Meet Samantha Rollins, ’13

Hometown: Rockford, IL
Undergraduate Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

What is great about being a law student at the University of Iowa?
If I had to pick my top three, they would be: 1) going to school in a truly collegial environment, where you can develop a lifelong network of friendships, 2) living in Iowa City, which has a great selection of restaurants, night life, and other fun things to do when you are not studying, and 3) getting a first-rate education for a really reasonable price.

When you began your first year, what was one thing that pleasantly surprised you about the Law School?
It is a truly collegial environment. People do not let their pursuit of academic excellence get in the way of forming lasting friendships, and it is nice to go to school with people you genuinely care about, and who care about you!

What do you like to do when you are not studying or in class?
I love Hawkeye football! The atmosphere on campus during game weekends is amazing, and it is a great outlet when you have been working for classes all week.

What made you decide to attend the University of Iowa for your law degree?
A lot of factors played into my decision to come to Iowa, but two of the most important were the “feel” of the law school and the cost-benefit analysis of an education here. The “feel” first—Iowa Law has an incredibly welcoming atmosphere, and the College goes out of its way to make sure students have the resources they need to succeed. The faculty also contributes by being incredibly open and accessible. As for the cost-benefit analysis, you can go to Iowa and get a fantastic legal education without spending an inordinate amount of money doing it. Even out-of-state students can almost always get research assistant positions in their second year to bring tuition down to the in-state level.

Is the faculty accessible?
The faculty is incredibly accessible at our school. In addition to their established office hours, almost all of the professors have an open-door policy, and encourage us to stop by any time we want. It is also common to be invited to a professor’s home for dinner – three of my professors in my first semester alone invited the entire class into their homes for great food and conversation.

Do you feel you are being well prepared for a law career?
I am always amazed at the quantity, quality, and variation in the programs put on by Career Services, the Academic Achievement Program, and student organizations. From programs that give you tips on how to study successfully to panel discussions on the different careers available to a law student, there is always a way to get more information about a career in law.

Are there opportunities for practical experience?
The College offers great opportunities to get practical experience. First, the College runs a law clinic, where first- and second-year students can work with clients in the community on solving real legal issues. Second, students can participate in externships for credit with local practitioners. And last, the College provides ample support for students who are seeking legal internships during the summers after their first and second years.

You are involved in many extracurricular activities, how does this enhance your Iowa Law experience?
Most importantly, being involved in extracurricular activities allows me to meet and interact with law students outside of class. They also provide important perspective – there is more to life than going to class, and it is important to take advantage of all the great student-run organizations both at the Law School and the University.