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Iowa courts consist of the Supreme Court, Appellate Courts, and District Courts. Approximately 7,000 Iowa lawyers are licensed to practice within the state, with the vast majority of Iowa attorneys practicing in civil law such as contracts, personal injury, business law, and real estate.
Lawyers in Iowa are among the only attorneys in the country with the pressure to pass their bar exam in only 2 tries. Although the majority of attorney applicants pass on their first try, special permission is required—and rarely granted—for applicants to take the bar more than twice. Most other states allow applicants to retake the exam an unlimited number of times.
Like many states, Iowa outlaws same sex marriage. This law was challenged as unconstitutional in the case of Varnum v. Brien and is currently undergoing review in the Iowa Supreme Court. Iowa is also home to less controversial marriage laws: the state is not a community property state, and Iowa allows couples to utilize no fault divorce proceedings. No fault divorce allows spouses to obtain a divorce without having to show fault on the part of either spouse for actions such as adultery.
Iowa has also been in the national judicial spotlight. In 1998 the Supreme Court issued a ruling in Knowles v. Iowa. The ruling was significant for criminal attorneys throughout the country. An Iowa state law allowing full blown searches of automobiles if the driver was issued a moving violation was found unconstitutional under the 4th amendment. The traditional rule that officers can search your passenger compartment if you are arrested therefore does not extend to mere citations, as different safety precautions are evident in either scenario.
If you need an attorney in Iowa, consider visiting LegalMatch.com. Our website can assist you in finding an attorney in your area and offer you helpful legal tidbits. Alternatively, learn more about the Iowa judiciary and state bar by visiting the following websites:
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Last Modified: 01-04-2010 01:48 PM PST