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    September 14, 2016
Past Issues  

ISBA-endorsed health insurer offers help on renewal rate increases

Reynolds and Reynolds, ISBA’s endorsed health insurance broker, is asking members who are facing significant rate increases in their upcoming health insurance renewals to contact Reynolds and Reynolds.

"There are numerous ways we can help ISBA members fight the rising cost of health care,” says Dave Fini, senior vice president/partner of the firm.

Fini urges members, whether as individuals or groups of any size, to call Kristi Rullestad at 515-557-1251, or him at 515-557-1252. Outside of central Iowa, please call toll free 855-870-4261.


2016 Judicial Performance Review results published

The Iowa State Bar Association released the results of its biennial survey of judges standing for retention in this year’s general election at a news conference in Des Moines, Iowa, on Monday. The conference was led by members of the ISBA Fair and Impartial Courts Committee chaired by ISBA Past President Guy Cook, and was held at the ISBA headquarters.

In the survey, attorneys evaluated the 59 district court judges, four court of appeals judges and three supreme court justices based on 12 performance characteristics (10 for members of the appellate courts). A total of 1,495 attorneys responded to this year’s survey.

The full results of the judicial performance review, including biographies of each judge or justice, are available now on the ISBA website: www.judicialfacts.org.


New cases added to Iowa Jury Verdict Reporter

Eight new cases have been added in the last two weeks to the Iowa Jury Verdict Reporter published by the Litigation Section of the ISBA Young Lawyers Division.

Available on the ISBA website, the Jury Verdict Reporter contains a collection of Iowa civil jury verdicts dating back to June 2014. It can be searched for cases specific to a certain subject matter, venue or attorney. Each case reported provides brief information about the case facts, description of the verdicts and the actual special verdict form.

Access the Jury Verdict Reporter directly at this link, or go to the ISBA website homepage (www.iowabar.org) and click on the blue tab labeled "Jury Verdict Reporter” on the right side.



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Probono.net/iowa offers resources on legal issues for young attorneys

Young attorneys in need of Iowa-specific legal resources should consider signing up for Probono.net/iowa, which provides access to Iowa Legal Aid’s Volunteer Lawyers Project's Practice Resources. That suggestion comes from leaders of the ISBA’s Young Lawyers Division who discovered in their contacts with the nearly 1,800 YLD members that one of the key needs is for Iowa-specific legal resources.

Joining probono.net/iowa, which was created in 2006, gives members full access to more than 40 different substantive legal topics, including family law, consumer protection, public benefits and tax. The online resources were developed to assist attorneys who are helping meet the civil legal needs of low-income Iowans. Becoming a member of the site allows the individual access to the resource material in the civil law library. While the need exists for volunteers, there is no obligation to accept case referrals, and individuals who sign up will not be contacted about potential case referrals.

To join the site, click here, then click on "Civil Law” in the upper left corner and "Join this Area.” Complete the simple registration process. Confirmation of your membership will be emailed shortly thereafter.  Once you have joined the site, you can access the resources at https://www.probono.net/iowa/civillaw/library.


IRS warns of new wave of attacks focused on tax professionals

The Internal Revenue Service is warning tax professionals of a new wave of attacks that allow identity thieves to file fraudulent tax returns by remotely taking over practitioners’ computers. The IRS is aware of approximately two dozen cases where tax professionals have been victimized in recent days. The attacks come as the Oct. 17 deadline approaches for extension filers.

As part of its Security Summit effort, the IRS urges tax professionals to review their tax preparation software settings and immediately enact all security measures, especially those settings that require usernames and passwords to access the products. Thieves are able to access tax professionals’ computers and use remote technology to take control, accessing client data and completing and e-filing tax returns but directing refunds to their own accounts.

In addition to activating security measures for tax software products, the IRS urges all tax preparers to take several additional steps listed in this Sept. 2 news release.


Labor and Employment Law seminar coming soon

"Identity theft and the employment arrangement,” and "How to get the deal done: Tips and Wisdom from Employment Law Mediators” are two of the many topics on tap for the 2016 Labor and Employment Law seminar scheduled for Friday, Oct. 14. The seminar, which offers seven state hours of CLE credit, including one hour of ethics and 6.5 hours of federal credit, will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Johnston, Iowa.

A law practice management topic, "What you didn’t learn in law school: How to effectively manage a law practice,” will be presented near the end of the day by a panel of three veteran Iowa attorneys – Thomas Duff, Deborah Tharnish and Mark Zaiger.

Click here to see the full list of topics and speakers, and to register. A printable registration form also is available through a link on the webpage.


Supreme Court grants/denies further review in 68 cases

The Iowa Supreme Court recently issued orders granting applications for further review on four cases and denying applications for further review in 64 cases. An additional 22 cases are under consideration by the court.

Click here to see the complete list of cases.




SUPREME COURT OPINIONS
September 9

No. 16-0111
IOWA SUPREME COURT ATTORNEY DISCIPLINARY BOARD vs. SHEREE L. SMITH
The grievance commission reports an attorney violated several rules of professional conduct and recommends a suspension. LICENSE SUSPENDED.

No. 16-0131
IOWA SUPREME COURT ATTORNEY DISCIPLINARY BOARD vs. KENNETH J. WEILAND JR.
The grievance commission reports an attorney committed ethical misconduct and recommends a thirty-day suspension. LICENSE SUSPENDED.



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In Other News ...

What do falling bar-passage rates mean for legal education -- and the future of the legal profession?
David Frakt is a lawyer, a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserve and a former law professor who has studied the relationship between LSAT scores, undergraduate grades, law school performance and bar passage rates. But he may be better known as the candidate for dean of the Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville (which had a July 2015 first-time bar pass rate of 59.3 percent) who was asked to leave the campus in the middle of his presentation to faculty and staff. He had dared to suggest that the school was risking its accreditation by admitting too many students with little or no chance of ever becoming lawyers.

ABAJournal

Lawyer describes the emotional toll of calculating victims' compensation
In the months after September 11, the human toll of the terrorist attacks began to be fully realized. Congress created the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund to compensate surviving victims and families still reeling from loss, while convincing them to forego lawsuits. And it fell to attorney Kenneth Feinberg to figure out the monetary value of victims - from busboys at the Windows on the World restaurant to Wall Street traders.

Iowa Public Radio