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    March 23, 2016
Past Issues  

Supreme Court requests comments on amendments regarding exempt license classification

The Iowa Supreme Court on Monday issued an order asking for public comment on proposed amendments to provisions in Division III of the court rules that would divide the existing exempt license classification into two separate classifications. A new retired license classification would be created for fully retired attorneys. The exempt license classification would remain for attorneys who are inactive in Iowa but want to retain the ability to reinstate to active status.


Under the proposed amendments, attorneys in the exempt classification would be required to file an annual report and pay an annual exemption fee of $50, as well as any late filing penalties. Those who are fully retired would not need to file a report or pay fees.


"Iowa is one of the few states that does not maintain contact with attorneys in inactive status and collect an annual fee from them,” according to a memo from Paul Wieck II, director of the supreme court’s Office of Professional Regulation. The proposed amendments would "facilitate tracking inactive attorneys through annual reports.”


Anyone wishing to comment on the proposed amendments can do so in person, by email or by mail through the U.S. Postal System. Instructions for submitting comments can be found at the bottom of the order. The deadline for submitting comments is 4:30 p.m., May 20.

Registration open for ISBA annual meeting

Registration is now open for the ISBA's 2016 Annual Meeting scheduled for June 13-15 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa.  Members and staff alike are ramping up to make this year’s annual meeting a valuable event for Iowa’s legal professionals. 


More than 1,000 people are expected to attend this year’s event which has three full days of CLE and socializing. The meeting will be held in conjunction with the Iowa Judges Association and the Iowa Court Reporters Association. Annual Meeting Committee members designed the conference to allow lawyers, judges and court reporters to tailor the conference to meet their educational needs. Participants can attend all three days or just a single day.  


Law students can attend the annual meeting at no charge, and special rates are offered to YLD members who have been practicing from one-to-five years. The annual meeting is a great place to network and make new connections. The Annual Meeting Committee has planned a number of social events including the Joint Presidents’ Reception and the YLD Luau. Both events are complimentary to annual meeting attendees.             


Participants may register for the event on the ISBA website. Look for the complete agenda for the annual meeting in the May issue of the Iowa Lawyer Magazine and in future weekly newsletters.

Drake Law School hosts Supreme Court Celebration Banquet and Awards Ceremony

Drake University Law School is holding its 79th Annual Supreme Court Celebration Banquet and Awards Ceremony April 2 at the Olmsted Center, Parents Hall, on the Drake University campus in Des Moines, Iowa.


At the banquet, Drake University Law School award recipients will be honored, as well as the Drake University Law School Alumni of the Year. The keynote speaker is Paulette Brown, the president of the American Bar Association.


The reception begins at 6 p.m. and the dinner at 7 p.m. Guests are asked to register online. Cost is $50 per person. More information about the Supreme Court Celebration can be found on the Drake University Alumni page.  Those with questions regarding the event may contact Kayla Choate at or 515-271-4958.


Last call for high school mock trial state tournament judges

Judges are still needed to provide significant learning experiences for the 34 high school mock trial teams, their coaches and parents who will descend on Des Moines, Iowa, Monday of next week for the 34th Annual High School Mock Trial State Tournament.


Attorneys and judges provide the best learning experiences for the students because of their knowledge of the law, says John Wheeler, director of the ISBA’s Law and Civic Education Center, which organizes the mock trial tournaments sponsored by the Young Lawyers Division. The students really appreciate knowing they are being evaluated by individuals who are steeped in the law.


This year’s tournament takes place at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, with trial rounds scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, March 28, and 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29. You do not have to be a trial attorney in order to participate as a mock trial judge. Judges are asked to assess student performances as they take on the roles of attorneys and witnesses in this year's criminal case of State of Iowa v. Robin Wayne. Last year, more than 600 members of the bar assisted as judges and coaches in tournaments held throughout Iowa.


