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Supreme Court wants to know: Should law school graduates from Iowa be allowed to skip bar exam?

Iowa Supreme Court
Iowa Supreme Court

DES MOINES – This week, the Iowa Supreme Court issued an order requesting public comment on The Iowa State Bar Association’s (ISBA) recommendation to allow graduates of Iowa’s two law schools to automatically be licensed to practice law in Iowa without taking the Iowa Bar Examination. Under the recommendation, graduates of Drake University Law School and the University of Iowa College of Law would still be required to pass the character and fitness requirement.

The recommendation, called the “diploma privilege,” would require amending Chapter 31 (Admission to the Bar) of the Iowa Court Rules. The supreme court believes written comments and testimony at a public hearing will be helpful before considering the ISBA’s recommendations. Wisconsin is the only state currently offering a form of the diploma privilege.

The supreme court order also requests public comment on the ISBA recommendation to adopt the Uniform Bar Examination for applicants who would not qualify for the automatic licensing, such as the graduate of a law school outside of Iowa.

The Iowa Supreme Court has exclusive authority over the admission and practice of attorneys in the State of Iowa. Currently, attorneys in Iowa must have a juris doctorate (J.D.) degree from an accredited law school, be of good moral character and fitness, and pass the Iowa Bar Examination. The three-day bar exam consists of the Multistate Performance Test (two hundred multiple choice questions ), the Multistate Essay Exam (six thirty-minute essay questions), the Multistate Bar Exam (two ninety-minute questions), and the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (sixty multiple-choice questions).

Any interested organization, agency, or person may submit comments regarding the ISBA’s recommendations. Comments sent by email must be emailed to, must state “Bar Admission Process” in the subject line of the email, and must be sent as an attachment to the email in Microsoft Word format. Comments also may be delivered in person or mailed to the Clerk of the Supreme Court, Judicial Branch Building, 1111 East Court Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa, 50319. Any comments received may be posted on the Iowa Judicial Branch website. The deadline for submitting comments is 4:30 p.m. on July 14, 2014. The public hearing is scheduled for August 27, 2014, in the Iowa Supreme Court courtroom. The court will determine presenters at a later date.

The following information is posted on the Iowa Judicial Branch website at

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What did our Nation’s Forefather’s want?
The Constitution is no longer taught in the school systems. Graduates from high school very little about the defenses contained within the Constitution. Let’s go back and start teaching Constitutional Law to high school juniors and seniors Give it ten years then remove the bar examination allowing men and women freely to be automatically the knowledge, information and wisdom necessary to be an attorney.
Robert Jacksonville, Florida (Age 65)

They have it flipped around. The bar exam should be required, and the degree requirement skipped. Knowledge is knowledge, no matter where it comes from. Iowa’s little darlings want their purchased education to circumvent their potential ineptitude. After all, professors can be bought, but sitting alone in a room with your brain and a pencil are theoretically incorruptible. This is more of the class division disparity gapping, hell bent on My Fair Lady.

That sounds like a recipe for ineptitude. School AND the bar. No exceptions.

And I’d say as a concession, I’d be willing to waive recent graduates from needing to pass the bar if they’d open up the bar to be taken by non law school graduates. At present, only law school graduates are eligible to sit for the BAR.

Why bother – most of them will become politicans and we can surely trust that group !!!

I think this would set a bad precedent for every type of career that needs an exam and a license to practice. I don’t think I would want a Doctor that had not been tested and licensed, or a nurse, or Chiropractor. Or a Pharmacist dispensing RX’s with no license. If you have a lawyer without a license, if they screwed up-you would have to hire a real lawyer to deal with it. This sounds really crazy. Why not hire Police Officers that had not attended the Academy or Fire with no training…

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