Share |


    March 9, 2016
Past Issues  

ABA: Bar associations feeling the pinch

According to a recent article from the American Bar Association’s Bar Leader e-newsletter, bar associations across the nation are beginning to feel the pinch of a membership trend that has only begun to affect bottom lines. With older attorneys retiring and fewer students attending law school, bar associations are paying closer attention to age demographics and looking for solutions to protect their futures.


The ISBA maintains around an 86 percent membership rate in the state of Iowa. However, the number of incoming attorneys falls short from numbers in years past.


"Even if we were able to recruit every single newly-admitted attorney, we still wouldn’t be able to match the numbers of attorneys getting ready to leave the profession here in Iowa,” said ISBA Assistant Executive Director Harry Shipley. He went on to say that he is testing different strategies to ensure newly-admitted attorneys find value in the association.


"We are beginning to offer greater benefits to our younger attorneys,” Shipley said, "by offering free online CLE to members with five or fewer years of practice, and younger attorneys are receiving ISBA services at reduced rates or free all together.”


ISBA staff will continue to test different strategies, but in the end look to member volunteers to assist in spreading the message of value offered by the ISBA. Those interested in volunteering to champion the cause are encouraged to contact Shipley at the ISBA office.

Kutzko to join Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame

Diane Kutzko, a senior vice president at Shuttleworth & Ingersoll, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was selected to join the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame, the most prestigious volunteer award given by the state of Iowa. Kutzko will be one of five honorees inducted into the Hall of Fame this year. The inductees will be honored at the state capitol April 13.

The Commission on Volunteer Service will also be awarding a People's Choice Award to an inductee during the ceremony. Voting is open during the month of March at the volunteer Iowa website. Members are encouraged to cast their votes.

Iowa Legal Aid nominated Kutzko for this distinguished award to recognize her dedication to providing hope, dignity and justice to low-income Iowans and furthering the legal profession. Among Kutzko’s many contributions are her efforts to encourage lawyers to provide support for legal aid services of which she has been a long-standing proponent. 

Kutzko served as the board president of Legal Services Corporation of Iowa (LSCI) and was vital in facilitating the successful merger of LSCI and Legal Aid Society of Polk County to form Iowa Legal Aid in 2003. In 1996, Kutzko played a key role in obtaining Iowa’s first state appropriation to support civil legal aid, which has continued every year since. She was also instrumental in the creation of the Shuttleworth & Ingersoll Intake Project in the Cedar Rapids Regional Office, and participates in Iowa Legal Aid’s Volunteer Lawyers Project. 

Her additional contributions to the legal profession include her service with the Iowa State and American Bar Associations and on the Linn County Bar Board of Governors. Kutzko was Iowa’s delegate for many years to the American Bar Association and a former member of The Iowa State Bar Association’s Board of Governors.


Seeking nominations for Rolland Grefe Pro Bono Publico Award

The Rolland E. Grefe Pro Bono Publico Award is awarded annually to an attorney who has enhanced the human dignity of others by improving or delivering pro bono legal services to those who, for one reason or another, are unable to afford a lawyer. Any member of ISBA is eligible for nomination. The selection committee is asking for nominations for an Iowa lawyer who would be a fitting recipient of this year’s award.

The award recipient will be selected based on commitment to pro bono publico and the delivery of legal services to the poor in his or her community and around the state of Iowa. The Iowa Rule of Professional Conduct 32:6.1 clearly lays out the aspirational expectation for every attorney in Iowa, and this award recipient should exemplify that rule.


Send nominations along with a brief description to Brett Toresdahl at the ISBA Public Service Project by March 31 at

Ag Law attorneys urged to attend beginning farmer workshops

Attorneys who work with beginning farmers and military veterans who want to farm can choose from six half-day workshops being held around the state designed to raise awareness of programs that support beginning farmers and military veterans. The free workshops are co-hosted by the Iowa Agricultural Development Division, a part of the Iowa Finance Authority. 


Each workshop begins at 8:30 a.m. with registration, and adjourns at 11:30 a.m. Included on the agenda are presentations on the beginning farmer programs offered by the Farm Service Agency and the Iowa Finance Authority, an update on the Veterans in Agriculture program and an ag lenders panel on regional ag topics.


Click here to access a flyer on the workshops. To register for a workshop, click on that workshop. 

