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    August 3, 2016
Past Issues  

Nationwide study shows need for changes in legal education, hiring practices

A major, multi-year, nationwide study to identify what legal employers want in new graduates and how to ensure graduates have the qualities employers want shows promise of significantly changing traditional law school education and hiring practices. That’s the conclusion of the first phase of the Foundations for Practice study launched in late 2014 by the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS). IAALS is an independent research center at the University of Denver dedicated to facilitating continuous improvement and advancing excellence in the American legal system.


Based on responses from more than 24,000 attorneys in all 50 states representing most types of work settings and practice areas, only 23 percent of practitioners believe new lawyers have sufficient skills out of law school to practice. According to the report, the lawyers surveyed were clear that characteristics (such as integrity and trustworthiness, conscientiousness, and common sense), as well as professional competencies (such as listening attentively, speaking and writing, and arriving on time), were far more important in brand new lawyers than legal skills (such as use of dispute resolution techniques to prevent or handle conflicts, drafting policies, preparing a case for trial, and conducting and defending depositions).


Those results, the full details of which can be viewed here, complete the first of the study’s three phases. The next two phases will look at developing measurable models of legal education that support the characteristics identified by the responding attorneys, and aligning market needs with hiring practices to motivate positive improvements in legal education.


"The legal profession and, notably, legal employers play a significant and often underestimated role in the perpetuation of the current system -- a system with which they are disenchanted,” the report states. "When they fail to hire entry-level lawyers based on the skills, professional competencies, and characteristics they desire, and hire instead on traditional criteria (such as prestige of law school, class rank, and law review) they create incentives for law schools that are misaligned with the objectives toward which we all must work.”

Iowa Lawyer Magazine looking for veterans

The Iowa Lawyer is looking to identify Iowa State Bar Association members who are military veterans for a Veteran's Day article in the magazine. Members are asked to please respond to, so that a full list can be compiled to recognize the sacrifice that comes with being a veteran. Responses are needed no later than Oct. 1 in order to be included in November’s issue. 

20th annual Justice Fore All (Golf) Ball Tournament registration now open

Registration is open for golfers and sponsors for the 20th annual Justice Fore All (Golf) Ball Tournament. Each year the tournament, presented by the YLD, helps to raise money for the ISBA Public Service Project and its programs and activities.

The ISBA Public Service Project serves as the statewide pro bono support program, promoting pro bono legal services, outreach to the public and activities that work to improve access to justice for all of Iowa's citizens.

The tournament is a four-person best ball format golf outing which includes lunch, two beverage tickets for each participant and plenty of prizes (i.e. closest to the pin, longest drive, longest putt).

Sponsors for the event get their own tee box sign and are published in the Iowa Lawyer magazine. This year's tournament will be held at Otter Creek Golf Course in Ankeny, Iowa, on Sept. 1.

Interested golfers and sponsors can visit the event page for additional information.


IRS offers free webinar to help preparers safeguard client identities, data

Leaders from the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax preparation community have launched an expanded awareness campaign for tax professionals to assist in the fight against identity theft and to protect their clients and their own businesses. The campaign called Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself, will provide computer security tips and other information leading into the 2017 tax filing season.


As part of this campaign, the IRS is offering a free 1.5-hour webinar, Protect your Clients; Protect Yourself from Data Theft, at noon on Wednesday, Aug. 17. Topics include:

  • Security Summit initiatives for FY 2017, including enhancing tax professional awareness of client data safeguards,
  • Legal requirements and best practices to better protect taxpayer information,
  • Emerging scams, as outlined by our Criminal Investigation expert,
  • Steps tax professionals should take if they suffer a loss of taxpayer data,
  • Opening remarks from IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and a live Q&A with IRS subject matter experts.

Register for the free seminar at this link. One continuing education credit in the category of federal tax is available.

