347 Schaeffer Hall
Spring 2024 Office Hours
Tue & Th: 4:45-6:15
Dept of Political Science
341 Schaeffer Hall
20 E. Washington Street
The University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa 52242
Posted updated Prelaw FAQ for UI students
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New Book, Supreme Court Agenda Setting: The Warren Court, published for Kindle devices and computers with Kindle reader.
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This page contains comments I have received from former students (usually via email). The most recent comments are at the top. Any comments by me are in italics following the comment.
I took four of your courses in my last year at Iowa, and they were invaluable for my law school career. Within the first week of starting here at ____ Law School, I realized just how much of an edge your courses gave me over my peers. Really, it was apparent from one of the first days of orientation when we read Fraser and I got to show off a little by remembering some of the speech.
Moreover, at the beginning of the year, when the learning curve is most steep, I did not have to waste time learning the names of reporters or, and this was a huge advantage, learning how to read/brief a case. Thanks to your introduction to the Socratic method, I was not scared to be called on in class. I was able to respond under pressure and stay engaged with the discussion. Thanks in no small part to the knowledge gained from Research in Judicial Politics, I got my first law school A today (in Legal Research). Hopefully there is more to come. Additionally, my experience writing papers for your courses helped greatly with my Legal Writing class (A's on the first two papers, still waiting for the final). Finally, next semester I will be in Constitutional Law, and I know my experience in your class will come in handy.
As an aside, I am taking the GMAT tomorrow so I can pursue a JD/MBA joint degree. You should consider adding this test to your list of reasons to study math.
In sum, I just wanted to write this (I have been meaning to do this sooner) to tell you how grateful I am to have taken your courses and for the preparation they gave me for law school. I hope your school-year is going well!
This was from a student starting his second semester of law school. As he notes, he was in four courses of mine so I'm posting this for all four.
I meant to email you earlier about how beneficial your classes were for my first year [of law school] so far. I was one of the few students who had briefed or even read cases prior to classes. Your warnings on the importance of writing we're well taken. I think the most important tool you told us about was the need to look up words because I have a contract professor who loves to call kids out for not looking up words like "indemnify" or "surety bonds". I really hope the administration relaxed its stance on your research class. That was hands down the class that prepared me the most by showing us how to research cases in the actual reporters; that makes citing in proper blue book form much easier.
This student was in several of my courses but the ones he mentions are 30:116 and 30:106, so I'll post this in both places.
His mention of the admin and the research course (this one) relates to the Pol Sci DEO at the time (I think his name was Lucius Malfoy) who hated me and this course. Things seem to have gotten better, which is good because the course is very valuable to students going on to law school.
I just wanted to get in touch with you and thank you for preparing me for the paralegal program I am currently involved in.
I am about a month in and you were right, I am ahead of a lot of people when it comes to the material being covered thus far. However, it is about to get more intense and I am grateful I was introduced to the basics ahead of time.
I am loving my legal research class. The law library here is a lot smaller and easier to navigate. Your research class made it easier to do a lot of research here and I am able to help others in my class.
I hope the semester is going well for you!
This is from the same student as the message immediately below, confirmed that she did learn a lot and it helped here get a head start in her paralegal program.
Thank you for all of your help and advice this semester. Although I finished with some mistakes, I feel like I learned a lot from this class.
This was from a student near the end of the semester in addition to the course evaluations.
Thank you very much! I have learned a lot through working on the database and I have no doubt that the skills and knowledge I have acquired will help me tremendously in law school and beyond.
I'm sure they will. This student took several of my other courses and sent me a separate email of appreciation for helping him prepare and get into law school.
Just handed em in. For the record, this class was absolutely incredible. Not only did I learn a ton, but it was engaging and interesting. I hope the powers that be will let you continue to teach this course. Thanks!
