Written succession plans for solo practitioners no longer required by rule
On Nov. 18, the Iowa Supreme Court adopted amendments to Iowa Court Rule 39.18 as presented by the Iowa State Bar Association’s Rule 39.18 Study Committee eliminating the requirement that solo practitioners be required to have a written succession plan designating an assisting attorney and an alternate to handle the work of a disabled or deceased attorney.
Instead, beginning Jan. 1, 2018, the new amended rule would require all attorneys in private practice to answer a few more questions each year on their annual license renewal questionnaire, designating an attorney or firm to handle their affairs and identifying those persons in custody of the attorney’s current client list and the location of other key information.
In his order adopting the amendments, Chief Justice Mark Cady found that the proposed amendments to rule 39.18 are helpful both to the members of the bar and to the court’s administration of the practice of law.
“This is a great resolution that will make compliance easier for our solo practitioners. We still need to promote written succession plans as the best practice, but a written plan will not be a condition of licensing”, stated Joe Feller, past ISBA president and chair of the study committee. Feller also added that bar leadership will continue to work with the Iowa Academy of Trust and Estate Counsel to provide updated law practice succession planning documents to ISBA members.
GSA announces congressional authorization of federal courthouse in Des Moines
The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) received authorization from Congress for $136.6 million for the site acquisition, design and construction of a new 230,000-square-foot federal courthouse in Des Moines. The proposed facility will provide nine courtrooms and 13 chambers to replace the aging courthouse in downtown Des Moines and a leased courthouse annex.
GSA will strategically use this opportunity to balance the needs of the courts with the potential for economic development. Similar projects have contributed to reducing the government’s environmental footprint, creating valuable savings, and serving neighborhoods in a positive way.
Site selection is ongoing and responses to the advertised Request for Expressions of Interest are being reviewed. GSA continues its due diligence in anticipation of identifying a site by next spring and acquiring the site by fall of 2017. The design is expected to start this spring with construction slated to begin in 2019. The project is expected to be completed in 2022.
Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects from Atlanta, in a joint venture with Neumann Monson Architects of Des Moines, has been selected as the design team for the project. More details are available in this Des Moines Register article.
Regis Middle School wins 2016 ISBA Mock Trial Championship
A team of students from Regis Middle School in Cedar Rapids beat out Harlan Middle School to win the championship round of the 2016 ISBA Middle School Mock Trial State Tournament.
During the final round of the competition, held on Nov. 16 at the Drake Legal Clinic in Des Moines, the teams argued whether or not an extreme obstacle course company was negligent in the death of a race participant. The Regis team argued on behalf of the plaintiff and was unanimously selected by the scoring judges as the victor. This is that school’s 17th championship in the 33 years of the Middle School Mock Trial tournament.
The Regis Middle School state championship team is coached by Jim Efting, Tim Semelroth, Andi Reem and Justin Reem. Efting has coached all 17 championship teams at Regis and was named this year to the Iowa Mock Trial Educator's Hall of Fame.
To view photos from the championship round, please visit the ISBA Facebook page.
For a complete list of other qualifiers and awards, please visit: iowabar.org/MSMockTrial.
Nominations sought for state judicial nominating commission; deadline is Jan. 1
Iowa Congressional Districts 1, 2 and 4 are seeking candidates for the state judicial nominating commission. Members of the Iowa Bar in each congressional district will elect one candidate next January. The elected representatives will serve from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2023.
According to Iowa Code 46.2, the persons to be elected in Districts 1 and 4 shall be males. The person to be elected in District 2 shall be a female. The successful candidates will replace the following individuals, whose terms expire June 30, 2017: Henry Bevel, Waterloo (District 1); Dorothy O'Brien, Davenport, (District 2); and John Gray, Sioux City (District 4).
Under the provisions of Iowa Code §46.10 (2015), an eligible elector must have a nominating petition signed by at least 50 resident members of the bar of the congressional district in order to have a name printed on the ballot. The nominating petition must be filed in the state court administrator’s office on or before Jan. 1, 2017. Blank nominating petitions are available by request from: David K. Boyd, State Court Administrator, 1111 East Court Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50319; Phone: 515-281-5241.
Tax school only one week away
The 2016 Bloethe Tax School begins next Wednesday at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown hotel. While walk-ins are welcome, the reduced cost for pre-registering will expire Dec. 6 and there are a limited number of manuals available in time for the conference.
