Iowa House Counsel

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Iowa House Counsel are governed by Iowa  Supreme Court Rule 31.6. This rule enables attorneys who are not licensed in the state of Iowa to practice in Iowa as house counsel. There are certain requirements to be eligible under this rule. To be eligible as a Iowa house counsel an out of state attorney have to:

  • Possess a juris doctorate degree from a law school approved by the ABA
  • Be members in good standing of any bar where they are considered a member
  • All CLE requirements must be met in the bars where the attorney is currently a member
  • Certify they have read the Iowa Code of Professional Conduct
  • Pay the application fee as well as any dues that are paid by the active members of the Iowa

House Counsel Practice

To satisfy the above rule attorneys must be employed as an in house counsel for  an association/company, whether that is for profit or non-profit organization is immaterial as long as the actual practice of the company is not itself for legal services. All attorneys attempting to be a in house counsel that are barred out of state must apply for a registration certificate within 90 days of beginning their employment, and must only give advice to the organization where that they are registered to, failure to do so makes them ineligible for the necessary Iowa  Pro Hac Vice Admission. This could make them ineligible to practice.

As an in house counsel, the attorneys who are admitted under the aforementioned rule, receive all the benefits of actual members of the Iowa  bar. This also includes being responsible for any disciplinary issues as well.  They do not have the ability to be involved in any activities that require Iowa  Pro Hac Vice Admission, unless the state of Iowa approves it or it is for pro bono services.

Reporting to the Iowa  Bar

House counsel's are required to report to the Iowa  Bar any changes in their bar membership status or employment. They must also report any sanctions that are being brought against them. This is all required to be submitted to the bar within 30 days. If an attorney is disbarred in any jurisdiction where they are a member their ability to practice as an in house counsel is also revoked in Iowa.

Certificate Renewal

In house counsel must renew their registration certificate as well as pay all dues and renewal fees by February 1 of each year. If in house counsel obtains employment at another organization they also must amend their registration certificate.


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