The president of the Iowa State Bar Association says they group will continue working with the Iowa Supreme Court to improve the legal system after the court announced it will not change the rules to allow newly graduated students from Iowa law schools to practice without taking the bar exam.
ISBA president, Joe Feller of Sibley, says they are disappointed their recommendation to adopt what’s called the “diploma privilege” will not move forward. “I think, and our committee thought that that was a good proposal,” Feller says. The Supreme Court order says they will continue working to improve the system.
The court has asked the Iowa Board of Law Examiners to look at whether the state should adopt a uniform bar examination, whether law students should be allowed to take the bar in February of their third year in law school, and whether adjustments to the bar admission process should be considered
“We look forward to working with the court, they’re going to continue their investigation on two of the four points that we made,” Feller says. “So, we are not going to drop the project altogether. We look forward to working with the court and the laws schools to improve legal education and licensure here in Iowa.”
There were more than 150 written comments and the Supreme Court held a day-long hearing on the issue where people spoke passionatly about both sides. “I feel proud of our members and the court for everyone contributing at the public hearing, where all sides were represented and all views were communicated. I knew this was going to be a difficult decision for the court.”
Feller says the continued discussion of using a uniform bar exam to replace the current exam is a good thing. “The results from that exam are more portable. And I think there 13 or 14 states that will accept your score,” Feller says.
The High Court asked for a report on the three issues it identified for Iowa Board of Law Examiners by March 31st.