Iowa Legal Aid receives grant money to improve pro bono program
The Legal Services Corporation announced that Iowa Legal Aid will receive a 24-month $364,709 Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant for its Pro Bono Revitalization Project and a $59,734 Technology Initiative grant to update and expand its use of A2J Author, a cloud-based software tool.
The Pro Bono Revitalization Project’s goal is to build a robust pro bono program that will make it easier for attorneys in Iowa to provide legal services to low-income individuals. In 2015, Iowa Legal Aid closed 16,203 cases that helped approximately 38,000 people. Despite these high numbers, Iowa Legal Aid must turn away or underserve nearly 10,000 people every year.
The Pro Bono Revitalization Project will focus on creating a pro bono program that is more strategic, efficient and effective in referring appropriate cases to pro bono attorneys. The project will also work to enlist the help of judges and attorneys to educate attorneys about the benefits of pro bono service.
Iowa Legal Aid is one of 11 recipients of LSC’s $4 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund, a competitive grant program that invests in projects that identify and promote replicable innovations in pro bono for low-income legal aid clients. This is the third year LSC has awarded Pro Bono Innovation Fund grants.
Iowa Supreme Court adopts nonsubstantive restyling of Rules of Evidence
The Iowa Supreme Court released an order Sept. 28 announcing the adoption of a new nonsubstantive restyling of the Iowa Rules of Evidence designed to bring them in line with the federal rules that became effective in 2011.
The order, which is available in full on the court’s website, also expands the restyle working group to form an advisory committee to address the substantive differences and whether those changes should be made to the Iowa rules. The current adoption retains the substantive differences until the committee can create a proposal on how to handle them.
Once the committee has completed its review, the court will announce a request for comments from the public. The amendment also states that the current chapter 5 will be stricken and replaced by the restyled chapter on Jan. 1, 2017.
IRS e-Services getting new security checks
The Internal Revenue Service is updating its authentication process for users in October. E-services accounts will gain an extra layer of protection through a stronger identity verification process, mostly through the new Secure Access platform.
The update, which has a target date of Oct. 24, will require users to revalidate their identity in order to maintain e-services access. After the update, users will automatically be taken through the new verification steps to get their account up to speed. From there, the new login will require the normal username and password, as well as a code sent to the user’s mobile phone.
In anticipation of the need for assistance with the process, the IRS is adding additional assistors to the Help Desk beginning on the 24th. The assistors can also attempt to complete validation by phone, sending out the new activation code by mail.
More information about the changes can be found at the IRS website.
Mandatory technology: Florida becomes first state to require tech CLEs
The Florida Bar became the first in the country to mandate that attorneys take continuing legal education courses in technology. The Florida Supreme Court approved the changes last Thursday.
Florida attorneys were previously required to have 30 hours of CLE credits every three years, but the ruling increases that requirement to 33 hours, with those additional hours in technology-related courses.
“Lawyers must be knowledgeable on the benefits and risks associated with technology in their practice areas,” explained John M. Stewart, who chaired The Florida Bar Board of Governors Technology Committee. That committee did a three-year study on the future practice of law before making this recommendation.
No such similar move has been proposed in Iowa at this time.
Read the entire opinion from the Florida Supreme Court.
New committee appointments for the Iowa Supreme Court
The Iowa Supreme Court announced new appointments to the Advisory Committees on Criminal and Civil Procedure. Seven attorneys were selected to serve on the committees, with terms ending Sept. 30, 2019.
The new members of the Criminal Procedure Committee are Alfred Willett of Cedar Rapids, Meghan Corbin of Davenport, Darin Raymond of Le Mars and Gerald Feuerhelm of Des Moines.
New members of the Civil Procedure committee are Ryan Koopmans of Des Moines, Bethany Currie of Marshalltown and Joseph Goedken of Ottumwa.
The committees advise the court on proposed changes to rules of procedure.
October Iowa Lawyer now available online
The October Iowa Lawyer Magazine is now available online. In this issue, find out how a for-profit law firm can thrive and increase access to civil legal services. Also, read a statistical review of the Iowa Supreme Court’s 2015-16 term and learn about a portable medical order for Iowans of all ages who have medical conditions.
Those who elect to receive the print version of the magazine should see it in mailboxes in the next week or so. To view the digital version, navigate to www.iowabar.org, click on "Publications,” then "Iowa Lawyer Magazine.” Those who no longer wish to receive the printed version of the magazine can elect to receive it electronically by navigating to their ISBA account settings and selecting "yes” for the "Iowa Lawyer Magazine Online” option.
Questions regarding the Iowa Lawyer Magazine can be directed to the ISBA Communications Department at email@example.com or 515-697-7898.
New joint tenancy 'You and the Law' video published
A new ‘You and the Law’ video has been added to The Iowa State Bar Association’s selection helping the public understand more about the legal aspects of joint tenancy. The presentation, provided by Larry Eisenhauer, Former Chief Judge of the Iowa Court of Appeals, was published on Sept. 22.
In the video, the public can see information and terms regarding joint tenancy while still encouraging viewers to ensure proper protection of their rights by contacting an attorney with any concerns. Key points include the types of ownership, effects upon estate planning and the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing joint tenancy.
The video can be found on the ISBA Youtube channel.
Eighth Annual World Mediation Congress features president of High Conflict Institute
Bill Eddy, President of the High Conflict Institute in San Diego, will highlight the Eighth Annual World Mediation Congress, Nov. 11-12 at Drake University. He will speak on understanding and working with high conflict personalities in mediation.
The event is sponsored by the InterNational Academy of Dispute Resolution, Drake University Law School and The Iowa State Bar Association. The Congress will also touch on the international use of mediation. Topics include the use of ADR in the Brexit transition, Bridges or Walls? Working with Muslims in America and international trends in mediation.
Registration for the event is available at the INADR webpage.
IN OTHER NEWS
Hard Hat Alert! UI Law School building new student commons
The University of Iowa Law School is currently constructing a new student commons area, thanks to a $1 million gift from the Lauridsen Family Foundation. The commons, expected to be completed in late 2016, will feature a café, meeting areas and a seminar room on the ground floor of the current Boyd Law Building.
Nondisclosure allows Iowa sex offender to avoid prison
A court won’t be asked to review what some believe is an illegal sentence a teacher received in July that allows him to avoid prison after being convicted of a sex crime against a child, a county attorney in northwest Iowa says.
The reason: Former Cherokee physical education teacher Chad Osler did not acknowledge his role as an educator in a plea deal he made with prosecutors, Cherokee County Attorney Ryan Kolpin said.
The legal reasoning reveals a possible loophole in Iowa law that multiple lawmakers describe as troubling.
Des Moines Register
Iowa City murder trial on hold until Supreme Court decision
The trial of a man accused in the 2009 murder of an Iowa City landlord will not move forward until the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether the case should be reviewed. Sixth Judicial District Court Judge Sean McPartland granted a stay in Justin Marshall's trial during a hearing Friday afternoon at the Johnson County Courthouse until the court decides on a writ of certiorari petition, which was filed by the Iowa Attorney General’s office in September.
Iowa City Press-Citizen
Could elder abuse be prosecuted more often?
Iowa police and prosecutors often turn away complaints that elderly or disabled people are being exploited because of a mistaken belief that such cases are not crimes, a state expert said.
Des Moines Register