The Iowa Supreme Court is taking public comments on a proposal from the Iowa State Bar Association that would allow graduates of Drake University School of Law and the University of Iowa College of Law to skip a current requirement to pass a bar examination before practicing law in the state.


The bar association said about 1 percent of the graduates of the state's two law schools fail to pass the examination, indicating that the great majority are graduating with a firm knowledge of law. In addition, the bar examination does not test on Iowa law, but is a multistate exam.


Wisconsin is the only state that does not require its in-state law school graduates to take a bar examination. The practice is called "diploma privilege."


The Iowa State Bar Association said in recommending the change that a lapse of time between graduation and being admitted to bar after taking the examination can add significantly to student debt, with those costs accounting for up to 30 percent of student loans, according to the bar association.


In its recommendation, the bar association said the by reducing debt, more lawyers would be encouraged to practice in rural areas of the state.

Based on salary assumptions, first-year lawyers can stand to lose more than $27,000 in income and incur an additional $2,000 in costs associated with taking the bar examination, according to the report. The average debt load is $106,368 for Drake law students and $95,574 for University of Iowa law students, according to the report.


Comments will be accepted through July 14. A public hearing is scheduled for Aug. 27. Click here for information on submitting comments as well access to the bar association report.


Should the Iowa Supreme Court drop the bar?

Here's your chance to provide public comment. We want to know if you think it is a good idea for the Iowa Supreme Court to allow graduates of the Drake University and University of Iowa law schools to skip the current requirement to pass a bar examination before practicing law in the state. 

Answer the question and provide a response to the below question, and your response could be featured in a future Business Record article.

TRUE or FALSE: The Iowa Supreme Court should drop the requirement to pass the bar examination for Drake University and University of Iowa law school graduates. VOTE NOW >>>