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How to File a Complaint Against a Lawyer

Click Here to Read Recent Disciplinary and Disability Orders Involving Iowa Lawyers

As part of its responsibility to supervise lawyers and in the interest of promoting public confidence in the legal system, the Iowa Supreme Court has procedures for addressing complaints concerning alleged violations of the Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct.  The Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct are located in Chapter 32 of the Iowa Court Rules.

The procedures for investigating and evaluating ethical complaints and disciplining attorneys are not a substitute for appeal.

On this page you can find links to the following information:

  • A summary of Iowa's attorney disciplinary procedures.

  • Helpful information about choosing and working with an attorney.

  • A complaint form (available below). In filing a complaint, please identify the nature of the legal matter the lawyer was handling (dissolution of marriage, criminal, personal injury, etc.). If the matter involved a court case, please mention the case name and number. You may attach copies of pleadings, correspondence, or other documents that help to explain the complaint.

In addition, this page connects you to information about lawyers who have been the subject of discipline (opens in new window). On the page you can search by name of attorney, by year or by discipline type. Copies of the applicable court orders and/or opinions are also provided.

Procedure for filing an ethics complaint against an attorney

Please review our Attorney Disciplinary Board informational brochure, which explains the applicable procedures for all lawyer complaints.

Every complaint must be accompanied by the complaint form approved by the Iowa Supreme Court. The blank form may be downloaded here: Attorney Complaint Form (pdf).  A fillable PDF form is available here: Fillable Complaint Form (pdf).

Complainants should submit additional documents with the complaint form. If you wish to complain about the conduct of more than one attorney, you must submit individual complaint forms, one for each attorney.

Please do not bind or staple the pages of your complaint. The Board will scan the complaint and retain an electronic copy.

Please do not send CDs, DVDs, or flash drives unless our investigators request those items from you. If you have such items, you should tell us about them in your complaint, and we will follow up if they are needed. Often, our investigators are able to obtain such items in another format, such as from a Court docket.

DO NOT SEND ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS. Our office will scan, and may subsequently discard, all papers we receive from complainants.

Each complaint must include the complainant’s original signature. For that reason, the Board does not accept complaints via e-mail or fax.

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