court/Supreme_Court_Justices/Chief_Justice_Mark_S_Cady/
  9. ^ http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2013/11/01/newly-elected-state-rep-brian-meyer-d-des-moines-takes-oath-of-office-today/article
  10. ^ "Biographical Directory of Federal Judges Fagg, George Gardner". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved September 2, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Justice David Wiggins". Iowa Judicial Branch. Retrieved 8 November 2012. 
  12. ^ http://www.martindale.com/M-Flynn-Feeney/291440-lawyer.htm
  13. ^ http://www.courts.state.co.us/Bio.cfm?Employee_ID=164
  14. ^ http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/Biographies/Display/tabid/225/Article/107304/lieutenant-general-russell-c-davis.aspx
  15. ^ "2013 Placement Summary" (PDF). 
  16. ^ "Drake Law School Profile". 
  17. ^ "Costs & Financial Aid".