Iowa Court Suspends Cedar Rapids Lawyer

Iowa case law summary by Attorney Richard Clem: attorney discipline.

Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Board v. James Stephen Conroy. attorney discipline

The attorney in this attorney discipline case signed up to take on four court-appointed appeals in criminal cases, but failed to pursue them. At the inevitable disciplinary hearing, he asked for leniency. He admitted to the violations, but explained that he was unfamiliar with appellate practice, and simply set the cases aside to concentrate on more familiar work. He said that he didn't realize that appeals were time sensitive. He admitted, however, that he didn't consult the court rules or talk to a more experienced lawyer.

The Court agreed with the Disciplinary Board that a six month suspension was appropriate. It declined, however, to impose their recommendation that the attorney take a "basic skills" course prior to reinstatement. The attorney vowed that he would never take another appeal, and the Court saw no need for a basic skills course.

(Editor's note: Attorneys wishing to get up to speed about appellate practice can download my free program, Nuts and Bolts of Minnesota Appellate Practice. Even though this program is somewhat out of date, is no longer offered for credit, and is specific to Minnesota, it does give a good overview of the appellate process, and will alert you that appeals are, indeed, time sensitive.)

No. 13-1871 (Iowa April 4, 2014).

Please see the original opinion for the court's exact language.


Richard P. Clem is an attorney and continuing legal education (CLE) provider in Minnesota. He has been in private practice in the Twin Cities for 25 years. He has a J.D., cum laude, from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul and a B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota. His reported cases include: Asociacion Nacional de Pescadores a Pequena Escala o Artesanales de Colombia v. Dow Quimica de Colombia, 988 F.2d 559, rehearing denied, 5 F.3d 530 (5th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1041 (1994); LaMott v. Apple Valley Health Care Center, 465 N.W.2d 585 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991); Abo el Ela v. State, 468 N.W.2d 580 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991).

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