on guard against identity theft on client tax returns
number of recent reports about fraudulent federal income tax returns being
filed by thieves using individuals’ social security numbers (SSN) has led the
IRS to issue tips for tax preparers on how to spot fraudulent activity and what
to do about it.
to the IRS newsletter issued Tuesday, March 3, "you may be unaware your client
is a victim of identity theft until you attempt to file the tax return and it
is rejected. Your client also may receive an IRS notice regarding:
than one tax return was filed using your client’s SSN,
client has a balance due, refund offset or a collection action taken for a
year in which your client did not file a tax return,
records indicate your client received wages from an unknown employer,
business client may receive an IRS letter about an amended tax return,
fictitious employees or about a defunct, closed or dormant business.”
your client’s SSN has been compromised, whether from a data breach, computer
hack or stolen wallet, and he or she has reason to believe there is a risk of
tax-related identity theft, you should take these steps, according to the IRS:
your client received an IRS notice, respond immediately to the telephone
Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. Fax or mail to the IRS according to
inquire about specific client return information, you must have a power of
attorney on file, and you must authenticate your identity with the IRS customer
IRS has a number of resources available for tax preparers to help thwart tax
fraud. Click here to access a page
with links to those resources.
Foundations for Practice
In the next few days, the
ISBA will send to members an email containing survey information for the
national Foundations for Practice project. The study, a part of the national
Foundations for Practice project, is an ambitious effort to determine what law
graduates need in order to launch successful careers in the legal profession,
create models of legal education to better fulfill those needs and identify
tools legal employers can use to make better hiring decisions.
Tomorrow's Lawyers Initiative of the Institute for the Advancement of
the American Legal System at the University of Denver, is
conducting the study on the skills, characteristics and competencies that the
profession requires of new lawyers.
The views of ISBA members
are essential to this study. Members should watch their emails for a link to
the survey. Please complete the survey and contribute your expertise to this
For more information about
the project, visit the Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers website.
Financial assistance for student clerks could
help hiring by rural attorneys
Law students who are hired
by rural practitioners to clerk for the summer can apply for financial
assistance through two programs offered by the ISBA and by the ISBA’s Rural
Practice Committee in cooperation with Iowa Legal Aid. The assistance could
benefit practitioners who would be willing to hire a summer clerk, but are
reluctant to do so because of costs.
The program stemming from
the arrangement between the ISBA’s Rural Practice Committee and Iowa Legal Aid
gives students a stipend of $1,000 to $1,500, depending on the number who
apply, for providing 50 hours of pro bono work for Legal Aid. Made possible by
a grant from the Iowa State Bar Foundation, the stipend program is administered
through Iowa Legal Aid, but requires the approval of, and supervision by, the
hiring rural practice attorney.
The ISBA program gives
students a grant of up to $500 per student to assist with commuting costs,
lodging, food, etc., while clerking in a rural area. It is made possible by a
grant from the ISBA that was approved by the board of governors at its
September 2014 meeting.
Application for the stipend program is on a first-come,
first-served basis and is limited to a maximum of 15 students. If 15 students
participate, the stipends would be $1,000 per student. The form for applying is
available on the Rural Practice
Committee’s web page, along with other
resources about the Rural Practice Committee’s programs, including resumes from
50-plus students who are interested in clerking in rural areas for the summer.
Click on "Application for Rural Practice Committee/Iowa Legal Aid Stipend
Program,” fill it out and email it to Alex Kornya (email@example.com). Some internet browsers, such as Firefox, may require you to download
the form to Adobe in order to fill it out. Application deadline is June 1.
Information about the grant
for commuting costs, lodging, etc., can be accessed by contacting committee co-chairs
Phil Garland or Amy Skogerson. Their contact information is: 641-923-3792, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Garland); or 515 996-4045, email@example.com (Skogerson).
Iowa Legal Aid event planned for March 26
Iowa Legal Aid
will host its annual Equal Justice After Hours event on Thursday, March 26, at
the Temple for Performing Arts, 1011 Locust Street, in downtown Des Moines. The
event, which runs from 5 – 7 p.m., is the Iowa Legal Aid Foundation’s annual
fundraiser that showcases the positive impact Iowa Legal Aid makes in the lives
of its clients.
At Equal Justice
After Hours 2015, Iowa Legal Aid will induct Dave (former chairman and CEO, The
Principal Financial Group) and Trudy Hurd into its Hall of Fame.
Groenenboom, executive director of Iowa Legal Aid stated, "The Board of
Directors of Iowa Legal Aid is pleased to be honoring Dave and Trudy Hurd at
this year’s Equal Justice After Hours. Their dedication to justice
issues in this community and throughout the state demonstrates their passion
that aligns with Iowa Legal Aid’s mission of providing hope, dignity and
justice to low-income Iowans.”
Tickets and event sponsorships are available by contacting Terri
Bennett at 515-243-2980, Ext. 1611, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For
more information about Iowa Legal Aid’s services, visit Iowa Legal Aid’s
website at www.iowalegalaid.org.
2016 law school rankings
The University of Iowa
College of Law is 22nd (up from 27th) and Drake
University Law School and Creighton University School of Law (up from 115th)
are tied at 113thin the recently released law school
rankings by U.S. News and World Report.
