In addition to licensing attorneys and regulating the practice of law, The Idaho State Bar (ISB) promotes professionalism and integrity among practitioners. As an integrated bar association, all attorneys practicing law in Idaho must be licensed by the Idaho State Bar.
The present mandatory bar was founded by the Legislature in 1923. More than 5,000 attorneys classified as active and in good standing are members of Idaho State Bar. As a self-governing state agency of Idaho, the ISB operates under power and authority delegated by the Idaho Supreme Court through its rule-making power and under the statutory authority of the Idaho Legislature.
Along with other fees and streams of revenue, the funding for the ISB comes from license fees paid by each Idaho attorney. The agency is totally self-sufficient and requires no tax dollars.
As explained in the Idaho Bar Commission Rules, the ISB is responsible for administering the following functions:
The ISB holds an annual meeting and manages a lawyer referral service.
Idaho Rules for Professional Conduct - Based largely on the ABA Model Rules, the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct (IRPC) took effect on November 1, 1986, by order of the Supreme Court of Idaho. Effective July 1, 2004, the IRPC was revised and those revisions were adopted. Since then, additional amendments to the IRPC have been created.
To use the roster search feature managed by the licensing department of ISB, type the last name or the beginning of the last name of the attorney. The user can add more letters to narrow the search.
The attorney roster search currently includes more than 5,000 active members, To be an "active member" of the Idaho State Bar, the attorney must be licensed to practice law in Idaho, in full compliance with the Active licensing requirements under IBCR 302, and not be subject to any limitations on their ability to practice law in Idaho under IBCR Section V by order of the Supreme Court.
In addition to active members, other status categories of membership include:
Being classified as "Inactive" means the member is not licensed to practice law in Idaho and has met the Inactive licensing requirements under IBCR 302. Inactive members are not licensed to practice law in Idaho but have met the Inactive licensing requirements under IBCR 302.
Other categories listing on the roster of attorneys in Idaho include:
For any former member, the information listed in the roster is limited to only the name, admission date, and status. The records published online for former members go back to 1994.
When a member of the public believes that an Idaho attorney has violated the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct, that person can file a grievance with the ISB's Office of Bar Counsel located in Boise, ID.
As an integrated or mandatory bar association, all attorneys practicing law in the State of Idaho are governed by the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct. Any violation of the rules of professional conduct is considered to be "attorney misconduct." The most common complaints against attorneys in Idaho for misconduct involve:
The grievance against the attorney should be submitted in writing using the Grievance Form Packet which is available in PDF format. The form requires a written, detailed explanation of the basis of the complaint. The form requests factual information such as the dates, names, phone numbers, and amounts of money involved.
The grievance must be signed by the person making the complaint. Although copies of documents can be attached, original documents should not be included. The complaint remains confidential unless the grievance is serious enough to merit formal charges.
After the grievance is received the Bar Counsel’s Office, the office reviews all grievances to determine if there has been any violation of the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct.
If the investigation establishes that there have been no violations of the Idaho Bar Rules or if there is insufficient evidence to prove that a violation has occurred, the grievance will be dismissed. If it is determined that a violation has occurred, the attorney may receive private discipline or, in some cases, formal charges may be filed.
The ISB has created a "Client Assistance Fund" to compensate clients for all or part of any losses caused by the "dishonest conduct" of a lawyer admitted to practice law in Idaho. Not all instances of legal malpractice and violations of the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct qualify as "dishonest conduct" for purposes of the Client Assistance Fund.
If the grievance against the attorney involves misappropriation of funds, the Client Assistance Fund Claim form should also be submitted with the complaint alleging misconduct.
The 2020 Idaho State Bar Annual Meeting is scheduled for July 22-24, 2020, at Fort Hall, Idaho. Attendees will be given the opportunity to earn CLE Credits (including Ethics credits). Programs are offered through legal organizations in Idaho including the Law Foundation Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Committee, Idaho State Bar Practice Sections, and local law schools.
In addition to CLEs, the annual meeting lets attorneys honor their colleagues, reconnect with friends, and network at social events including the Bar Presidents' Reception, the Distinguished Lawyer & Jurist Awards Dinner, the Service Awards Luncheon, and the Admission Class Reunion BBQ.
The 2019 Idaho State Bar Annual Meeting was held in Boise, Idaho, at the Boise Centre on July 24-26, 2019.
Section X of the Idaho Bar Commission Rules apply to specialization after admission to practice and membership in the Idaho State Bar. The Section X Rules are promulgated by the Board of Commissioners of the Idaho State Bar and adopted by Order of the Supreme Court of the State of Idaho.
Before an attorney in Idaho can advertise that he or she is a "certified specialist" in any area of the law, the attorney must first earn certification as a specialist under Section X of the Idaho Bar Commission Rules.
The ISB does not certify attorneys as a specialist in Idaho. Instead, it approves other organizations to certify attorneys as a specialist in specific areas of the law. Those organizations that certify specialists include the ITLA Certification Specialization Program offered by the Idaho Trial Lawyers Association.
Organizations that want to become approved for specialty certification must file an Application for Accreditation with the Idaho State Bar. The organization must also pay a $200 application fee for each specialty area. To date, seven organizations have been approved by the Idaho State Bar to certify specialists.
The stringent requirements of specialty certification programs are recognized as the most highly regarded credentials in the legal profession.
The Idaho State Bar operates a Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) in Idaho. To participate in the service, attorneys must be in good standing with the Idaho State Bar, not have any pending public disciplinary complaints, and carry professional liability insurance. Not all Idaho State Bar attorneys are members of the LRS service.
The services require a $35 fee for the referral and attorneys agree to provide a 30-minute consultation at no fee. The $35 referral fee is waived for personal injury, medical malpractice or workers’ compensation which receive a free referral.
During the initial consultation, the attorney and client can discuss what additional fees might be needed to continue the representation.