Lawyers conduct criminal and civil lawsuits, draft legal documents, advise clients as to legal rights, and practice other phases of law. They gather evidence in divorce, civil, criminal, and other cases to formulate defense or to initiate legal action; represent clients in court and before quasi-judicial or administrative agencies of government; may act as trustee, guardian, conservator, or executor; may teach college courses in law; and, may specialize in a particular phase of law.
Code Citation IC 602.10101; Iowa Court Rules chapter 31
Who Applies Any person desiring to sit for the Bar exam must apply for admission. Any person admitted to practice in another state and desiring admission on motion must submit an application for admission on motion. Iowa administers the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE). Any applicant who obtains a UBE score that meets or exceeds the Iowa cut score may apply for admission by transferred UBE score.
When To Apply By April 1 for the July exam. By November 1 for the February exam. Applications for admission on motion or admission by transferred UBE score may be submitted at any time.
Initial Requirements An applicant for admission to practice law in Iowa must submit proof of graduation from a reputable law school fully accredited by the American Bar Association. Attorneys may be admitted without examination provided they have practiced law at least five of the last seven years in another state and have met other requirements for admission. In such cases, there is an admission fee. Law students should file a Law Student Registration by January 15 of the year in which the person begins law school. Late registrations may be filed, but require a significantly higher fee.
Duration Bar admission is continuous, although there are annual reporting and fee payment requirements, described under “Renewal Requirements.”
Processing Time For those applicants taking the exam in February, applications are fully processed and the swearing-in normally occurs in mid to late April. For those applicants taking the exam in July, applications are fully processed and the swearing-in normally occurs in mid to late September. Applications for admission on motion or by transferred UBE score are usually fully processed in two to four months.
Fee Structure Attorneys: $200 – Initial Assessment fee. Applicants admitted by examination are exempt from payment for the first two years, then must pay $50 each year, until this figure is met. Renewal: $200 – Client Security Fund – An annual fee imposed upon all lawyers to fund disciplinary system. Assessment for Client Security Trust Fund – After initial assessment of $200 is paid – $50, $70, or $140 each year depending on license category and balance of fund. $10 – Continuing Legal Education – An annual fee Exam: $550 (if not previously admitted in another state) or $800 (if previously admitted in another state) – To defray investigative and written exam costs. Other: $50 – Law Student Registration; $150 or $250 if not filed timely. For out-of-state attorneys applying to practice in Iowa – $900 is paid to the Office of Professional Regulation as an administrative fee. A separate application fee is paid directly to the National Conference of Bar Examiners at the time the electronic application is filed. The fee to apply for admission by transferred UBE score is $900.
Renewal Requirements Lawyers are required to take fifteen (15) hours of legal continuing education each year, including three hours of legal ethics for each two-year period ending in the odd-numbered year. Annual reports to the Commission on Continuing Legal Education and the Client Security Commission are due by March 1st each year.
Exam Written examinations are given in February (apply by November 1) and July (apply by April 1) of each year in Des Moines. The Office of Professional Regulation of the Iowa Supreme Court should be contacted concerning specific locations and dates for the examination. A background investigation is conducted on all prospective lawyers and a fee is assessed to defray the cost of the investigation and the written examination. The Multi-State Professional Responsibility Examination must be taken before the bar exam, unless special permission is given to post a passing score at a later date.
Additional Information Any person desiring to sit for the Bar exam must apply for admission. Any person admitted to practice in another state and desiring admission on motion must submit an application for admission on motion. Any applicant who has obtained a UBE score of at least 266 may submit an application for admission by transferred UBE score.
- Service SubCategory
Iowa Judicial Branch
1111 East Court Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319