The annual rankings of the
198 law schools fully accredited by the ABA are based on a weighted average of
12 measures of quality. The measures of quality include
Quality Assessment, Selectivity, Bar Passage Rate, Faculty Resources and
Placement Success. Data for this year’s rankings were collected last fall and
early this year.
View the rankings of all 198
accredited schools here.
Judges needed for High
School Mock Trial State Tournament next week
Thirty-two teams of high
school students from around the state who are participating in the high school
mock trial program will once again descend on Des Moines on Tuesday, March 24,
to compete in the 34th Annual High School Mock Trial State
Tournament. That means lots of judges are needed to evaluate student
performance in their roles as attorneys and witnesses in the competitions, says
John Wheeler, director of the ISBA’s Center for Law and Civic Education and
coordinator of the mock trial program.
Each team will compete in
three preliminary rounds of competition with the first round starting at 4 p.m.
Tuesday at the Iowa Events Center. The remaining two rounds will be held at 9
a.m. and 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday (March 25). Semi-finals and finals will be held
on Thursday (March 26) at the judicial branch building.
Each preliminary round
features 16 individual competitions. Three judges are needed for each
competition, which translates into 48 judges per round, or 144 judges for the
Wheeler says some judges
have already signed up for slots in the preliminary rounds, but many more are
needed. He asks that you sign up for one or more of the competitions if at all
possible. You don’t have to be a trial attorney to be a mock trial judge.
To sign up, click here, or send Wheeler an email at email@example.com. To
learn more about this year’s case and what you need to do as a judge, click on
|In Other News ...|
Pollster Ann Selzer to deliver lecture at Simpson
J. Ann Selzer, who is a
member of the Simpson College Board of Trustees, will discuss opinion polling
and survey methods in a lecture at 7:30 p.m. March 17 in the Principal Black
Box Theatre. The title of her talk is, "Public Opinion Polling: Questions &
Answers.” The event, sponsored by the John C. Culver Public Policy Center, is
free and open to the Simpson community and to the general public.
Simpson College News Center
Iowa court ruling lets public sector tap into
Tax credits to cover 30
percent of the upfront cost haven’t done much for local elected officials in
Iowa eager to try solar energy for public buildings as a way to save on
electric bills and to green up their environmental credentials. Until now. An
Iowa Supreme Court ruling last July changed the playing field for the use of
solar energy in the public sector and not-for-profit sector, and the cities of
Cedar Rapids and Marion and Johnson and Linn counties are dipping their toes
into the renewable energy source. So, too, is the University of Iowa.
High court limits wage discrimination damages
The Iowa Supreme Court
says anyone claiming damages for wage discrimination that occurred before 2009
is out of luck. Three female employees of Muscatine-based Allsteel are
suing the office furniture manufacturer, alleging male employees were paid more
for similar work. While the lawsuit is pending, the high court's ruling
greatly limits the amount of damages the plaintiffs may eventually claim.
Iowa Public Radio
State Supreme Court to consider IC
The Iowa Supreme Court will
consider a case this year involving an Iowa City tenant and the city's largest
student housing provider. The state's high court this week issued an order to
retain a case that originated in Johnson County — Elyse DeStefano v. Apartments
Downtown — rather than sending it to the Court of Appeals.
|The Iowa Lawyer Weekly is an electronic newsletter published every Wednesday. Please submit comments, letters to the editor, articles, or photos, to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.|
SUPREME COURT OPINIONS
March 6, 2015
STATE OF IOWA vs. SHAUNTA ROSE HOPKINS
On review from the Iowa Court of Appeals.
Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Glenn E. Pille, Judge.
A criminal defendant challenges the judgment and sentence entered at a resentencing hearing, claiming abuse of discretion by the district court and ineffective assistance of counsel. AFFIRMED.
ERIN DINDINGER, LISA LORING, and ELIZABETH FREUND, Plaintiffs, vs. ALLSTEEL, INC. and SCOTT MILLS
Certified questions of law from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, Stephanie M. Rose, United States District Court Judge.
A federal district court certified two questions in a suit for wage discrimination under the Iowa Civil Rights Act. CERTIFIED QUESTIONS ANSWERED.
DYLAN BOOK and KAREN BOOK vs. VOMA TIRE CORPORATION, HUNTER ENGINEERING COMPANY, IOWA TIRE, INC., HOLT SALES AND SERVICE, INC., SICE, S.p.A. and SICE AUTOMOTIVE Equipment Societa Italiana Costruzioni Elettromeccaniche S.I.C.E.-S.p.A and DOUBLESTAR DONGFENG TYRE COMPANY, LTD.,
Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dallas County, Bradley McCall, Judge.
Plaintiffs in products-liability action, who seek recovery for personal injuries from allegedly defective tire that exploded during inflation at Iowa workplace, appeal ruling dismissing Chinese tire manufacturer for lack of personal jurisdiction. REVERSED.
IOWA SUPREME COURT ATTORNEY DISCIPLINARY BOARD vs. GERALD ANTHONY LYMAN MOOTHART
On review of the report of the Grievance Commission of the Supreme Court of Iowa.
The grievance commission reports the respondent committed multiple ethical violations and recommends a thirty-month suspension of the attorney’s license. LICENSE SUSPENDED.
TIPS & TRICKS
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