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Iowa Lawyer Weekly (07/13/2016)
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    July 13, 2016
Past Issues  

Court adopts new rule on alternate jurors

The Iowa Supreme Court recently rescinded in its entirety Court Rule 2.18(15) dealing with selection of alternate jurors and adopted a new Rule 2.18(15) that conforms with the more common practice of selecting alternate jurors.

Under the old rule, candidates for jury selection underwent a separate examination process. The new rule conforms to the often-common practice of examining and selecting alternate jurors at the same time as principal jurors.

The new rule is temporarily adopted effective with the June 30 date the order was signed. It will take effect permanently on Aug. 30, subject to approval by the court’s legislative council.

Read the order here. Read new Court Rule 2.18(15) at this link.

ISBA makes digital annual report available 

The ISBA recently emailed to members its digital annual report for 2015-2016. The report includes information on membership, sections and committees, CLE programing, member benefits, legislative successes and civic outreach.

The 2016 Annual Report is mobile friendly and viewable from a variety of different web browsers. Report information is organized into one scrollable website with a sleek design to help readers easily consume the information. Members can take a look at numerous demographic data points, see what CLEs were a hit, learn what benefits members are using and find out what ISBA legislation was enacted into law.


Find out who recently passed away through new obituary notification service

The ISBA began its obituary notification service this week as a way to keep members informed of colleagues who have recently passed away. The service, a courtesy to members, is meant to supplement the "In Memoriam” column in the Iowa Lawyer magazine with the intent of informing members early so that members may be able to attend the funeral or wake.

To sign up for the service, members must log in to their account, click on "Manage Profile” and choose the "Edit Bio” option. Scroll down to the option "Obituary Notification,” select "yes,” then save the changes. Once the option is elected, members will receive an email notification anytime a member passes away, the same day the ISBA receives the notification.

The ISBA encourages members to share funeral information with the membership department as soon as it’s available. The membership department does its best to stay informed of members who pass, but it often receives notifications well after the fact. Members who know of a colleague passing should email the membership department at and include a link to the obituary and/or funeral information. Any notification that is received more than one month after the date of passing will be published only in the Iowa Lawyer magazine.

IOLTA grants go to 14 organizations

Fourteen different organizations around the state that provide legal assistance to low-income Iowans with civil legal problems have received a combined $239,998 in grants from the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account (IOLTA) program. The Iowa Supreme Court approved the grants to the nonprofit programs conducted by the organizations last week. The grants were awarded for the fiscal year that began July 1 and ends June 30, 2017.

"Far too many Iowans cannot afford to hire an attorney to resolve the civil legal problems that affect the most basic necessities of life—shelter, food, and health care," Chief Justice Mark Cady said in a news release announcing the grants. "Despite the outstanding contributions from legal aid organizations in Iowa and the thousands of Iowa attorneys who volunteer their time, a substantial need for such legal services remains. The IOLTA grant recipient organizations can help fill that need."

The IOLTA program is managed by a seven-member commission that reviews grant applications and then makes award recommendations to the supreme court. With this year's distribution, the supreme court has awarded more than $24.4 million in IOLTA grants since the program began on July 1, 1985.

See the list of organizations who were awarded grants this year along with the amount each received.

Tips for avoiding embezzlement, fraud 

The ISBA’s professional liability insurance carrier, Lockton Risk Services, has released a white paper that provides suggestions on how to avoid theft and fraud by employees in a law firm. Entitled "The Threat from Within: Theft and Fraud Inside Law Firms,” the paper acknowledges that lawyers may be more concerned with practicing law than with managing the routine day-to-day operation of the firm’s business practices. As a result, unscrupulous employees, especially if charged with the responsibility of managing the firm’s business operations, may take advantage of this lack of interest.

The paper offers at least 10 actions that law firms can take to reduce the risk of embezzlement and fraud. Among them are requiring dual signatures on checks, emphasizing the importance of ethical behavior, rotating job duties when possible and conducting surprise independent inspections of the books.

Read the complete paper here.

Supreme Court Opinions

While the Iowa Supreme Court is in administrative session, there will be no Supreme Court opinions. Opinions will pick back up in a couple months. 


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