I'm glad this student enjoyed the class and found it valuable. He certainly did work hard in the class. His comment about the future of the course was in reference to my letting the students know that the "powers that be" at the time were giving me all kinds of static about the course. I think that's mostly been resolved, but there still a certain dislike for courses with smaller enrollments.
Hope you are enjoying the holidays and the break from semesters. I wanted to thank you again for letting me take part in your research project my last two semesters of undergrad. I have learned so much your courses and can not wait to practice law someday...and in my biggest dreams to be appointed as a judge.
Graduation went smoothly and I am planning on taking some time off of school to work before heading to law school. I am now in the process of interviewing and applying for jobs. Many of the public relations jobs I am interested in indicate participating in research as part of the responsibilities. I was wondering if students in the past had included the research done on your database in their resumes and your thoughts on this. I am drafting up a few ways in which I was planning on wording it and also talking to some of my former classmates who also did research for you but wanted to get your input or advice. Thanks so much for all you have done for me.
In addition to working on the research project for this course she did additional work on it the next semester. Over the course of two semesters I could tell she was really getting the hang of it. When she was in one of my other courses she was a bit unsure about it, but another student convinced her to take the research course. She worked hard and it paid off. To answer her question, yes, I tell student who have had this course that they can list it as being my research assistant for the semester. I know of more than one student who landed a job or internship directly based on the skills they learned in this course.
Dear Professor Hagle,
Thank you for taking the time to write me a letter of recommendation! I really appreciate your help with the law school appliction process and feel that your courses (especially doing research for the database) have helped prepare me!
Hi, . . ., and Tim -
I just wanted to share with both of you today's story in Iowa Now on political science alum Tom Wickham. (He gives a nice shout-out to Tim!)
Feel free to use this in anyway you'd like!
This was from a UI News person who was letting me know that UI alum Wickham had just been named the new parliamentarian of the US House of Representatives. In the article he was quoted as saying, "As an undergraduate in the political science department, I took Constitutional Law with Tim Hagle, who prided himself on challenging students, and that sparked the competitive spirit in me."
Prof. Hagle, I was enrolled in your legal research course one year ago. I am currently at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. . . .
Well, I made it through my first semester of law school and did a lot better than I had planned. I really enjoyed your undergraduate courses and they definitely helped me a lot. Thank you!!! Hope everything is going well for you.
Hi Professor Hagle,
Just another quick note from law school. We are spending a whole class today in my legal writing class talking about basic case citations. Even a semester into law school, people don't know what "P.2d" means in a citation. Luckily I was not among them. I know I've sent a few e-mails in the past thanking you for prepping me for law school, but I'm not sure I told you how much I appreciate the "little things" that I learned in your class. Being familiar with terms, citations, etc. from the beginning of law school has helped a tremendous amount. And a note to pass on to students: As I sit here in legal writing, I can "take the day off" because we're going over things I learned in undergrad. There are great benefits from taking your classes, in addition to the material we learned.
This was another note from the student who had sent the long one a couple of entries below. I'll also post this one in a couple of places.
Hi Professor Hagle,
I wrote to you during my first week of the semester and told you how your classes had given me a great head start in law school. After finishing the semester, I can honestly say that "Thank You" doesn't go far enough to show my appreciation for the things you do for future law students.
In my writing class, I felt (and the professor indicated) that my writing was right where it needed to be. More specifically, I was writing in concise terms and saying exactly what I needed to say without going any further. There were times in your classes where I thought, "Okay he's going a little overboard here" when you would talk to us about writing. I couldn't have been more wrong. If my professor wanted five pages, he wanted five pages loaded with material, and no fluff whatsoever. Exactly how you said it would be, of course!
Another part of the writing course (and other courses) that I thought you gave me a leg up in has to do with the length requirement. In my writing course, I could have written 15-20 good pages on each paper. Our papers were limited to 10 pages. In another course, our essay exam was subject to a strict length requirement. Talk about pressure! I spotted 5 issues on the exam that I couldn't even mention on the exam because of this length requirement. I know you take a bit of grief for your "10 pages maximum", no page range, etc. Once again, it's spot on with how law school is, and this was great preparation.
