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Iowa Lawyer Weekly (07/20/2016)
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    July 20, 2016
Past Issues  

Judicial Performance Review survey coming soon

The biannual Judicial Performance Review, formerly known as the "plebiscite,” is scheduled to open Monday, July 25, for members to evaluate judges who stand for retention later this year. The survey will be available for members to register their evaluations until Friday, Aug. 5.

A number of judges are up for retention in 2016: three Supreme Court justices, Chief Justice Mark Cady, Justice Brent Appel and Justice Daryl Hecht; four Court of Appeals judges, Chief Judge David Danilson, Judge Richard Doyle, Judge Amanda Potterfield and Judge Gayle Vogel; and 61 district judges. Judges have until this Friday to decide whether they will elect to stay on the bench.

Judicial Performance Evaluations are tracked electronically again this year as they have been for several years. Electronic surveys allow for greater anonymity for the respondents and for quicker tabulation of the results. Members should receive an email from the ISBA July 25 with a link to the survey. The link in the email is unique to each member and will not work if shared with someone else.

Critelli Selected as Director of Office of Professional Regulation 

N. “Tre” Critelli III was recently selected as the new director of the Iowa Supreme Court Office of Professional Regulation. He will take over the position from Paul Wieck upon his retirement on Dec. 22.

Critelli graduated from Drake University Law School in 1995 and served as assistant director of the Office of Professional Regulation and staff attorney for the Iowa Judicial Branch’s Education Division since 2014. He has 15 years’ experience in private practice, is a fellow of the Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers and has also worked overseas as a qualified English barrister.

The Iowa Supreme Court created the Office of Professional Regulation in 2007 to align regulation of attorneys, court reporters and interpreters under a single office. Paul Wieck has served as director since the position was created.

YLD creates task force to tackle student debt, seeks motivated leaders

In response to the overwhelming and candid responses to the recent Student Debt Survey, the officers of the Young Lawyers Division created a student debt task force. YLD officers charged the task force with implementing a comprehensive debt-relief program for young attorneys.

The YLD is now seeking five high-energy young attorneys to lead the task force. Any motivated young attorney will be considered, but those with a background or interest in banking and finance are preferred. Those interested should notify YLD leadership no later than Friday, July 29, 2016 at 5 p.m. for consideration.

“The groundwork for this project has been in play for about a year,” said Reed McManigal, president of the Young Lawyers Division. “It is going to be a great opportunity for a few driven young attorneys to make a name for themselves while providing a powerful benefit to our friends and members under heavy debt burdens.”

“The remedy is going to be multi-faceted,” said Tom Hillers, President-Elect of the Young Lawyers Division. “But, as an example of our agenda, we have identified a few local lenders who are interested in partnering with the bar association to offer excellent refinancing options to our young attorneys.

“John Lande, our banking and finance expert, has been instrumental in identifying the scope of the project, but now we need some bright young attorneys to take the reins and get the project off the ground. We are also looking for driven individuals who are interested in legislative and political solutions in coordination with our lobbyists.”

Young attorneys who have not already done so, should complete the student debt survey as the responses are being used to craft the final agenda of the task force.

YLD members who are interested in taking on a leadership role should email Reed McManigal at or Tom Hillers at



Do you own a solo, small firm practice?

Would you like to attend a conference that is filled with good practice pointers and suggestions which lead to a more enjoyable and successful law practice? Do you think marketing is limited to the yellow pages? Think again.

Attorneys who want to learn about alternative billing and profitablity, how to successfully represent business clients, best practices and pitfalls in family law practice, and the most current and popular practice management software should attend this event. These are but a few of the many subjects highlighted at the Solo & Small Firm Conference August 11-13 in Council Bluffs. For more details and to register click here.

Windows 10 may be collecting data you don’t want shared

If you recently upgraded your computer to Windows 10, or purchased a new computer with Windows 10 already installed, check the privacy settings and turn off those that allow Microsoft to collect data you’re not comfortable having the company collect.

With the release of Windows 10, which is now estimated to be installed on 75 million devices, Microsoft also updated its privacy policy, according to Sharon D. Nelson, Esq. and John W. Simek, president and vice president, respectively, of Sensei Enterprises, Inc., a legal technology, information security and digital forensics firm based in Fairfax, Virginia. Some provisions in that policy may cause concern for attorneys. In a paper entitled, “Is Windows 10 Spying on You?” they point out that one privacy provision would permit Microsoft to turn over information it has collected to law enforcement or some other government entity.

Read the paper for more details on the type of data Microsoft collects, and for information on how to turn off the privacy settings enabling that collection.

How to manage errors

Even the most conscientious, hardworking and diligent attorney may make a mistake of significant consequence at some point in his or her legal career. How the attorney manages that mistake is often more important than the mistake itself.

A guide created by CNA and made available to Iowa attorneys through Lockton Risk Services, the ISBA’s endorsed professional liability insurance carrier, offers a number of steps for determining the action to take if an error occurs. Among them:

• Evaluating the error;
• Notifying the client if it is a substantive error;
• Making the disclosure without admitting liability;
• Delivering the news in a professional manner;
• Settling with the client;
• Informing the law firm of the error;
• Notifying former clients;
• Notifying the legal malpractice insurer.

See an explanation of the above steps and additional information on the importance of managing errors in the full guide available at this link.

Supreme Court Opinions

The Iowa Supreme Court recently issued orders granting or denying applications for further review in 79 cases.


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