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, certified shorthand reporters, and court interpreters.
Boards and Commissions Pertaining to Attorneys
All of these boards and commissions are comprised of attorneys and lay persons who volunteer for service and are appointed by the Supreme Court. If you are interested in submitting your name for consideration for a vacancy, please fill at the form at the bottom of the page.
Board of Law Examiners: The Board of Law Examiners (BLE) consists of seven individuals, five of whom are admitted to the practice law in Iowa and "active" in standing, and two non-lawyer members. Appointments are for three-year terms that commence on July 1st. Members may serve no more than three terms or nine years, whichever is less. The BLE reviews the qualifications of law school graduates seeking admission to practice law in Iowa and administers the Iowa Bar Examination to assess the legal knowledge and skills of bar applicants. The board also 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. The board is also in need of graders for the bar examination, if you are interested in this please complete the form below.
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. Members can serve up to two three year terms. Vacancies for this position are filled in December.
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.
Grievance Commission: 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.
Boards and Commissions Pertaining to Certified Shorthand Reporters and Court Interpreters
The Office of Professional Regulation also has the responsibility to administer the functions of the various boards and commissions charged with oversight of certified shorthand reporters and court interpreters. Those boards and commissions include the following entities:
The 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.
Court Interpreters and Translators: The Office of Professional Regulation administers the certification, continuing education and disciplinary systems for Iowa’s court interpreters and translators. Appointments and compensation are handled by the state court administrator. The Committee meets annually.
All positions on the above boards and commissions are appointed by the Iowa Supreme Court.