Professor Acton joined the Iowa law faculty in 1981. Before doing so, she practiced law for several years at Simmons, Perrine, Albright & Ellwood in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and was a Bigelow Teaching Fellow and Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School. She retired in 2011.
At Iowa, she has taught Clinical Law, Commercial Transactions, Arts & Entertainment Law, Trusts and Estates, and the Legal History of Iowa. She also has taught as a Visiting Professor at the University of Florida School of Law. For a number of years while at Iowa Professor Acton served as the on-site director of the London Law Consortium, a study abroad program for students from seven American law schools. When in London, she taught Arts and Entertainment Law from a comparative perspective. She has also regularly taught the British Legal Methods Clinical Program.