Attorneys in Iowa have a little more than one week to complete their annual MCLE requirement. Attorneys in Iowa must complete 15 IA CLE credit hours by December 31, including three required hours of legal ethics every two years. Iowa attorneys may now take substance abuse courses as part of their legal ethics requirement.
As a preventive measure designed to reduce lawyer discipline matters and harm to clients, the definition of what constitutes legal ethics for purposes of the biennial ethics continuing legal education (CLE) attendance requirement is amended to include instruction specifically designed for lawyers regarding substance abuse and mental health. The biennial ethics attendance requirement is increased from two to three hours.
Iowa attorneys have the option to complete up to 6 credit hours through online IA CLE courses each compliance period. Attorney Credits has recently begun offering CLE in Iowa right in time for the December 31 MCLE deadline, including those hard-to-get substance abuse and legal ethics credit hours.
Commencing July 1, 2002, 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.
Iowa attorneys must self-report completion of individual CLE activities. Each Iowa attorney must make a written report to the Iowa CLE Commission regarding completion of MCLE during the preceding calendar year by March 1. The Iowa CLE Commission prescribes the form of the annual report. Each annual report must provide the commission with satisfactory proof that the Iowa attorney has met the MCLE requirements. Alternatively, Iowa attorneys may also report their CLE credits on the Iowa Judicial Branch’s website by clicking here.
All Iowa attorneys that neglect to file the annual report or pay the required fees by March 1 must pay a penalty.
If Filed: Penalty:
After March 1 but before April 2 $100
After April 1 but before May 2 $150
After May 1 $200
The penalty fees collected will be used to pay the costs of administering the MCLE program, or for such other purposes within the Office of Professional Regulation as the Iowa Supreme Court may direct. The Certificate of Completion issued by Attorney Credits should be maintained to verify attendance.
Attorney Credits provides more information about Iowa IA MCLE:
 Amendments to Division III of the Iowa Court Rules February, 2012 Summary of Amendments
 Chapter 41: Continuing Legal Education for Lawyers
 41.5(1) Attorneys who fail to comply with the provisions of rule 41.4 or who file a report showing on its face that they have failed to complete the required number of hours of continuing legal education may have their right to practice law suspended by the supreme court, provided that at least 15 days prior to such suspension, notice of such delinquency has been served upon them in the manner provided for the service of original notices in Iowa R. Civ. P. 1.305 or has been forwarded to them by restricted certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to them at their last-known address.