East Court Avenue
Moines, Iowa 50319
The Client Security
Commission manages a fund generated by contributions from Iowa lawyers and
judges, and advises the court on policies involving the administration of the
fund. The purpose of the fund is to
prevent defalcations by members of the lowa bar, and insofar as practicable, to
provide indemnification by the profession for losses caused to the public by
the dishonest conduct of members of the bar of this state. The fund also separately administers the cost
of administering the lawyer disciplinary system and other programs which impact
the disciplinary system.
CLE & Client Security reports and fees are due by March 10th -
Fees Payable with the Annual Client Security Report in 2017
A fee of $175 for support of the lawyer discipline system will be
collected with the client security report during 2017. In addition, a regular assessment of $50 for
the Client Security Trust Fund will be collected during 2017 from all lawyers
who previously have paid at least $200 into the fund, which will make the total
fees payable with the client security report $225.
Lawyers who have not previously paid their initial assessment of
$200 into the Client Security Trust Fund will pay an installment of $50 toward
that initial assessment, regardless of status, which will make the total fees
payable with the client security report $225.
Lawyers in full-time military service and emeritus lawyers remain
exempt from the annual fee for support of the disciplinary system and
assessments for the Client Security Trust Fund.
Registered house counsel and foreign legal consultants will pay
the $175 fee for support of the disciplinary system, but are not subject to the
Iowa lawyer who does NOT in fact practice law in Iowa may apply for a
Certificate of Exemption from filing the annual client security report and
paying associated fees. Iowa Court Rule
39.7 should be carefully examined regarding eligibility and reinstatement
requirements before applying for exemption.
The application form may be completed from the lawyer's My Account page
or downloaded here: In Rich Text Format
by Iowa Attorneys
November 18, 2016, the Supreme Court adopted an amended rule regarding death
and disability planning by Iowa attorneys.
The amended rule creates two "tiers" of succession planning. The first tier is a mandatory short form
designation of an assisting attorney or entity as part of the annual
questionnaire filed with the Client Security Commission. The second tier is an optional but encouraged
written plan that the attorney creates.
The new rule will be effective December 25, 2017, and will apply to the
entirety of the 2018 attorney annual report filing season.
A copy of the new rule is available
here: Rule 39.18
A copy of the related court rule
regarding designation of trust account successor signatories is available here:
An informational flyer regarding the duty to
plan is available here: Flyer
outline regarding succession planning for sole practitioners is available
Powerpoint slide set to accompany the outline is available here: Slide Set
succession planning handbook is available here:
from the succession planning handbook are available here in Word format: Forms
Reporting by Multijurisdictional Practitioners (MJP)
Iowa Rule of
Professional Conduct 32:5.5 allows lawyers who are admitted in another state to
practice before federal agencies in Iowa without being admitted here. However,
Iowa Court Rule 39.16 provides that an attorney who establishes an office or
other systematic and continuous presence in Iowa for the practice of law under
the provisions of rule of professional conduct 32:5.5(d)(2) must file the
annual client security statement required by rule 39.8(1) and annual client
security questionnaire required by rule 39.11, pay the annual fee and
assessment due under rules 39.5 and 39.6, comply with all provisions of chapter
45 pertaining to trust accounts, cooperate with investigations and audits under
rule 39.10, and be subject to the provisions of rule 39.12. The attached memorandum provides additional
information and includes the required report form: MJP Memo
Registration of House
Iowa Supreme Court adopted rule 31.16 effective July 1, 2005. Iowa Court Rule 31.16 provides for
registration of persons who are not admitted to practice in Iowa, but who are
admitted in another jurisdiction in the United States and maintain an office or
other systematic and continuous presence in Iowa to practice as house counsel
for a corporation or other entity. A
copy of the rule is available at this link:
subject to registration should examine rule 31.16 and prepare the registration
packet contemplated by the rule for submission to the Office of Professional
Regulation, Judicial Branch Building, 1111 East Court Avenue, Des Moines,
Iowa 50319. The packet should include the affidavit
specified in rule 31.16(2) and the attachments listed in rule 31.16(3). Applicants also must include in the
registration packet the $200 registration fee specified in rule
31.16(3)(a). The check or money order
for this fee should be made payable to "Client Security Commission."
the applicant's registration has been approved, he or she will receive an
annual report form by personal delivery or mail from the Client Security
Commission. The form must be completed,
signed and returned to the Client Security Commission within thirty (30) days
of registration to avoid a late filing penalty.
The annual disciplinary fee prescribed by rule 31.16(9) and rule 39.5,
which currently is $175.00, will be payable with this report form. Registered lawyers will receive an annual
report form from the Client Security Commission each year thereafter during
their maximum five years of registered status, and will be required to timely
file the report form and pay the annual disciplinary fee each year.
SECURITY TRUST FUND
Recent Changes to Provisions of the Client Security Trust Fund
in court rules were adopted on November 26, 2013 regarding new claim
reimbursement limits, assessments, and the sufficiency threshold calculation
for the Client Security Trust Fund. The
Increased the claim reimbursement limits to $100,000 per claim and
$300,000 per lawyer.
Increased the threshold for the annual sufficiency calculation
from $600,000 to $900,000.
Increased the special assessments payable in a special assessment
year to $140 (from the existing $100) for lawyers in full-time private
practice; and to $70 (from the existing $25) for lawyers in other categories
including judges, government lawyers, and corporate lawyers (but not lawyers on
full-time military service).
Made the rate at which the $200 initial assessment for new lawyers
is payable uniform, at $50 per year regardless of client security status.
5. Adopted a
new, uniform annual assessment of $50 per year, payable by all active lawyers
(except lawyers on full-time military service) in any year in which a special
assessment is not payable.
