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    September 2, 2015   
Past Issues   

Supreme Court appoints members of Guardianship and Conservatorship Reform Task Force; seeks comments on issues, problems

Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady signed an order last Friday, Aug. 28, appointing 53 members to the Guardianship and Conservatorship Reform Task Force. A list of those appointed can be seen here.

The task force was created last January to review Iowa’s guardianship and conservatorship laws and procedures, and to propose recommendations for new court processes and improvements to the current process for statewide adoption. A nine-member steering committee was appointed at the time the task force was created to oversee the effort.

The task force is actively seeking input from the bench and bar regarding issues and problems with the existing guardianship and conservatorship system. Any interested organization, agency or person may submit a written statement and a request to present oral testimony.

According to the Supreme Court, there are currently 22,000 open guardianship and conservatorship cases. More recognition is given to the need for reform at the state and national levels as the number of cases continues to grow.

Those interested in providing input or in learning more can view the request for input here. The deadline for submission of written testimony and to request the opportunity to present oral testimony is no later than the close of business Sept. 14. Individuals may contact Professor Josephine Gittler, member of the Task Force Steering Committee and co-coordinator via email at

Home hosts sought for Kosovo delegation

The Iowa Sister States organization is asking for volunteers to host members of a delegation from Kosovo in their homes while the delegation is in Iowa from Oct. 1 through Oct. 8. The delegation consists of five members of Parliament, two interpreters and the delegation’s facilitator.

Home hosts must be willing to open their homes to one of the delegates and to provide each with his or her own room. Iowa Sister States will be responsible for the delegates during the weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The main expectation of the home hosts is to be welcoming and to help show the delegates around Iowa during nights and weekends.

During their visit to Iowa, the delegates will be meeting with Iowa legislators, government officials, local business leaders and public interest organizations. The delegation’s meetings will cover such areas as the legislative and administrative processes, judicial processes, financing and delivery of government services, elections, transparency, media relations and community development. The mission is to develop and implement international partnerships and programs that promote cultural, economic and other interests of the State of Iowa and its citizens through volunteer, public and private action.

If you have any questions about Iowa Sister States or are interested in being a home host, please contact Kassi Wheeler at or 515-725-3163.

Criminal Justice Summit set for Oct. 1 at UNI

A daylong bipartisan summit on criminal justice at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Oct. 1 will address disparities in justice for minorities and others, such as the mentally ill and the homeless.

Eight speakers, including Iowa Representative Helen Miller; Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Koch Industries, Mark Holden, and CNN political contributor Van Jones will address the various issues with a twofold purpose of creating awareness of the issue among all Iowans, and serving as a call and guide to action for the legislature, the executive branch, the judiciary and community stakeholders, according to Representative Miller, who has organized the summit with the assistance of advisory and planning committees.

The ISBA’s Administrative Committee approved a grant of $2,500 to support the summit.

More details about the summit, which will be held in UNI’s Maucker Union, are available on the Iowa Criminal Justice Summit website. Click here to register.


Pitt vs. Iowa football game tickets available

A limited number of excellent tickets for the Pittsburgh vs. Iowa football game at Kinnick Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 19, at 7:00 p.m. are available at a group rate of $60.00 per person. Tickets are for section 125, rows 69 and 70. To view the section, click here. Attendees are welcome to visit the University of Iowa College of Law for refreshments prior to the game. Individuals interested in attending, please contact no later than noon, Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Legislative Services Agency letter discusses poverty grants

The Legislative Services Agency’s Fiscal Topics August newsletter provides a good historical background on poverty grants. By law, the Iowa Attorney General’s Office must contract with a nonprofit corporation to provide legal counsel to indigent people in civil matters. In Iowa, that organization is Iowa Legal Aid.

The newsletter traces the formation of Iowa Legal Aid from the merger of The Legal Aid Society of Polk County and the Legal Services Corporation of Iowa in Fiscal Year 2003. It then describes the areas served by the organization, and the types of clients served. For example, about 70 percent of the primary clients are women, and more than 23 percent are older Iowans.