Reminder: Tomorrow is deadline for filing annual reports with Supreme Court

If you haven’t already, you have until tomorrow, March 10, to file your 2015 client security and continuing legal education reports with the Iowa Supreme Court’s Office of Professional Regulation. Failure to file by March 10 will result in a penalty of $100 if filed after tomorrow and before April 12, $150 if filed between April 11 and May 12 and $200 if filed after May 11. Failure to file can result in a suspension of the right to practice law in Iowa. (See Chapter 41, Rule 41.4.)


March 1 was the deadline for filing your biennial CLE report for the federal courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa. If you haven’t already filed, click on this link to check out the requirements, the report form and instructions for filing.


Iowa-licensed attorneys are required to complete 15 hours of CLE each calendar year (Rule 41.3). The 15 hours shall include a minimum of three hours of ethics every two years. 


To file, click here to be taken to the Iowa Judicial Branch’s Office of Professional Regulation page, and log in with your user name and password.

Supreme Court Opinions
March 4

No. 13–1202 
Defendant appeals from conviction for domestic abuse assault causing bodily injury. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS AFFIRMED IN PART AND VACATED IN PART; DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT REVERSED AND REMANDED


No. 13–1906 
Defendant seeks further review of a court of appeals decision holding the district court properly resentenced the defendant upon remand. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS AND JUDGMENT AND SENTENCE OF DISTRICT COURT VACATED; CASE REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.


No. 15–1256 
IN THE INTEREST OF M.W. AND Z.W., Minor Children, R.W., Mother 
The juvenile court terminated a mother’s parental rights to her two children. The State appeals a court of appeals decision affirming the juvenile court’s termination of parental rights for one child and reversing the termination of parental rights for the other child. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS AFFIRMED IN PART AND REVERSED IN PART; JUVENILE COURT JUDGMENT AFFIRMED.


In Other News ...

Does SCOTUS have a plan to avoid 4-4 rulings? 

The U.S. Supreme Court granted no new cert petitions Monday, which according to Bloomberg News could be a way to deal with what could be a long vacancy following the February death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Bloomberg News notes that if a U.S. Supreme Court opinion has a 4-4 vote, the lower court’s ruling is upheld. 

ABA Journal


Jane Kelly Supreme Court nomination could pressure Grassley 

Two Iowa lawmakers have spoken with FBI agents who are helping the Obama administration vet federal appeals court judge Jane Kelly, a longtime Cedar Rapids public defender, for a possible nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, they confirmed to The Des Moines Register. Her nomination would turn up the heat on Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, who has been a Kelly supporter but has stood fast with Republican leaders who are refusing to consider any Obama nominees for the seat left open by the unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February. 

The Des Moines Register


House plan would let courts set salaries for judges, magistrates 

Iowa House members are contemplating a "sea change” in state government that most Iowans are unlikely to notice. The House Appropriations Committee approved a proposal to move salary-setting authority for judges from the Legislature to the Supreme Court. House File 2409 would also give the Supreme Court the authority to pay them from general operating money appropriated by the Legislature, Rep. Gary Worthan, R-Storm Lake, told the committee Monday. 

Telegraph Herald


The Iowa Lawyer Weekly is an electronic newsletter published every Wednesday. Please submit comments, letters to the editor, articles, or photos, to Contact information should be included with submissions. The ISBA reserves the right to refuse any submission but will take all submissions into consideration for future publication.


March 8




The following individuals applied for admission on motion to the Iowa Bar:

  • Thomas Paul Stilp, Law Offices of Thomas P. Stilp, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 
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.


It is vital that firms have professional liability coverage in place. Not having coverage can put a firm at risk. That’s why The Iowa State Bar Association partnered with Lockton Risk Services to develop the ISBA Insurance Program. Developed under the guidance of ISBA, the program offers the professional liability coverage Iowa law firms need to protect their practices at competitive rates that may not be available anywhere else.The ISBA Insurance Program is designed specifically with you in mind and offers:

  • Competitive Rates
  • Comprehensive Policy Form, including unique coverage extensions
  • Access to Unparalleled Loss Prevention & Risk Management Service
  • Outstanding Customer Service Insurance with a Company Rated "A” by A.M. Best
Click here to get started!

See more ISBA member benefits here


Tweet with us on Twitter
Be our fan on Facebook
Connect through LinkedIn
Follow us on Google+
Watch us on YouTube