Legal Resources for Iowans

Navigating the legal system can be complex and intimidating. The State Library provides a list of resources to assist Iowans in finding attorneys to help with their cases and find ways to solve disputes without going to court.

The State Library's Law Librarian can also answer questions about Iowa law and help with legal research, but will not provide legal advice. 

Contact the Law Librarian 

Finding an Attorney

Below is a list of resources to help locate an attorney in Iowa. You can also ask friends, family and trusted professionals for referrals.

Iowa Legal Aid
Central Iowa Regional Office
1111 9th St., Suite 230 Des Moines, IA 50314-2527
515-243-1193, 1-800-532-1275 or 1-800-272-0008 (Spanish)
- Outside central Iowa, call to see which office serves you.

Drake University Law School Legal Clinic
2400 University Ave. Des Moines, IA 50311
- “Neal and Bea Smith Legal Clinic” under “Clinics and Centers.”

Middleton Center for Children’s Rights
2400 University Ave. Des Moines, IA 50311

Disability Rights IOWA
400 E. Court Ave. Suite 300, Des Moines, IA 50309
515-278-2502 or 1-800-779-2502
TTY: 515-278-0571 or 1-866-483-3342

Legal Hotline for Older Iowans: Iowa Legal Aid
1111 9th St., Suite 230 Des Moines, IA 50314-2527
515-282-8161 or 1-800-992-8161

Youth Law Center
218 Sixth St, suite 300, Des Moines, IA 50309
515-244-1172 or 1-800-728-1172

Iowa Concern Hotline: Iowa State University

HOLA Program
3850 Merle Hay Road, Suite 100 & 500, Des Moines, IA, 50311

Persons Using English as a Second Language/
Se Habla Español
430 Iowa Ave. Iowa City, IA 52240
1-800-272-0008 or 1-319-351-6570

Volunteer Lawyers Project
625 E. Court, Suite 100, Des Moines, IA 50309

Iowa State Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service
515-280-7429 or 1-800-532-1108 (in-Iowa only)
- Free referrals to private attorneys only.

Find Legal Help from the American Bar Association
website from Martindale-Hubbell

Findlaw for the Public

Avvo - Find a Lawyer

Resolving Disputes Without Going to Court

Many disputes can be solved without involving the courts; contact the organizations below to discuss your specific situation. Attorneys may also be able to provide additional options for resolving disputes without going to court.

Iowa Mediation Services
Central Iowa (515) 331-8081
SE Iowa (319) 398-4042
NE Iowa (641) 423-4322
SW Iowa (641) 782-7329
NW Iowa (712) 262-7007

Consumer Protection Division:
Iowa Attorney General’s Office
- for issues involving consumer fraud, sales practices and advertisements.

Consumer Affairs:
Iowa Division of Insurance
- for issues involving health, life
or auto insurance companies or policies
515-281-5705 or 1-877-955-1212

Iowa Civil Rights Commission
- for issues involving civil rights.
515-281-4121 or 1-800-457-4416

Iowa Department of Human ServicesChild Support Customer Services Unit
- for issues involving the collection
of child support payments.

515-242-5530 or 1-888-229-9223

Iowa Utilities Board
Customer Service Section
- for complaints about public utility service.
515-281-3839 or 1-877-565-4450

Iowa Department of Workforce Development
- for issues involving wage payment,
unemployment claims and workers’ compensation.
Wages: 515-725-5619, unemployment: 1-888-848-7442,
and workers' compensation: 1-800-645-4583.

Long Term Care Ombudsman
- for issues related to long-term care, including nursing
facilities, assisted living programs, and elder group homes

Citizens’ Aide/Ombudsman
- for issues involving state or local government.
515-281-3592 or 1-888-426-6283

The Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directory
- Dispute Resolution directory.

Iowa Association for Mediators
- for mediator assisted resolutions.

Paying for an Attorney

Retaining an attorney can be expensive and like any other unplanned financial outlay, you may have to get creative. Some people borrow money from family, friends, employers, banks or credit unions to fund their lawsuits. Others sell a valuable asset or take a second (or third) job to pay their legal fees. If you can take out a zero-interest credit card, your case-related expenses can be charged. Attorneys who represent clients suing for monetary damages will usually take a percentage of winning awards or settlements rather than charging up-front retainers and hourly rates--if you lose this type of case, you owe only overhead costs. Many attorneys are willing to work with clients to set up payment plans. Always ask your attorney if you can petition the judge to assign attorney fees and court costs to the opposing party. 

The vast majority of lawsuits--upwards of 95% by most estimates--are settled out of court rather than by trial, so bringing a suit may actually end up costing much less than you anticipated, especially if your attorney can settle it without stepping foot into a courtroom. Sometimes a strongly-worded letter on law firm letterhead gets the job done. It's always a good idea to consult with an attorney, however briefly, before attempting to find your way in the maze that is our judicial system.