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Frequently Asked Questions by Legal Professionals
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Membership

• What is The Iowa State Bar Association?
• As a licensed attorney, do I have to join the ISBA?
• How do I join the ISBA?
• Who can join?
• Why should I join the ISBA?

• How much does it cost to join?
• Are there any free or discounted memberships available?
• How do I renew my membership with the bar?
• Where do I update my records?
• If I have decided I do not want to keep my membership, how do I resign?
• If I decide to reinstate after I have resigned, can I do that?
• If I have not practiced in Iowa for a long period of time and have not changed my status to inactive, can I make my status inactive retro active back in time?
• If I live out of state and do not practice in Iowa, am I required to go inactive?
• I am a member of the ISBA and my information in the online directory is incorrect. Who must I contact to fix it?
• I have just been notified that I passed the Bar Exam. What do I do now in order to practice?

Benefits

• What member benefits does the bar offer?
• How can the ISBA save me money?
• Does the ISBA offer any insurance plans for its members?
• When would I begin to receive my benefits?

Payment

• How do I pay my dues?
• When are my dues collected?
• Are there payment plans available?
• Are my dues tax deductible?
• How can I obtain a receipt for the payment of my dues?
• Are there penalties for a late payment?
• Once I am a member, when will I receive a renewal notice?
• If I decide to not renew, can I rejoin at another time?
• I have a hardship right now and cannot pay my dues. Is there a hardship exemption I can apply for or can I make payments?

Continuing Legal Education

• How many hours of CLE do I need a year?
• How do I submit my CLE report for the year?
• Did the out of state seminar I attended receive Iowa CLE credit?
• How do I locate an activity ID# for a seminar I attended?
• What ISBA seminars are upcoming?
• Where do I find CLE outlines from past ISBA seminars?
• As a section or committee chair, how do I plan a seminar?
• How many hours of on-demand seminars can I take a year?
• How do I view on-demand seminars?
• How long do I have to complete the Basic Skills Course?
• What is an ISBA CLE Season Pass?
• If I am inactive and wish to take CLE hours anyway, are there any restrictions?

Committees and Sections

• What are committees and sections?
• Does it cost extra to join one?
• Who can join one?
• Why should I take part in a committee or section?

Law Students

• What does the ISBA do for law students?
• Can I become a part of the ISBA as a law student?
• How much does it cost?
• How can I find out about internships through the ISBA?




 

Membership

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 lawyers.

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) Cost
Admitted to practice after 5/1/2013 (YLD Year 1) Free
Admitted to practice between 7/1/2011 - 4/30/2013 (YLD Years 2 - 3) $60
Admitted to practice between 7/1/2009 - 6/30/2011 (YLD Years 4 - 5) $125
Admitted to practice between 7/1/2005 - 6/30/2009 (YLD Years 6 - 10) $260
Admitted to practice prior to 7/1/2005 (Standard) $260


Are there any free or discounted memberships available?
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.
 
Retired Members
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.

Military Members
Dues-paying members of ISBA who are actively serving in the armed forces. Please contact the Bar office at 515-697-7870.

Student Members
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?
You 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?

If 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.


How do I locate an activity ID# number for a seminar I attended?
If you are looking for an ISBA sponsored seminar click here. If you are looking for a non ISBA sponsored seminar click here 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?
Up 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.


How 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 click here.


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 here.


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


The Iowa State Bar Association • 625 East Court Avenue • Des Moines, IA 50309
Ph. (515) 243-3179 • Fax (515) 243-2511
Email: isba@iowabar.org