East Court Avenue
Moines, Iowa 50319
The Client Security
Commission manages a fund, generated from contributions from lawyers and
judges, that reimburses clients of lawyers who have misappropriated or lost a
client's money The purpose of the fund is to prevent defalcations by members of
the lowa bar, and insofar as practicable, to provide for the 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 covers the cost of
administering the lawyer disciplinary system and other programs which impact
the disciplinary system. The commission advises the court on policies involving
the administration of the fund. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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
New! Handling Electronic Payment of Court Fees
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
by Sole Practitioners
"To prevent neglect of client matters in the event of a sole
practitioner's death or disability, the duty of diligence may require that each
sole practitioner prepare a plan, in conformity with applicable rules, that
designates another competent lawyer to review client files, notify each client
of the lawyer's death or disability, and determine whether there is a need for
immediate protective action. " Iowa Rule of Professional Conduct 32:1.3, comment
5. The Client Security Commission
encourages every sole practitioner to prepare a contingency plan for
administration of his or her practice upon death or disability.
An informational flyer regarding the duty to
plan is available here: Flyer
An outline regarding succession
planning for sole practitioners is available here: Outline
A Powerpoint slide set to accompany
the outline is available here: Slide Set
A succession planning handbook is available here: Handbook
Forms from the succession planning handbook are available here: Forms
Registration of House Counsel
Iowa Supreme Court adopted rule 31.16 effective July 1, 2005. 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: Rule 31.16.
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.
An 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, pursuant to Rule 39.7.
Rule 39.7 should be carefully examined regarding eligibility and
reinstatement requirements before applying for exemption. The application form may be downloaded here:
In Rich Text Format
Claim Procedures and Form
The claim form to be used to apply for compensation from the Commission may
be downloaded here: In Rich Text Format In PDF Format
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 1oss.
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
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.
shall be addressed to the Client Security Commission, Care of the Assistant
Administrator, Judicial Branch Building, 1111 East Court Avenue, Des Moines,
Trust Account Audits and Procedures
The 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
Other Available Outlines
Succession Planning for Sole Practitioners, in PDF Format
Succession Planning for Sole Practitioners, Powerpoint
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:
The Honorable David Christensen, Chair, Ellston
Sondra Holmstrom, Vice-Chair, Fort Dodge
Lance D. Ehmcke, Treasurer, Sioux City
The Honorable Annette Jennings Scieszinski, Albia
Jennifer A. Clemens-Conlon, Dubuque
Kenneth Boeke, West Des Moines
JoAnn Barten, Ames