Read the entire newsletter.

Several job opportunities available in state government

Openings for attorneys have recently become available in state government. The Supreme Court’s Office of Professional Regulation is seeking contract attorneys to provide ethics counsel for the Attorney Disciplinary Board. The Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals is seeking an attorney to serve as general counsel for the department.

Attorney Disciplinary Board
Lawyers engaged by the board as contract attorneys must be active Iowa lawyers in good standing with at least five years of trial and appellate experience. They will prosecute individually-assigned ethics cases before the Grievance Commission and the Supreme Court with compensation at a rate of $100 per hour. Residency in the Des Moines area is not required.

Interested attorneys should send a resume and email message to Charles Harrington at, or mail a résumé and letter of interest to Charles Harrington, Assistant Director for Attorney Discipline, Judicial Branch Building, 1111 E. Court Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50319.

Inspection and Appeals (deadline Sept. 20)
Applicants must have graduated from an accredited law school and have the equivalent of five years of full-time successful and responsible experience in the practice of law, or the equivalent of three years of full-time experience in the practice of law in the employing agency. The attorney hired will provide legal counsel to the department and to its divisions and attached units. He or she will also advise on employment issues.

To apply, email a cover letter and résumé to Betty Tschetter, Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals at, or fax them to 515-242-6863 no later than Sept. 20.

U.S. Department of Labor seeks trial attorney

The U.S. Department of Labor Office of the Solicitor in Kansas City, Mo., is seeking a trial attorney with at least two years of litigation experience for the Kansas City branch of the Chicago Regional Solicitor’s Office.

Applicants must have a strong academic and writing background, be a U.S. citizen and a member of a bar. Experience in employment and labor law preferred. Foreign language fluency is considered an asset.

The successful applicant would handle and litigate cases arising out of various foreign worker programs, including the H-1B, H-2A and H-2B programs, as well as select cases under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The position is full time, but is limited to 54 weeks. There is no guarantee of permanent employment with the Office of the Solicitor.

To apply, send a cover letter with résumé and writing sample to: Nancy Curtis, Office of the Regional Solicitor, U.S. Department of Labor, 2300 Main Street, Two Pershing Square, Suite 1020, Kansas City, MO 64108. Deadline for receiving applications is Sept. 15.


In Other News ...

Branstad names Iowa justice policy reform panel
Minority leaders in Iowa left a daylong summit on racial disparity issues Friday with newfound hope that Gov. Terry Branstad and other state officials will take steps to remove inequalities within Iowa’s criminal justice system and curb bad law enforcement tactics. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds joined more than 200 people from minority, social-justice and faith-based groups, academia, law enforcement agencies and all three branches of state government for a wide-ranging discussion of racial profiling, so-called "ban the box” fair-chance employment, the "school to prison pipeline,” personal responsibility, implicit bias and Iowa’s No. 1 ranking nationally for incarcerating African Americans on a per capita basis.
The Cedar Rapids Gazette

Local lawyer joins task force on guardianship and conservatorships
It’s a problem that has gotten the attention of the Iowa Supreme Court. A shortage of guardians and conservators has forced the court to create a task force to find a solution to the problem. The court started the group, Iowa Guardianship and Conservatorship Reform Task Force back in January, and just last week appointed 53 members to serve. Iowa has over 22,000 open conservator and guardianship cases, and a lack of people to fill those roles. That number is also expected to grow in the coming years.

Once a pariah, now a judge: the early transgender journey of Phyllis Frye
Nearly four decades before Caitlyn Jenner introduced herself to the world, Phyllis Randolph Frye came out as a transgender woman in a far less glamorous way. No Diane Sawyer, no Vanity Fair. It was the summer of 1976. As Bruce Jenner, 26, was celebrating his decathlon victory at the Montreal Olympics, Phillip Frye, 28, was admitting defeat in suppressing his gender identity. He, becoming she, had already lost a lot: He had been forced to resign from the military for "sexual deviation.” He had been disowned by his parents, divorced by his first wife and separated from his son. He had been dismissed from several engineering jobs.
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 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.



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