NOTICE TO BAR APPLICANTS
The Office of Professional Regulation in closely monitoring the situation surrounding COVID-19. The impact on bar admissions in Iowa is as follows:
- IMPORTANT! While the Office of Professional Regulation is accepting hand-delivered application materials for bar admissions, we prefer and highly recommend submitting all application materials by US Mail, FedEx, UPS, or similar means. This includes law student registrations and applications to take the Iowa bar examination. Any applicable due dates are met if the materials are postmarked on or before the established deadline. We recommend sending any such items with tracking—we are not able to confirm receipt of mailings by phone or email. We do not recommend that you require a signature, as that may delay delivery.
- Admissions staff is still working, and no COVID-19-related delay is expected in application intake or processing. Character and fitness investigations and reviews are expected to continue under our normal schedule.
- The court is not currently conducting any in-person oath administrations for applicants approved for admission on motion or by transferred UBE score. If you already have set a date to be sworn in by a supreme court justice, you will be contacted with information on rescheduling your oath administration.
- Remote notarization is now in effect in Iowa after Governor Reynolds issued an emergency waiver of the in-person requirement. This can be used to complete all application forms while the governor's order is in effect. For information on requirements for remote authorization, please visit: https://sos.iowa.gov/news/2020_03_25-2.html
- The Iowa Supreme Court has suspended the fingerprint card requirement for all application materials.
- Changes, should they occur, will be posted on this page.
February 2021 Bar Exam Applicants:
- Update: On October 9, 2020, the Iowa Supreme Court entered an order limiting the seating for the February 2021 Iowa Bar Examination to 200 applicants. Those applicants demonstrating a bona fide intent to practice law in Iowa will be given first priority for filling those 200 spots. If space remains, additional applicants will be allowed based upon order the applications are received in the Office of Professional Regulation. Applicants who are not permitted to register based upon the seating capacity being reached will not be charged for submitting their applications and will be notified shortly after the November 1 application deadline that they have not been successfully registered for the February 2021 exam. Click here to see the October 9, 2020 order.
- The application deadline for the February 2021 Iowa bar examination is November 1, 2020.
- No changes have been made to the February exam location or schedule. Should a change occur, applicants will be notified via email and this website.
- As indicated above, the fingerprint card requirement has been waived.
- The Iowa Supreme Court entered the following order on June 5, 2020, permitting applicants for the July 2020 Iowa Bar Examination to defer their fees to the February 2021 Iowa Bar Examination if they do not take the July exam. Click here to see order. Applicants for the July 2020 who previously deferred their fees to the February 2021 Iowa Bar Examination may defer their fees to the July 2021 Iowa Bar Examination.
The Iowa Board of Law Examiners oversees the process of admission to the bar of Iowa. The admission process covers those that are required to take an examination to gain admission as well as attorneys licensed from other jurisdictions who wish to practice in Iowa. Find out more about the bar examination in Iowa. If you are already licensed in another jurisdiction, learn how to become licensed in Iowa. Contact Bar.Admissions@iowacourts.gov if you have any other questions.
Court Rules Governing Admission and Practice
Chapter 31 of the Iowa Court Rules governs who may practice law in Iowa. Qualified persons seeking admission to the bar or authority to appear in an action in an Iowa court should refer to the following rules:
- Rules 31.2-31.11. Admission by examination.
- Rules 31.12-31.13. Admission without examination of a lawyer licensed to practice law in another state.
- Rule 31.14. Admission pro hac vice
- Rule 31.15. Permitted practice by a law student as part of an educational program approved by a law school and the court.
- Rule 31.16. Registration of house counsel for a corporation, association, or other business, educational, or governmental entity engaged in business in Iowa.
- Rule 31.18. Licensing and practice of foreign legal consultants.
- Rule 31.19. Certification and pro bono participation of emeritus attorneys.
Contact Bar.Admissions@iowacourts.gov for information about admission to the bar or more general information.