Message from President Feller calls for contact with legislators
ISBA President Joe Feller
encourages members to contact their local legislators about the association’s
legislative proposals in this three and one-half
minute video. Feller urges each member to discuss legislative matters
most important to their practice with local legislators.
message focuses on legislative initiatives to increase the hourly rate
attorneys receive for representing indigent defendants and resist the
elimination of the judicial residency requirement. In addition, Feller discusses the bar’s efforts related to probate court costs and improved
View the complete video
here, or click the image above.
Foundations for Practice
The ISBA sent a reminder
email to all in-state ISBA members March 23 containing survey information for
the Foundations for Practice project. The study 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.
The Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers Initiative of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at the University of Denver, is conducting
the study. The views of ISBA members
are essential to this study. Members are invited to complete the survey via the
link in the email. Please complete the survey no later than Sunday, March 29, and
contribute your expertise to this important endeavor.
Authors of Iowa courthouse
photo-book seek funding
The authors of Prairie
Jewels – Iowa’s Courthouses are seeking crowd-source funding for their 210-page
book. The book boasts the architectural diversity and historical significance
of Iowa’s 100 courthouses.
A project that eventually
developed into a compilation of visual mastery and informational literature
features the 100 Iowa courthouses in panoramic images and researched
narratives. A preview for the book is available online here.
Authors David Richmond and
Michael Adams have established a Kickstarter campaign allowing people to pledge
various dollar amounts, starting at $50, to support their campaign. If their
goal of $5,000 is met by the April 27 deadline, each pledge will act as a
pre-order for variations of the book and courthouse prints.
Learn more about the project
by visiting the Prairie Jewels – Iowa’s Courthouses webpage and
Interested parties can pledge their support and purchase the first edition of
the book by donating to the Kickstarter campaign.
Richmond is a professor of
art at Simpson College and has enjoyed wide-ranging experiences in graphic
design, photography and visual storytelling over his 30-year professional
career. Adams has been a writer, photographer, speechwriter and editor during a
rewarding career in journalism, public relations and marketing.
Grefe Pro Bono Publico Award
request for nominees
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 for
those who for one reason or another are unable to afford a lawyer. Any member
of The Iowa State Bar Association is eligible for nomination. The selection
committee is asking that you nominate an attorney 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 low-income Iowans in their community and around the state. The
award will be presented at the ISBA Annual Meeting’s President’s Awards Banquet
Send your nominations along
with a brief description to Brett Toresdahl, the ISBA Public Service Project
Executive Director, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than April 10.
New 'You and the Law' video
released focuses on legal fees
The Podcast Sub-committee of the
Public Relations Committee recently released their newest "You and the Law”
video regarding legal fees. The video is a helpful guide for attorneys to share
with clients who have questions about the determination of legal fees for
specific legal needs. Senior Iowa District Court Judge Donna L. Paulsen
describes how reasonable legal fees are determined and provides specific
examples of fee arrangements commonly associated with various types of legal
The video was posted on the
ISBA’s YouTube channel, here. Other videos can be found
the public resources section on the ISBA website or by clicking here.
The informational multimedia
products produced by various sections and committees are meant to be used by
attorneys who want to offer basic information to clients on various topics.
They are not an attempt to provide legal advice. The ISBA encourages viewers to
consult with an attorney regarding legal matters to ensure their rights and
interests are protected.
For questions or comments
regarding the "You and the Law” series, contact Chris Fritz at 515-697-7873
|In Other News ...|
Iowa courthouses work to beef up security
Larry "Buck” Koos said he
knows for everyone else it was March. But every day for him still is Sept. 9,
2014, the day a man opened fire in the Jackson County Courthouse and Koos
stepped up and wrestled him to the ground. "I could never tell anybody else to
do what I did that day,” Koos said last week from his home in Maquoketa.
The Cedar Rapids Gazette
Broad exemption to Iowa law shuts down records
Did the Iowa State Patrol
discipline two supervisors who committed off-duty misconduct? What is a
powerful utility executive saying to his bosses at Iowa State University about
the director of the Iowa Energy Center? Did an instructor at the Iowa Law
Enforcement Academy really resign to spend more time with his puppies as he claims?
The public will never know. All of those sensitive and potentially embarrassing
inquiries were shut down in recent months by government agencies that cited the
same legal rationale for keeping citizens in the dark.
The Des Moines Register
What does it take to disbar a lawyer?
From 1973-1976 I worked as
the assistant court administrator of the Iowa Supreme Court. My job was to investigate
complaints filed against Iowa lawyers for trust account violations and other
ethical improprieties. A lawyer can be disbarred for committing the crime of
The Des Moines Register
Law school applications set to hit 15-year low
Law schools keep getting
less attractive to young professionals, with schools receiving 6.7 percent
fewer applications this year than they did in 2014, according to numbers
released by the Law School Admission Council on Thursday, March 19. The number
of individuals applying has also fallen, by 4.7 percent. If the pace continues
as it did last year, the number of people who applied to law school for the
Fall 2015 semester will hit its lowest level in 15 years.
Bar exam, the standard to become a lawyer,
comes under fire
For decades, law school
graduates have endured a stressful rite of passage, spending the first 10 weeks
after classes end taking cram courses in the arcane details of the law before
sitting down for the grueling, days-long bar exam. Those who do not pass cannot
practice law, at least in nearly all the states and the District of Columbia
that consider the exam the professional standard. But that standard, so long
unquestioned, is facing a new round of scrutiny — not just from the test takers
but from law school deans and some state legal establishments. Some states,
including Arizona, Iowa and New Hampshire, are exploring or have adopted other
options, questioning the wisdom of relying on a single written test as the
gateway to legal practice.
The New York Times
|The Iowa Lawyer Weekly is an electronic newsletter published every Wednesday. Please submit comments, letters to the editor, articles, or photos, to email@example.com. 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 20, 2015
STATE OF IOWA vs. MARIO
On review from the Iowa
Court of Appeals. Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Scott D.
Rosenberg, Judge. A criminal
defendant challenges his convictions and sentences for first-degree murder and
attempt to commit murder. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS AFFIRMED IN PART AND
VACATED IN PART; DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT AND SENTENCE AFFIRMED.
AMISH CONNECTION, INC. vs.
STATE FARM FIRE AND CASUALTY COMPANY
On review from the Iowa
Court of Appeals. Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County,
Kellyann M. Lekar, Judge.
Property insurer seeks further review of court of
appeals decision reversing summary judgment upholding denial of coverage for
damage from rainwater spilling from corroded drainpipe that failed during
storm. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS VACATED; DISTRICT COURT
SUMMARY JUDGMENT AFFIRMED.
On review of the report of the Grievance
Commission of the Supreme Court of Iowa. Grievance commission reports
respondent committed numerous violations of the rules of professional conduct
and recommends suspension. LICENSE SUSPENDED.
IOWA SUPREME COURT ATTORNEY
DISCIPLINARY BOARD vs. MICHAEL J. CROSS
TIPS & TRICKS
BENEFIT OF THE WEEK
Lawyers are expected to meet high professional standards which are set forth in rules adopted by the Iowa Supreme Court. If a lawyer violates an ethics rule, the lawyer may be disciplined.
The Iowa State Bar Association helps its attorneys stay on the right track by providing ethics opinions on a variety of topics that are timely and relevant. A full database from 1966 to the present is searchable and available to members at no cost.