Office of Professional Regulation
Iowa Judicial Branch Building
1111 E. Court Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa 50319
Telephone: (515) 348-4670
Chapter 49 of the Iowa Court Rules establishes the Office of Professional Regulation, with the responsibility to administer the functions of the various boards and commissions charged with oversight of attorneys and certified shorthand reporters.
Boards and Commissions
All of these boards and commissions are comprised of attorneys, certified shorthand reporters, and lay persons who volunteer for service and are appointed by the Supreme Court.
Board of Law Examiners
The Board of Law Examiners reviews the qualifications of law school graduates seeking admission to practice law in Iowa. The board administers the Iowa Bar Examination to assess the legal knowledge and skills of bar applicants. The board supervises the grading of the examination and recommends to the Supreme Court all applicants who pass the examination and who meet the character and fitness requirements.
Client Security Commission
The Client Security Commission administers the Client Security Trust Fund, which was established with support of the Iowa State Bar Association and is totally attorney-funded. The Client Security Trust Fund reimburses claims based on dishonesty of Iowa attorneys engaged in practice or fiduciary duties, subject to certain limits and the discretion of the commission. The fund does not cover malpractice, fee disputes, or quality or quantity of service issues. Trust account auditors employed by the commission perform regular periodic and on-demand special audits of all attorney trust accounts in Iowa. The Commission meets twice per year.
Commission on Continuing Legal Education
The Commission on Continuing Legal Education (CLE) administers the continuing education program for Iowa attorneys. Each active Iowa attorney is required to attend a minimum of 15 hours of regular CLE each calendar year. The regular 15 hour requirement must include 3 hours of ethics instruction every two year biennium, ending in the odd-numbered year. The Commission’s staff reviews and approves every CLE event submitted for approval in Iowa. More than 10,000 CLE events are reviewed each year. Attorneys annually report their compliance with a list of each event and hours attended. The Commission meets twice per year.
Lawyer Trust Account Commission
The Lawyer Trust Account Commission administers the Interest on Lawyer Trust Account (IOLTA) program. The IOLTA program produces interest income from pooled trust accounts that were not interest-bearing prior to initiation of the program. Banks forward interest on pooled trust accounts to the commission no less often than quarterly. The Supreme Court approves grants from these funds each year to help support legal services to the poor and law-related education. Receipts of almost $25 million have been distributed since the commission's founding in 1985. The Commission meets twice per year.
Commission on the Unauthorized Practice of Law
The Commission on the Unauthorized Practice of Law investigates complaints of law practice by persons not admitted to practice law in Iowa. When necessary, the commission files complaints in the district court to enjoin unauthorized practice. The Commission meets four times per year.
Attorney Disciplinary Board
The Attorney Disciplinary Board investigates complaints of alleged unethical conduct by Iowa attorneys and attorneys practicing in Iowa. The Board may dismiss, admonish, reprimand (with Court concurrence), or prosecute a complaint before the Grievance Commission. The Board meets four times per year. You can search for an attorney's disciplinary history by clicking here.
The Grievance Commission hears the ethics complaints formally prosecuted by the Attorney Disciplinary Board. The Grievance Commission may dismiss, admonish, or recommend discipline up to revocation of license to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court reviews and imposes or approves all discipline above a private admonition. All discipline above a private admonition is reported in a public opinion. There is no set schedule of meetings for the Grievance Commission as they are convened on an "as needed" basis.
Board of Examiners of Shorthand Reporters
The Board of Examiners of Shorthand Reporters administers the examination and certification process for shorthand reporters in Iowa. The board also administers continuing education requirements and disciplinary actions with respect to shorthand reporters. The board advises the court on policies regarding shorthand reporting in Iowa. The Board meets twice per year.
The Office of Professional Regulation is overseen by the Executive Director, Nicholas (Tré) Critelli, III, with the assistance of four directors:
- Trinity M. Braun-Arana, Director of Client Security
- Daniel L. Saar, Director of Admissions
- Jessica Taylor, Director of Boards and Commissions
- Tara M. van Brederode, Director of Attorney Discipline
All but Ms. van Brederode be reached at (515) 348-4670. She may be reached at (515) 348-4680.