Professor Bonfield joined the Iowa Law School faculty in 1962 and has been a visiting professor at the University of Michigan, North Carolina, and Tennessee Law Schools, and at the Law Schools of Hofstra University and Lewis and Clark. Until August 2014, Professor Bonfield served as Associate Dean for Research, building the Iowa Law Library into the best public law library in the nation.
Professor Bonfield's professional and law reform activities are extensive. He was a member of the Administrative Conference of the United States (1990-95) and also consultant to that agency (1968-76). He was an Iowa Commissioner on Uniform State Laws from 1984-2000, and was a Reporter-Draftsman for the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws 1981 Model State Administrative Procedure Act. From 1977 to 2003 he was Chair of the Constitutional Law Committee of the Multistate Bar Examination. In addition, he was Chair of the 7000 member American Bar Association Section on Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice in 1987-88 and the Chair of the Iowa State Bar Association Committee on Administrative Law from 1971 to 1985. In 1983-84 Professor Bonfield chaired the Iowa Governor's Committee on the Public Records Law and in 1985-92 he chaired the Iowa Governor's Task Force on Uniform Agency Rules of Procedure. Professor Bonfield also acted as Reporter-Draftsman for the Iowa State Bar Association Task Force on Administrative Law Reform in 1994-96. In addition, he was General Counsel to the Administrative Procedures Act Joint Subcommittee of the Iowa General Assembly in 1973-74 and was Special Counsel on Administrative Procedure to the Executive Branch of Iowa in 1974-75. In 1999-2000 Professor Bonfield acted as chair of the Iowa Governor's Taskforce Team on the Regulatory Process, Rule Making, and Rules Review. During 2007, he acted as consultant to the Joint Interim Study Committee of the Iowa General Assembly on Freedom of Information, Open Meetings, and Public Records. In 1980, Professor Bonfield also acted as a consultant to the Arkansas State Constitutional Convention, and during the last twenty-five years has been a consultant to many different state legislatures on the reform of their state administrative procedure legislation.
Professor Bonfield has received many professional awards for his work as a professor, scholar, and law reformer including an award from the Iowa Civil Liberties Union for Outstanding Service to Civil Liberties, a Hancher-Finkbine Outstanding UI Faculty Member Award, an Iowa State Board of Regents Award for Faculty Excellence, an Iowa State Bar Association President's Award for Outstanding Meritorious Service to the Bar and Public, a University of Iowa Collegiate Teaching Award (1996), a College of Law Teaching Award (2006), an honorary degree from Cornell College for his work in law reform (1999), and an Iowa Freedom of Information Council Friend of the First Amendment Award (2013).