Two join YLD Student Debt Task Force

The Iowa State Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division executives have now filled two of the five seats on the Student Debt Task Force. Kyle Fry, staff attorney at American Equity Investment Life Insurance, West Des Moines, Iowa, and Ben Meyer an attorney at Alexander & Meyer Associates, Laurens, Iowa, have hit the ground running.

The YLD Executives are currently in the process of interviewing applicants, and seeking motivated young attorneys who are willing to make a difference for their peers. "I was caught off guard by the amount of hard work that was completed by the group last week," said Reed McManigal, president of the Young Lawyers Division. "The task force has already collected the past legislative proposals, and has amassed an impressive list of potential solutions," he said.  

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


In Other News ...

Audio recorded by warrantless FBI bugs outside courthouse didn't violate Constitution, judge rules

A federal judge in California has refused to suppress conversations recorded by the FBI without a warrant on secret devices outside courthouses in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

ABA Journal


Police use fingertip replicas to unlock a murder victim's phone

Dead men tell no tales, but their phones might. Early last month, two detectives walked into the lab of Anil Jain, a professor of computer science and engineering at Michigan State University. They had heard of Jain's cutting-edge work in fingerprint recognition and wanted his help in a murder investigation.



When a farm lease goes bad -- 4 lessons learned

A recent decision by the Iowa Court of Appeals offers some important lessons when thinking about farm estate planning and farm leases.  The court’s opinion in Hope K. Farms, LLC v. Gumm, No. 14-1371 (Iowa Ct. App. June 29, 2016), may be found here.



Social media in the courtroom

The courtroom was the original reality show—before our televisions and telephones were giving us access to entertainment 24 hours a day, the local courthouse was the best show in town. Free, drama-filled, exciting, and the bonus of seeing someone hauled away in handcuffs. As television invaded our culture, shows like Perry Mason, the Defenders, LA Law, the Good Wife, and the ever-present Law & Order, along with dozens of other lawyer-based shows, became the representation of our legal system in the minds of the public.

Law Technology Today


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.



Top five trends in legal technology

4 psychological tricks that will improve your performance today

Should you go solo or form a partnership?

4 mistakes lawyers make when hiring legal tech consultants

3 core behaviors of brilliant thinkers


Public Law Attorney (Labor Relations)

Ahlers & Cooney, P.C., Des Moines, IA

Experienced Tax Attorney

Nyemaster Goode, P.C.

Des Moines, IA

Director, Mortgage Loan Portfolio Management

Aegon Asset Management

Cedar Rapids, IA


Associate Attorney

Fuerste, Carew, Juergens & Sudmeier, P.C., Dubuque, IA



Bradley Preston Brown

Cedar Rapids, IA

Business Litigation Associate
Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP, Des Moines, IA

Labor & Employment Attorney
McGrath North Mullin & Kratz, PC LLO, NE

Director of Program Administration
Iowa Legal Aid, Des Moines, IA

Policy Counsel
ACLU of Iowa, Des Moines, IA

Special Assistant United States Attorney (HIDTA/Iowa Attorney General's Office)

United States Attorney Southern District of Iowa, Davenport, IA


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

Joel Allister Deutsch, Deutsch & Deutsch, Rock Island, IL

Cari Ryan Campbell, Campbell Legal, Dubuque, IA

Jesse H. Rigsby IV, Cary, NC

Regan Richards Duckworth, Invictus Law, Lindon, UT

Kristie Maria Kuntsman-Stern, Center for Law & Social Work, Chicago, IL

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.


LawPay is the preferred payment solution for attorneys. Backed by over 90 bar associations and designed specifically for the legal industry, LawPay offers a secure and convenient tool for receiving online credit card payments – the fastest way to get paid. One major benefit of LawPay is the ability to correctly separate earned and unearned payments. LawPay protects your firm from co-mingling client funds. 

If you’re interested in learning more, a LawPay representative is available to answer your questions at 866-376-0950 or visit

See more ISBA member benefits here


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