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:
July 2020 Bar Exam Applicants:
- IMPORTANT! Effective immediately, the Office of Professional Regulation is no longer accepting hand-delivered application materials for bar admissions, including law student registrations and applications to take the Iowa bar examination. All application materials should be sent via US Mail, FedEx, UPS, or similar means. 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
- Changes, should they occur, will be posted on this page.
- Update: 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.
- Update: The July 27 exam orientation will no longer be held at the testing venue and will be held remotely. It will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, July 27. Please note the time change. All applicants scheduled to sit for the July exam will be emailed a registration link for the orientation. The remainder of the exam will be administered in-person as scheduled on July 28-29.
- The Iowa Supreme Court entered the following order on May 6, 2020, regarding the July 2020 administration of the Iowa Bar Examination: click here to see order.
- Consistent with the Supreme Court's May 6, 2020 order, the Iowa Board of Law Examiners still intends on administering the July 2020 Iowa Bar Examination as scheduled on July 28-29, 2020, at the Airport Holiday Inn in Des Moines. We are working closely with the National Conference of Bar Examiners and monitoring state and local directives related to the COVID-19 pandemic to consistently evaluate whether administering the July exam as scheduled can be done safely.
- If the July 2020 bar examination cannot be administered as scheduled, the Iowa Board of Law Examiners intends to administer the Iowa Bar Examination on September 8-10, 2020. Should a change occur, we will notify applicants via email and this website.
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.