Although I never used the "drop first test score" option in your class, basing the majority of a student's grade on one exam is exactly how it is in law school. For my other three classes (besides writing), our entire grade was based on one three-hour exam per class. So, having an exam worth 70% of the grade really isn't that bad!
The next comment I have is in regards to feedback in your courses. I was one who strongly objected (although not to you) to the fact that you did not give a "class average" or any idea of how others in the class did on tests. Also, I did not like that you waited until the last day of the course to return papers. In the research class, I did not like that we had no certain grade, but only an idea of our progress. But, in my first semester of law school, I got absolutely NO feedback on how I was doing in the course, except for my first paper grade in my writing course. This is a very unsettling feeling, and although you do give some grades throughout the semester, your courses were the closest I came to this feeling during undergrad. In my opinion, the lack of feedback throughout the semester is by far the most difficult part of law school. Trying to gauge how you're doing in the course is impossible, and it can drive you crazy at times.
Here's one that your course does NOT do well. In all of my courses, we had set assignments each day! Okay, so maybe I'm still slightly bitter that on the day I was assigned to speak in Con Law I prepared 4 or 5 extra cases. But, I just had to throw that in there!
The last comment is much more general. The reading, the writing, the classroom atmosphere, etc. that you provide are great preparation for law school. Attention to detail is key, taking good notes is key, and being prepared for class on a daily basis is crucial. The reading is dense, I had to read things many times to understand it, and there is a ton of reading every night. Professors don't use powerpoint in law school, so taking notes without powerpoint is a great skill to learn.
Okay one more comment, sorry! I had some multiple choice tests during finals. I would say your exams were very representative of what I saw in law school. I'm sure every student dislikes the fact that your exams are very detail oriented, and that one word can completely change the answer. Well, if they're going to law school, they should get used to it.
Sorry for the lengthy e-mail, but I really felt that I needed to tell you how much of an advantage I felt that I had in my first semester of law school because of your classes. I enjoyed your classes a lot, and I appreciated your teaching style at the time. But, now more than ever, I feel lucky to have had a professor who is so committed to preparing students for law school. Thank you so much, happy holidays!
This student sent me some prior comments when he started his first semester of law school. These apply to several of the courses he took with me as an undergrad that I'm going to post them to the comments for each course.
Hi Professor Hagle,
I'm not sure if you remember me, but [name deleted] I took a number of your classes in undergrad, the last one being Judicial Research last spring. I know every semester you told us about e-mails you received from former students in law school, saying how much your classes helped them. Well I know exactly what they mean now and just wanted to say that I feel the same way!
I'm almost done with my 1st semester at DePaul College of Law and I can honestly say that the courses I took of yours definitely made a difference. I have yet to have Criminal or Con Law yet (I know I'll have Con Law next semester) but already I can tell that Judicial Research has really helped me with issue spotting. It took me a long time to figure out how to accurately spot the correct issues in the cases, which is why I found myself in office hours so often, but I'm so glad that I spent the time learning that BEFORE I started law school. I can't imagine how stressed I would be trying to tackle that this semester, where the professors don't want to waste time going through the basics. Even just being comfortable briefing cases has made a huge difference.
I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to go over the issues in office hours every week, because I can tell that it has really helped me so far! And although at the time I thought the speaking day in Con Law was terrifying, it's really a good preview of what law school will be like, and looking back I think it was a really good exercise.
So although it's nearing the end of the semester, feel free to tell your students that you have yet another e-mail reinforcing the fact that the classes they're in now will really help them in the future! And that they should take advantage of the classes to get the basic grasp of the information, because the sooner they do so the better off they will be! I'm sure once I take Criminal & Con Law I will be even more grateful of what I learned in your classes over the past few years.
