women meeting

Activities of I.O.W.A.

I.O.W.A. Meetings | Bar Associations | Judicial Process | Community Projects | Awards

I.O.W.A. Meetings

I.O.W.A. typically holds its annual meeting in June. I.O.W.A. members elect officers and hear speakers address topics of interest to its members. I.O.W.A. also sponsors annually a continuing legal education program covering a variety of law-related topics. The Arabella Mansfield Award and the Gertrude Rush Award are presented at the I.O.W.A. annual meeting banquet.

2019 Annual Meeting

This year's I.O.W.A annual meeting and awards banquet will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Arabella Babb Mansfield’s historic admission to the Iowa bar on June 15, 1869. Arabella Mansfield was the first woman formally admitted to practice law in the United States.

In honor of this anniversary, the Iowa Organization of Women Attorneys will hold its annual meeting and awards banquet on June 15, 2019, in the Union Block Banquet Hall in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. We've planned a full day of programming to commemorate Arabella Mansfield’s legacy of promoting and nurturing women in the legal profession.

Please join us for all or part of the day's programs and celebrations. Judicial boot camp will take place in the morning followed by lunch and CLE. The schedule of events and reservation form is below. Lunch and the afternoon CLE events are free to dues-paying I.O.W.A. members. The I.O.W.A. membership form is also found below to make it easy to pay your dues for the coming year and to reserve your place for the June 15th events. You can send both forms in the same envelope.

Also plan to attend the awards banquet to honor the recipient of the 2019 I.O.W.A. Arabella Mansfield Award, Iowa Court of Appeals Judge Anuradha Vaitheswaran, and recipient of the 2019 I.O.W.A./INBA Gertrude Rush Award, Vicky Long Hill.

Annual Meeting Reservation Form (PDF)

2019-2020 I.O.W.A. Membership Form (PDF)

Bar Associations

I.O.W.A. occasionally sends representatives to the American Bar Association Annual Meeting and the National Conference of Women's Bar Associations (NCWBA). I.O.W.A. is a member of NCWBA; details are available on their website www.ncwba.org. Participation in these events has helped I.O.W.A. benefit from the experiences of other women's bar associations and, specifically, to learn successful strategies they have used to further their goals. I.O.W.A. often partners with other bar associations to co-sponsor events of interest to its members.


Judicial Process

I.O.W.A. advocates for more women on the bench and in leadership positions in other bar associations. The group monitors vacancies in those positions and encourages its members to apply for judicial positions and to support qualified women candidates. The I.O.W.A. Professional Action Committee developed this Proposed Judicial Nomination Process (PDF, 52KB). I.O.W.A. is an active participant in the Infinity Project, working toward increasing the number of women on the federal and state benches throughout the Eighth Circuit.


Community Projects

I.O.W.A. members actively participate in community affairs. Currently, I.O.W.A. sponsors a Visiting Mom Project at Mitchellville, and a Book Club at Mitchellville as well. For more information on these programs and past community projects, go to the Community page.


Each year, I.O.W.A. gives two awards, the Arabella Mansfield Award and the Gertrude Rush Award. The awards are presented at the I.O.W.A. annual meeting. For more information on these awards and how to submit a nomination, go to the Awards page.


Visiting Mom Project

See the Community page for more information about this important project!

The Union Block
Mount Pleasant

The Union Block, one of Mount Pleasant's historic buildings, is in jeopardy. Local leaders have come together to preserve and renew this historic, structurally sound building with a restoration plan. I.O.W.A. members can help! Read this informational document (PDF, 11.87MB), and consider making a donation to this worthy cause.

Arabella (Belle) Babb MansfieldOf special significance to I.O.W.A., during the 1860s the third floor served as a temporary court of law. In 1869, Arabella (Belle) Babb Mansfield took the bar exam there to become the United States' first certified female attorney. Also, during the 1870s and 1880s, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Henry Clay Dean, Bronson Alcott, P.T. Barnum, and Anna Dickinson spoke there.