What is The Iowa State Bar Association?
The Iowa State Bar Association is a vibrant,
progressive organization that provides Iowa attorneys with the benefits
of professional association with their colleagues. Its benefits include
continuing legal education, practice aids, interaction with the
judiciary and legislature, participation in reform of the law, and news
regarding developments impacting the profession.
The ISBA includes lawyers young and old,
newly licensed as well as retired, residents and nonresidents (including
military), active and inactive, lawyers in practice, and those working
for business, government, and in other lines of work. In all, the
Association includes approximately 8,000 lawyers and judges in Iowa’s 99 counties and beyond.
Membership in the Association is provided to
newly-licensed lawyers free of charge for one year. Annual dues
thereafter are graduated according to number of years licensed. Each
month members receive the Association’s publication, The Iowa Lawyer, a quality magazine providing news about the profession in Iowa and articles on a variety of legal topics.
State bar associations throughout the
country fall into two categories: unified and voluntary. In a unified
bar, a lawyer is automatically a member of the bar association upon
receiving a law license, and in some states the bar association is
actually operated by or as an arm of the state supreme court. In
contrast, there are 16 state bar associations where membership is
optional and voluntary. Iowa is one of those and proud to have one of
the highest membership rates (close to 90%) of any voluntary bar
association in the country. Fifty-four percent live and work in Iowa’s
largest cities, with the remainder spread throughout the state’s small
towns and rural communities. Seven percent of the members are solo
practitioners, 44% practice in firms of two to five members, 21% in
firms with six to ten members, and 28% in firms with over 10 members.
The Iowa State Bar Association is proud of
its history, its accomplishments, and its representation of Iowa
lawyers. In the rapidly changing legal environment of the 21st Century,
it will continue to strive to provide all of the benefits of association
membership to Iowa lawyers, to remain relevant and responsive to their
practice needs, and to promote improvements in the law and justice
system for the benefit of all Iowans.
As a licensed attorney, do I have to
join the ISBA?
No. The ISBA is a voluntary bar association. In fact, The Iowa State Bar Association also can lay
legitimate claim to being the oldest voluntary state bar association in
the United States, having been formed initially in 1874, four years
before even the American Bar Association.
Although the ISBA is a voluntary bar, we are proud to have one of the highest membership rates (close to 90%) of any voluntary bar association in the country.
There are probably many reasons why The Iowa
State Bar Association has such a high membership percentage, but here
are just a few. First and foremost, Iowa lawyers are committed to
justice and dedicated to their profession. Second, the ISBA provides
many valuable services to its members. Third, its involvement with and
handling of contemporary issues earns it respect from its members, the
judiciary and legislature, and the public. The ISBA has historically
been at the forefront of significant changes in Iowa law, many of which
have little to do with lawyers but are in the best interests of all
Iowans. It has served as the voice of Iowa lawyers, not only on behalf
of the profession but also on behalf of the legal rights of all Iowans.
How do I join the ISBA?
The Iowa State Bar Association is a voluntary organization
dedicated to promoting the interests of the legal profession and
improving the administration of justice, the quality of members'
professional lives, and their relations with the public. As a member,
you'll find many opportunities to serve your profession and the public.
Please use our online membership form to join or call the bar office at 515-697-7870
or 800-457-3729 for more information.
Who can join?
Membership in the ISBA is open to all licensed
attorneys admitted to practice in Iowa, with a graduated dues scale
starting at $35. New admittees receive a complimentary membership for
the first year.
Why should I join the ISBA?
- Absolutely free online legal research provided by Fastcase.
- Affordable IOWADOCS® - a library set of form templates consisting
of the legal forms created, endorsed and copyrighted by The Iowa State
Bar Association. Also includes various State and Federal forms and
includes ISBA Manuals.
- Effective, convenient, and affordable statewide CLE programs.
- Subscriptions to the Iowa Lawyer.
- Iowa CaseLaw Weekly updates of Supreme Court and Court of Appeals cases to your email.
- Section List Serves to give you quick responses to complex questions.
- Substantive law newsletters with ISBA section memberships.
Click here to view more ISBA member benefits.
How much does it cost to join?
During the first year after admission to the ISBA, lawyers
automatically receive a one-year complimentary membership. After that,
ISBA provides several membership categories to serve the needs of all
Standard Members - members of the legal profession licensed to practice
who either reside or practice in Iowa. For dues information, see below.
|Admittance year (membership type)
|Admitted to practice after 5/1/2013 (YLD Year 1)
|Admitted to practice between 7/1/2011 - 4/30/2013 (YLD Years 2 - 3)
|Admitted to practice between 7/1/2009 - 6/30/2011 (YLD Years 4 - 5)
|Admitted to practice between 7/1/2005 - 6/30/2009 (YLD Years 6 - 10)
|Admitted to practice prior to 7/1/2005 (Standard)
Are there any free or discounted
During the first year after admission to the ISBA, lawyers automatically
receive a one-year complimentary membership. After that, ISBA provides
several membership categories at a rate lower than the standard rate.