Thanks again and hope your semester is going well,
This student did work hard in my research course (30:106, now POLI:3113) to learn issue spotting. Although critical for this course, it was also important for the other course she mentions.
I thought I'd tell you how helpful your classes have been in regards to helping me with my first semester in law school. Reading/briefing all of those cases really prepared me for my classes-it's still a lot of work but definitely manageable. I just wanted to say thank you-I hope all is well!
This student had all three of my other judicial courses--and she did ALL the study questions for each of them!
I just wanted to send you a quick note of thanks. I am in between my second and third year of law school at Creighton in Omaha, and I just landed a clerkship with [a law firm]. I understand that [the main partner] contacted you earlier this month while researching my references. He was very impressed with the Supreme Court research project and your conversation. Thank you for talking with him on my behalf and for offering a class at the undergraduate level that helps future law students in their endeavors. I really appreciate the research skills I developed during the class and now am reaping the benefits of having you as reference contact. I cannot thank you enough.
Thank you for the encouragement and support during the course. I'd like you to know that I had a tremendous amount of fun working on the database and doing the research. I think I got the cases done so quickly less out of a dogged determination to finish than a sense of anticipation each time I dived down the rabbit hole to find where the cases originated. There were times, approaching the end, that I almost wished I'd taken the honors credit (even though I don't need it), just so I'd have another 20 to do. But, considering the remaining work to be done in my other classes, I'd have to stress that "almost" is the key word in that sentence.
Just wanted to send a quick note to tell you that on day 3 of law school at [deleted], we were assigned to find case information from several federal and state reporters in the law library. It was a big confidence boost to be able to breeze right through those assignments! Thank you Judicial Research! At the moment, my civil procedure class is diving into types of jurisdiction talking about subject matter, diversity, amounts in controversy, etc. . . It is nice to have some familiarity with all of that, too! Thank you Judicial Process! I have my notes from both of your classes I took, and have looked at them several times in the last week. I only wish I would have been able to take Con Law with you! :)
Dear Prof. Hagle,
I just wanted to thank you for writing my recommendation letter and for helping me start a very exciting educational and professional
course. I was accepted, and am now attending, the University of Iowa College of Law. ... . It has so far been an amazing and challenging experience, and I know that I would not be
here if it weren't for you.
I really feel like your classes gave me a good feel and foundation for studying law at this level. I had no goals or ideas about applying to or aiming for law school until I started taking your pre-law track courses in undergrad. Your Judicial Process course gave me an understanding for how and why the judiciary acts and reacts the way that they do. I've utilized this understanding in reading many of cases that make up the meat of my education now. Also, your Research in Judicial Politics course has made my first semester legal writing and research course far more comfortable (I definitely knew my way around the Boyd Library reporters :-) )
Again thank you so much! ...
Hello Professor Hagle, how are you? I hear that you are not teaching this semester. What will those poor students do???? Are you in Washington? How is the research going? Anyways, I don't want to bother you but I thought I would drop you a quick note to let you know that today is my third day of law school and wow. Who knew it would be this rigorous. I didn't think I would be one of these people but I have to tell you, your classes have really proven to be a lifesaver. It is funny because when you were telling us that people write back and tell you how much your class helped I remembered thinking, yeah right they are just suck ups! :) But actually, they do. My legal research class, however, is really boring because I already know how to look stuff up on lexis and how to look stuff up in the reporters. I find that I am mainly helping my classmates figure it out. I was the first one done with the assignment and my teacher was impressed. Also, reading the cases for class is still tough, but I could not imagine doing it without having had constitutional law. I kept all my materials from those classes and I have already used them, especially from the research class. That little course pack you made us with the reporters and such are very helpful! Anyways, thank you again and I hope to keep in touch and I hope you get back to the University soon because no other teacher (a conservative teacher even!!) has taught me so much!!!!
Thanks again and good luck,