A copy of the rule amendments is
available here: Client Security Rule Changes
Client Security Trust
Fund - Claim Procedures and Form
Client Security Trust Fund was established in 1974 by the Supreme Court of
Iowa. The fund exists to reimburse victims of attorney theft or conversion when
all other avenues of recovery have been exhausted. It is fully funded by Iowa attorneys
as part of their annual fees.
claim form to be used to apply for compensation from the Commission may be
downloaded here: In Rich Text Format In PDF Format
informational tri-fold on the fund is available here: Tri-fold
The Commission shall consider for payment all claims resulting from the
dishonest conduct of a lawyer licensed to practice law in Iowa acting as an
attorney or a fiduciary, provided that:
claim arises out of the practice of law.
alleged defalcation occurred after January 1, 1974.
claim is made within one year after the client's discovery of the loss.
However, in unusual circumstances this time limitation may be extended by the
commission for good cause.
claim is made directly by or on behalf of the client or the client's
personal representative or, if a corporation, by or on behalf of itself or
its successors in interest.
commission is satisfied there is no other source or collateral source for
the reimbursement of the loss.
shall not be made that arise out of employer-employee relationship as
distinguished from a lawyer-client relationship or a fiduciary
The commission has
full authority to determine whether the claim merits reimbursement from the
fund and if so, the amount of such reimbursement and any conditions attached to
reimbursement. When determining the amount of the reimbursement the commission
must consider many factors such as the amount of money available in the fund,
the degree of hardship suffered by the claimant, the losses of other claimants
and the degree of negligence, if any, which may have contributed to the loss.
No claimant or any other person or organization shall have any right in the
fund as a third party beneficiary or otherwise. The claimant does not need to
be represented by counsel before the commission.
Trust Account Audits and Procedures
Commission employs auditors who are responsible for conducting periodic
unannounced audits of the trust accounts established by Iowa lawyers under the
provisions of Chapter 39 and Chapter 45 of the Iowa Court Rules.
An outline regarding trust account procedures has been published by Commission
staff and is available here: In PDF format
The viewgraph slides associated with the outline are available here: In PowerPoint format
2015 Rule Change
Supreme Court adopted amendments to several provisions in Division III
(Professional Regulation) of the Iowa Court Rules on November 20, 2015. Among these changes was a new court rule
pertaining to collection of the costs of special trust account audits. The rule directs that the costs of performing
a trust account audit must now be assessed to the attorney(s) signatory to the
trust account if 1) the audit reveals the account was not in substantial
compliance with the trust account rules, and 2) a circumstance specified in the
rule caused performance of the audit. This new rule will be effective January
A copy of the rule is available
2012 Rule Changes
February of 2012 the Supreme Court adopted several changes in Division III of
the Iowa Court Rules, pertaining to various matters within the scope of
professional regulation. One key change
was the adoption of the substance of a recommendation made by the Client
Security Commission last year regarding limited coverage of client security
claims arising after a lawyer is suspended.
Iowa Court Rule 39.9 is affected by that change. Another key change is adoption of specific
trust account record keeping requirements, based on the ABA model rules. Iowa
Court Rule 45.2 is affected by this change.
As explained in the summary published with the rule change:
Iowa Court Rule 39.9 is amended to adopt the ABA model rule
approach to coverage of client security claims arising after a lawyer's license
has been suspended. Claims arising from conduct after entry of a suspension
order will be covered, but only if the client's reliance on the state of the
lawyer's license is reasonable. However, the amendment also adopts the Michigan
qualification that if the conduct giving rise to the claim occurs more than six
months after a lawyer's suspension, that reliance would be presumed
unreasonable. In any event, revocation would constitute a bright-line date
beyond which no claim could arise and be honored.
Iowa Court Rule 45.2 is amended
to incorporate the general record keeping and electronic records provisions of
the ABA Model Rules for Client Trust Account Records, adopted by the ABA on
August 9, 2010. The amendment also reflects informal guidance the Iowa Client
Security Commission has provided lawyers during audits and seminars for several
years regarding their record keeping obligation. Until now, however, specific
guidance regarding required record keeping has not been included in the Iowa
rules. The amendment leaves intact the provisions of Iowa Court Rules 45.7
through 45.10, which generally incorporate the court's guidance regarding
advances for fees and costs first set out in Board of Professional Ethics
& Conduct v. Apland, 577 N.W.2d 50 (Iowa 1998).
A copy of the rule
changes, adopting order, and a short summary are available here: Rule Changes
Handling Electronic Payment of Court
the advent of electronic filing of pleadings in cases, electronic payment of
filing fees now is possible, and in fact is required in some courts. The Office of Professional Regulation has
issued the following guidance for practitioners regarding the trust account
aspects of electronic fee payments.
Short outline regarding electronic fee
Powerpoint slide set to accompany
the outline: EDMSSlides.pdf
Other Available Outlines
Protecting Yourself from Fraud by Law Firm Employees, in Rich
Protecting Yourself from Fraud by Law Firm Employees, Powerpoint
The commission is composed of seven members - five lowa lawyers and two
lowa residents who are not lawyers. Members shall be appointed for a term of
five years unless appointed to fill a vacancy in an unexpired term. Members
shall not serve more than two complete four-year terms. The following persons
currently serve on the commission:
Jennifer Clemens-Conlon, Chair, Dubuque
JoAnn Barten, Vice-Chair, Ames
Kenneth Boeke, Treasurer, West Des Moines
The Honorable Myron L. Gookin, Fairfield
Todd Geer, Grundy Center
Ann Powers, Fort Dodge
Joel Vos, Sioux City