Guidelines to Success
BOG Guidelines to Success

Dear Prospective Governor -

Whether you have decided to run for a position on the board, or you have been elected but have not yet begun your term of service, you will find service on The Iowa State Bar Association Board of Governors (BOG) to be one of the more rewarding and inspiring experiences of the practice of law in Iowa.

Iowa has the oldest and one of the more successful voluntary bar associations in the country. We enjoy a membership of more than 7,800 members worldwide with a participation rate of 85% of all lawyers licensed in the state. When you consider we have only 7,000 lawyers actively practicing in Iowa and the remainder of our membership is comprised of out-of-state members, this is truly impressive.

You may be familiar with the myriad of services The Iowa State Bar Association provides, such as IowaDocs; free legal research through Fastcase, our on-line legal research service; Iowa Caselaw; Ethics Opinions; Civil and Criminal Jury Instructions; Title Standards; Iowa Lawyer magazine; countless CLE opportunities and numerous other benefits. However, you may not be familiar with the responsibilities and opportunities that lie ahead as a member of the Board of Governors. (BOG).

The board currently is made up of 40 governors representing Iowa’s 14 judicial election districts and all practice areas of the law. In addition, the three ISBA officers, three YLD officers and the immediate past president of the Iowa Judges Association serve on the board. Governors serve for a maximum of six years and are elected by the lawyer and judge members of the ISBA in the judicial district where they live and practice. Each judicial district receives one governor for its first 150 members and another governor for every 200 additional members. This process is designed to ensure we maintain a balance of representation geographically, from various practice areas, and by gender.

A lawyer serving on the board has the opportunity to represent more than 200 practicing lawyers from his or her district as well as more than 7,800 lawyer members of the association in Iowa and around the country. Thus it is essential that a governor understand the obligations of the office in preparation to for fulfilling those duties on the board.

You are the face of The Iowa State Bar Association. Our organization needs you and appreciates the commitment you are making to the betterment of the practice and the improvement of the image of lawyers around the state and the Midwest.

You have decided to become a permanent fixture of the history of this time-honored profession in Iowa. We remind you not only of your importance, but of the importance of the work you are undertaking as it impacts every citizen of our great state.

Please read carefully the following information about the responsibilities and obligations of a governor. It is meant to assist you in not only being an effective leader from your district and within The Iowa State Bar Association, but more importantly to insure that your years on the BOG are satisfying, rewarding and enjoyable. We want them to be the best years of your life.

Congratulations and thanks for taking the time to serve your profession and Iowa.

As a member of the Board of Governors of The Iowa State Bar Association, you will be expected to be prepared for each of the quarterly meetings of the board. The board meets in the months of September, December, March and, of course, June during the Annual Meeting. You will be supplied with reports from some of the 224 sections and 26 committees prior to the meeting. You should review those reports and be prepared to discuss any matters which have been referred to the board for discussion or approval.

As a BOG member, you will be expected to attend as many board meetings as possible. According to the bylaws, the Board of Governors may remove a governor for failure to attend at least three regular board meetings in one fiscal year by a vote of the majority of the governors then in office. Any such vote will be preceded by seven days written notice and an opportunity to be heard. To be counted present, a governor must be present for at least two-thirds of the meeting. The secretary shall make this determination, and attendance or absence shall be noted in the minutes of each board meeting.

You will be assigned the responsibility of keeping your constituents apprised of the activities of the ISBA, and announcements and pending matters being considered by the Supreme Court which will impact the practice of law.

You will be a representative of the ISBA and an ambassador for the association at the CLE events held in your district from time to time. You will have the responsibility of contacting the county bar presidents in your judicial district concerning matters requiring broad participation from our membership from time to time in order to solicit the support or input from the county bar membership on a particularly important issue, such as new rule changes, or issues such as reorganization of the courts.

As part of the bar leadership team, you will be asked to contribute annually to LawPAC and the Iowa State Bar Foundation.

Important Contact Information
BOG webpage
BOG Listserv

ISBA General Number

515-243-3179 or 800-457-3729

ISBA Executive Director
Dwight Dinkla