Among the topics covered at the annual school are “Healthcare Reform Implications for Small Businesses,” “Succession Planning Ethics,” “New Audit Rules for Partnerships Post Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act” and the perennially popular review of the tax manual containing the changes to the tax code for the 2016 tax year.
Alumni of both Drake University and the University of Iowa are also encouraged to RSVP if interested in their respective receptions to be held Thursday night, Dec. 8. A complete list of the topics to be covered, along with registration information can be found at the event page.
Registration includes a copy of the materials in an electronic format only. If wanting to purchase a hard copy version of the materials, select the optional ticket when registering.
ISBA tech support to end for Windows XP
Technical support for the ISBA programs currently running on computers using Windows XP will end Jan. 1, 2017.
The decision to end support was made because several software companies who provide software used internally to help support ISBA members with many different bar services have dropped their support of the programs. Software programs that are no longer supported by the manufacturers run the increased risk of allowing malware attacks on computers running unsupported operating systems. This makes the content on the owners’ computers more vulnerable to hacking by outside groups
Microsoft ended support for Windows XP on April 4, 2014. For more information about Microsoft’s dropping of support for Windows XP, visit the company's support page.
|SUPREME COURT OPINIONS
STATE OF IOWA vs. PATRICK DANIEL WHITE
The defendant seeks further review of a court of appeals decision affirming the denial of a motion to suppress evidence.
DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS VACATED; DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT REVERSED AND CASE REMANDED.
AUTO-OWNERS INSURANCE COMPANY vs. IOWA INSURANCE DIVISION
Insurer appealed insurance commissioner’s decision to decline to consider the merits of an insured’s complaint and the district court dismissed for lack of standing.
SHANNON BREEDEN and LAURA HOCHMUTH vs. IOWA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
The Iowa Department of Corrections seeks further review of the decision of the court of appeals accelerating the accrual rate for earned-time credit after a mandatory minimum term is removed at resentencing.
DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS AFFIRMED; DISTRICT COURT ORDER REVERSED AND CASE REMANDED.
SHAWN ALLEN JAMES vs. STATE OF IOWA
An inmate seeks reversal of a district court order denying recalculation of earned-time credit.
DISTRICT COURT JUDGEMENT REVERSED; CASE REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.
BLAKE JAMES JACOBS vs. IOWA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, MOTOR VEHICLE DIVISION
The petitioner appeals from a district court order dismissing an administrative review proceeding as untimely.
REVERSED AND REMANDED.
STATE OF IOWA vs. ERIC D. COLEMAN
The State of Iowa seeks reversal of a district court order requiring recalculation of inmate’s earned-time credit.
DISTRICT COURT JUDGEMENT AFFIRMED.
|IN OTHER NEWS
Branstad names no Democrats to pick Iowa judges
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad almost exclusively has appointed fellow Republicans to commissions that nominate people to become Iowa judges — a move one former Iowa Supreme Court justice called “destructive” to public perception of judges as impartial.
Cedar Rapids Gazette
New district judge named for southeast Iowa district
A new judge has been appointed for a southeast Iowa district.
Washington County Attorney Shawn Showers was selected by Gov. Terry Branstad. Showers will be replacing Judge Daniel Wilson as a district court judge for the 8A Judicial District. Wilson has retired.
The Daily Progress
Beatty named to mock trial hall of fame
Retired Decorah Middle School teacher Peggy Beatty was honored at this year’s mock trial state tournament awards ceremony as one of the first inductees into the Educator Coach Hall of Fame.
TIPS & TRICKS
How to future-proof your legal career
24 critical policies and procedures your firm needed yesterday
How to launch a law practice in a new neighborhood
5 ways to get yourself out of a rut
How to make use of Google’s advanced search features for better search results
Iowa Legal Aid, IA
Crary, Huff, Ringgenberg, Hartnett & Storm, P.C., Sioux City, IA
Beecher, Field, Walker, Morris, Hoffman & Johnson, P.C., Waterloo, IA
Wealth Management Advisor
United Bank & Trust, Marshalltown, IA
Katz Nowinski P.C., Moline, Ill.
Associate Real Estate Attorney
ADMISSION ON MOTION
The following individuals applied for admission on motion to the Iowa Bar:
Vanessa Lourdes Ramirez-Vollmar, Aegon Asset Management
Cedar Rapids, IA
Richard J. Wirth, Aegon Asset Management
Cedar Rapids, IA
Anyone with questions or comments on the above applicants should contact: Dave Ewert at the Office of Professional Regulation, 1111 East Court Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50319; Phone: 515-725-8029.