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Most active Iowa lawyers are required to file two annual reports. The first is a CLE report which certifies the lawyer has attended the required hours of annual continuing legal education. The second is the Client Security report, which deals with various administrative matters such as trust accounts and designated successors. Failure to file either report or pay the associated annual fees may lead to suspension of a lawyer’s license to practice law in the State of Iowa. The deadline for filing reports is March 10th.
Both reports are filed via the online portal at the Iowa Court Admissions professional regulation site (Opens in New Window). All Iowa attorneys receive a username upon their admission to the Iowa bar which allows them to access the website for filing. Please contact the Office of Professional Regulation at (515) 348-4670 during normal business hours (Mon-Fri, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) if there is any difficulty in accessing the website.
Filing Your Annual CLE Report
Iowa’s lawyer and judges must complete a minimum of 15 hours of legal education accredited by the Commission each calendar year. This requirement helps ensure that lawyers and judges keep abreast of the latest legal developments. Hours in excess of the minimum requirements may be carried over subject to specific restrictions. The minimum number of legal education hours must include at least 3 hours every two years, of education devoted exclusively to legal ethics. Up to 6 hours of legal education may be attended “on demand” through unmoderated CLE events.
There is currently a $20 administrative fee associated with the filing of the annual CLE report. All attorneys who fail by March 10 of each year to file the annual report or to pay the administrative fee are subject to late fees based upon the schedule found in rule 41.4(4).
CLE reports and fees are due by March 10 each year. Within these reports, attorneys certify the CLE programs attended throughout the calendar year. There currently is a $20 administrative fee associated with the filing of each CLE report. Attorneys are required to file their reports electronically by logging into the Office of Professional Regulation website, completing their online transcript, and submitting their annual CLE reports.
CLE by Reciprocity
Iowa Court Rule 41.9 adopts a reciprocity reporting alternative with respect to continuing legal education (CLE) attendance, intended to ease the reporting process for out-of-state attorneys and reduce the number of out-of-state CLE events submitted for accreditation in Iowa. The rule allows non-resident attorneys to certify attendance of the same number of clock hours required for resident Iowa attorneys, and that those hours were accredited by the CLE regulatory body in the attorney's resident state or the District of Columbia. The rule denies the out-of-state reporting exemption to attorneys who, although residing outside Iowa, are in fact practicing in Iowa.
Attorneys who qualify for CLE reporting by reciprocity are still required to log in to their lawyer account page during the normal annual reporting period and file a report. However, you now have the option to file the normal annual CLE report or the reciprocity report. If you elect to file the reciprocity report then you must certify as part of the submission process that you meet all of the requirements of rule 41.9. You must also pay the normal annual CLE administrative fee (currently $20), and any late filing fees that might apply.
During the process you will be required to specify the number of CLE hours and ethic hours you claim by reciprocity for the reporting year. This permits normal CLE calculations, including carryforward hours, to facilitate movement back and forth between the regular CLE report and the reciprocity report from year to year in case you relocate to Iowa or begin to practice law in Iowa. Once you log into your account you will see the option for filing CLE by Reciprocity.
Do I qualify to file by reciprocity?
In order to file by reciprocity under rule 41.9, all of the following must be true:
You must NOT be an Iowa resident, but live in a state other than Iowa or in the District of Columbia.
You must NOT have practiced law AT ALL in Iowa during the filing year.
You must have attended at least fifteen clock-hours of CLE accredited by the CLE regulatory body in your state of residence or in the District of Columbia.
You must have attended fifteen clock-hours of CLE accredited by your place of residence per reporting year regardless of how many hours are required by the accrediting body in the other jurisdiction. For example, if you only have to report your CLE hours every three years to the extra-jurisdictional body, you still must obtain fifteen hours of credit in each calendar year for which you are wishing to file by reciprocity.
You must still obtain at least three clock-hours in the area of legal ethics in your jurisdiction every two-year biennium ending in the odd-numbered year.
Exemption from the CLE Reporting Requirement for Inactive or Retired Attorneys
An Iowa-licensed attorney who does NOT in fact practice law in Iowa may apply for a certificate of exemption from CLE requirements, pursuant to Iowa Court Rule 42.6. Chapter 42 of the Iowa Court Rules (PDF) should be carefully examined regarding eligibility and reinstatement requirements before applying for exemption. The application is submitted electronically by logging into the Office of Professional Regulation website and clicking on the “Apply for Certificate of Exemption” button. Full instructions can be found within the Attorney OPR Website Instructions Document (PDF).
Alternatively, a paper application may be filled out and sent to the Office of Professional Regulation. Download the Application for Certificate of Exemption (FORMAT).
Once the application is processed, the attorney will be provided with a certificate of exemption for purposes of the Commission on Continuing Legal Education from the Office of Professional Regulation. After a certificate of exemption is granted for an attorney, he or she must not engage in the practice of law in the State of Iowa as defined in Iowa Court Rule 39.7.
Requesting Reinstatement Instructions
If your license status is inactive or exempt, or if you license is suspended for failure to comply with reporting and fee payment duties, you may request instructions on the steps you must take to reinstate your license to active status.
To start this process, log in to the Office of Professional Regulation website and click on “Request Reinstatement Instructions” under General Functions. For full instructions, consult this Attorney OPR Website Instructions Guide (PDF).
Frequently Asked Questions
Commission on Continuing Legal Education
Judicial Branch Building
1111 East Court Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50319