Out of State Members
Members of the legal profession in good standing who neither reside nor practice in the State of Iowa pay a dues rate of $125/yr.
Former active members who are designated as being in retired status by the Iowa Supreme Court pay a dues rate of $50/yr.
Fifty Year Members
Any ISBA member who has paid membership dues for fifty years will have their dues waived. Please contact the Bar office at 515-697-7870 for more information.
Dues-paying members of ISBA who are actively serving in the armed forces. Please contact the Bar office at 515-697-7870.
Membership is free to any full-time student in good standing enrolled in the College of Law of either the University of Iowa or of Drake University, or who is a bona fide Iowa resident attending an American Bar Association accredited Law School in a state other than Iowa is eligible to law student membership in this corporation. Law student members shall not vote nor hold any elective position in the corporation.
Continuing Legal Education
How many hours of CLE do I need a year?
The Commission on Continuing Legal Education administers a program established by the court which requires attorneys to attend legal education classes each year. Lawyers and judges must complete a minimum of 15 hours of legal education accredited by the Commission. The minimum number of legal education hours must include a minimum of three hours every two years, of education devoted exclusively to legal ethics. Hours in excess of the minimum requirements may be carried over subject to specific restrictions. Click here for the Court Rules regulating CLE.
Where do I go to submit my
CLE report for the year?
need to go to the Commission on Continuing Legal Education website. Please click here to be taken to their website.
Did the out of state seminar I attended receive Iowa CLE credit?
you have taken a seminar out of state you will want to check the Commission on
Continuing Legal Education website to see if the course has been
approved. Click here
to search their database of approved seminars. If you do not find the
course listed check with the seminar provide or apply for credit on the CLE Commission’s website.
do I locate an activity ID# number for a seminar I attended?
If you are looking for an ISBA sponsored seminar click
you are looking for a non ISBA sponsored seminar click
to be taken to the CLE Commission’s website.
What ISBA seminars are upcoming?
Click here to view upcoming ISBA seminars.
Where do I find CLE outlines from past ISBA seminars?
Click here to find CLE outlines from past ISBA seminars.
As a section or committee chair, how do I plan a seminar?
For information on planning a seminar, please click here.
How many hours of on-demand seminars can I take a year?
to 6 hours of the 15 hours required by rule 41.3(1) each calendar year may be
obtained through completion of computer-based legal education accredited by the
commission. See the Court Rules concerning CLE requirements.
How do I view on-demand seminars?
To view the ISBA's collection of on-demand seminar, please click here.
long do I have to complete the Basic Skills Course?
Lawyers admitted by examination in 2010 and future years
must complete the course within one year of their actual date of
admission. The basic skills course
requirement does not apply to lawyers admitted to practice on motion. On November 24, 2010, the Supreme Court
amended the basic skills course rule to allow new lawyers to complete the basic
skills course during the period between completion of the bar examination and
admission to practice. For
additional information regarding the Basic Skills Course requirement please
What is an ISBA CLE Season Pass?
Receive all of your CLE credits by using The Iowa
State Bar Association’s affordable CLE Season Pass. It’s the one and only pass
that offers hundreds of CLE credits at the best price in town! For only $550,
you can take all the CLE credits you need in a 12 month span. Choose from over
200 hours of live CLEs in addition to the 20 hours of telephone CLEs the ISBA
offers. To learn more about the pass click
If I am inactive and wish to take CLE hours anyway, are there any restrictions?
You can still take CLE hours. If you are a non-ISBA member, you will be charged the non-member price. If you are a retired/inactive members, you can take any course at the member rate
Committees and Sections
What are committees and sections?
Standing committees oversee the work of the Association in such areas of legal technology, member services, judicial evaluations, delivery of legal services and legal education. Currently The Iowa State Bar Association has 35 standing committees with over 250 members participating in their leadership.
Volunteer to serve on an ISBA Committee
The ISBA has 23 sections involving more than 250 participating section council members. A member must be a dues paying member of the specific section of appointment. Any attorney can join a section by paying the required $15 dues for each section. Section appointments are for a single three year term appointed by the President-Elect.
Volunteer to serve on an ISBA Section Council