Indigent Defense Casework Contract

Any attorney authorized to practice law in Iowa may request a contract with the State Public Defender to represent indigents. If your contract is approved your name will be placed on a list of attorneys eligible to accept appointments in a particular county. The list indicates whether the attorney will take adult, juvenile or appellate cases. The list is sent to the clerks of court in each county on or about the first Friday of each month.

One of the benefits of entering into a contract with the State Public Defender is the contract attorney receives priority over non-contract attorneys in court appointments. Under Iowa Code section 815.10 the court first appoints the local public defender to a case. If the local public defender has a conflict of interest or if the local public defender is unable to handle a case because of a temporary overload of cases, the local public defender returns the case to the court. The court must first appoint a contract attorney. Appointments by the court should be on a rotational or equalization basis considering the experience of the attorney and the difficulty of the case. If no contract attorney is able or available to take the case, the court may appoint a private non-contract attorney who has agreed to take the case. Each month the state public defender's office sends an updated list of contract attorneys to each county by e-mail.

Electronic Funds Transfer

If you would like to have payment of your claim automatically deposited into your bank account please complete the Electronic Funds Transfer Authorization Form and submit to the address listed on the form. Do not send this form to the State Public Defender.


The State Public Defender automatically sends out a renewal contract at least 30 days before your contract expires. The renewal is for three years.

Request to Amend Contract

If you would like to change any information on your contract, such as types of cases or counties, you can make your changes at

Change of Information

If you change your federal identification number, firm name or address you must complete a new Substitute W-9/Vendor Update Form and send to the State Public Defender either by e-mail


You may cancel your contract with the State Public Defender here: