The Iowa Association for Justice (IAJ) educates and empowers attorneys who fight for justice in our courthouses and communities, and defends the legal rights of Iowans who seek justice in our courts. IAJ serves the legal profession and the public through its efforts to preserve and strengthen our justice systems, to promote injury prevention, and to foster the disclosure of information critical to the health, safety and financial well being of all Iowa families.
The Association was established in 1973, in pursuit of the following objectives…
- To uphold and defend the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Iowa;
- To advance the science of jurisprudence;
- To train attorneys in all fields and phases of trial advocacy;
- To promote the administration of justice for the public good;
- To uphold the honor and dignity of the profession of law;
- To advance the cause of those who are damaged in person or property and who must seek redress therefore;
- To encourage friendship among members of the bar; and
- To uphold and improve the adversary system and the right of trial by jury.
During each session of the Iowa General Assembly, IAJ works to defend our justice systems and to extend the reach of justice in Iowa, as follows…
- IAJ vigorously opposes legislation that would immunize wrongdoers or limit their liability.
- IAJ works aggressively to extend rights to Iowans who are denied appropriate access to our justice systems.
- IAJ also works to remove litigation barriers and obstacles that unduly burden Iowans who are pursuing justice in our courts.
Throughout the year, IAJ provides top-flight continuing legal education programs for Iowa attorneys. The Association’s annual seminars on automobile collisions, criminal law, family law, personal injuries, professional responsibility and workers’ compensation attract hundreds of attorneys each year. In November, hundreds more attend the IAJ Annual Convention, which is solidly established as the premier trial practice seminar for Iowa trial lawyers.
IAJ also networks Iowa trial lawyers and helps them deepen relations with their peers, while learning from one another. Hundreds of members interact on-line via the Association’s electronic exchanges, where/whence they share information, impart expertise and swap practice pointers. IAJ members also bond together and mentor one another during myriad association events over the course of each year.
IAJ serves as a springboard for professional development and career advancement, so that aspiring members are able to reach the pinnacles of the legal profession. IAJ members are also leaders in their communities and surpassing numbers of them are/have been heavily involved in public service at every level. They serve on numerous boards and commissions and many of them hold elected and appointed positions at all levels of government, from school board to city council, from the statehouse to Congress –– and the Cabinet too –– and throughout our judiciary as well. Below are just a few examples of IAJ alumni (past presidents one and all) who have been called to public service one way or another.
Tom Vilsack, Past President (1986-87)
Former Iowa Governor, 1999-2007
Current U. S. Secretary of Agriculture, 2009-present
Bruce Braley, Past President (2002-03)
Current U. S. Representative, 2007-2015
David Wiggins, Past President (1985-86)
Current Iowa Supreme Court Justice, 2005-present
Daryl Hecht, Past President (1993-94)
Current Iowa Supreme Court Justice, 2006-present
Started in 2008, IAJ’s Justice In Deed initiative mobilizes Iowa attorneys to help meet critical needs in communities across Iowa. This project partners with community service organizations to help meet the needs of local families who’ve been met with hardships.
A few of IAJ’s recent projects include:
- Feb 2015 - Trial attorneys who attended IAJ's workers' compensation seminar in Des Moines donated journals and supplies for the school's summer literacy program, and raised enough to purchase new writing journals for every student in the school for the next two years.
- Nov 2014 - Trial attorneys from across the state donated a total of $11,660 to support On With Life and the Puppy Jake Foundation. The majority of this donation ($10,000) was used to purchase and train Lolo, a professional therapy dog at On With Life. The balance of funds support the Puppy Jake Foundation, which placed Lolo and is training her.
- Sept 2014 - Trial attorneys who attended IAJ’s workers’ compensation seminar in Waterloo packed over 1,000 bags of food with the Northeast Iowa Food Bank for kids who live with food insecurity.
- Nov 2013 - Trial attorneys who attended IAJ's Annual Convention donated over $5,000 to help support the work of the Puppy Jake Foundation. The Puppy Jake Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping military veterans through the assitance of well-bred and highly trained service dogs.
- Oct 2013 - Trial attorneys gathered at On With Life in Ankeny for a service day to help build a new deck on the campus pond.
- Apr 2013 – Trial attorneys who attended IAJ’s family law seminar donated to support scholarships for children to attend YMCA Camp.
- Nov 2012 – Trial attorneys who attended IAJ’s Annual Convention donated new coats, hats, mittens, snow pants and boots to schoolchildren at Edmunds Elementary in Des Moines.
- Sept 2012 – IAJ’s Tom Staack Memorial Golf Tournament raised more than $13,750 for the Cedar Valley SportsPlex Endowment Fund to provide scholarship to underprivileged children for access to athletics and organized sports in the facility.
- Mar 2012 - Trial attorneys who attended a Workers' Compensation Seminar in Des Moines raised money to assist underserved northwest Iowans, donating over $2,000 to the Siouxland Community Health Center.
- Sep 2011 - Trial attorneys who attended a Workers' Compensation and Criminal Law Seminar in Iowa City donated loads of school supplies for local students. The school supplies, along with a monetary donation to the Lucas school supply fund for teachers, were delivered to children in need at Robert Lucas Elementary School in Iowa City.
- Jun 2011 - Trial attorneys with the Workers' Compensation Section helped install siding and do other finish work on three Des Moines homes with the Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity. The trial attorneys also pitched in to donate over $3,000 to Habitat.
- Apr 2011 – Trial attorneys raised funds to help victims of the tornado in Mapleton. IAJ supplied the Mapleton community center with Shop-Vacs, power drills and safety gear to assist residents in rebuilding their homes. And IAJ members and staff helped crews clear debris from their property.
- Feb 2011 – Trial attorneys who attended IAJ’s Annual Workers’ Compensation seminar re-launched the Byard Braley Scholarship Fund. This fund will grant scholarships to assist injured workers or their family members in the pursuit of further education.
- Nov 2010 – Trial attorneys who attended IAJ’s Annual Convention donated new and gently used coats, mittens and hats to schoolchildren at Martin Luther King, Jr Acadamy in Des Moines.
- Sept 2010 – Trial attorneys donated backpacks and school supplies to Cedar Rapids area students.
IAJ is a full service organization for Iowa’s trial lawyers, with a public interest mission that benefits all Iowans! For more information about association programs and services contact info@IowaJustice.org.