Volunteers can sign up to be a judge at the upcoming state tournament on the ISBA website or email Wheeler directly at

Reminder: Seeking nominations for Rolland Grefe Pro Bono Publico Award

Nomination deadline for this year’s Rolland E. Grefe Pro Bono Publico Award recipient is quickly approaching. March 31 is the last day to provide nominations to the ISBA Public Service Project.  


The annually-presented award is given to an attorney who has enhanced the human dignity of others by improving or delivering pro bono legal services to those who are unable to afford a lawyer.  Any member of the ISBA is eligible for nomination. The Iowa Rule of Professional Conduct 32:6.1 lays out the aspirational expectation for every attorney in Iowa, and this award recipient should exemplify that rule.  


Send nominations along with a brief description before March 31 to Brett Toresdahl at

Supreme Court travels to Clinton for oral arguments

The Iowa Supreme Court justices will travel to Clinton, Iowa, on Thursday, April 14, to hear oral arguments in the case of State of Iowa v. Mar’yo Lindsey, Jr. The arguments will take place in the Clinton High School Auditorium, 817 8th Avenue South beginning at 7 p.m. A reception sponsored by the Clinton County Bar Association will follow in the Clinton High School commons.


In the case, the defendant seeks further review from the supreme court after the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction for possession of a firearm as a felon, carrying weapons on school grounds, going armed with a dangerous weapon and possession of a controlled substance. The defendant argues that school officials conducted an unreasonable search and seizure of his school-issued football equipment bag after he was injured in a high school football game.


Attorneys’ briefs for the case, the court of appeals decision and a guide to oral arguments are available on the Iowa courts website

Supreme Court Opinions
March 18

No. 14–1605 
Nonprofit reinsurance association seeks further review of a court of appeals decision affirming a district court judgment that association lacked capacity to sue members for unpaid assessments. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS VACATED; DISTRICT COURT ORDER REVERSED; CASE REMANDED.


No. 14–1649 
Former county employees appeal a district court judgment finding no violation of the open meetings law found in Iowa Code chapter 21. REVERSED AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.


No. 14–1918 
GERALD P. YOUNG, MICHAEL L. HAIGH, and SUZANNE M. RUNYON, Individually and on Behalf of Others Similarly Situated vs. HEALTHPORT TECHNOLOGIES, INC.
A company that fulfills records requests received by healthcare providers appeals a district court order denying its motion to dismiss. AFFIRMED AND CASE REMANDED.


The Iowa Supreme Court recently issued orders denying applications for further review in 16 cases.


In Other News ...

High dropout rates may result in loss of accreditation  

When a law school loses 20 percent or more of their first-year law students, they may now lose their accreditation as well. The American Bar Association’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar are discussing the new punishment for schools with attrition rates of one-fifth or more of their first-year class. The proposal would require schools to prove that they are meeting existing admissions standards. Last year there were 15 law schools that reached the 20 percent maximum. The average is around 7 percent.

JD Journal


Full-time female lawyers earn 77 percent of male lawyer pay

Median pay for full-time female lawyers was 77.4 percent of the pay earned by their male counterparts, according to data for 2014 released earlier this month by the U.S. Census Bureau. In all law-related jobs, median pay for female workers in 2014 was 51.6 percent of the pay received by male workers, according to the data.

ABA Journal


Adam Foss: A prosecutor's vision for a better justice system

When a kid commits a crime, the US justice system has a choice: prosecute to the full extent of the law, or take a step back and ask if saddling young people with criminal records is the right thing to do every time. In this searching talk, Adam Foss, a prosecutor with the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office in Boston, makes his case for a reformed justice system that replaces wrath with opportunity, changing people's lives for the better instead of ruining them.

Ted Talks

Volunteers needed in the D.M. area
Iowa Legal Aid is seeking volunteer intake assistants to work their Hotline for Older Iowans. The organization provides free legal education, advice and representation to low-income and elderly Iowans with civil legal problems that affect poor and vulnerable populations. To apply, complete the online form at

Des Moines Register


DOL's white collar overtime rule advances

Despite significant concern from some lawmakers and the business community, the Department of Labor sent its final rule revising white collar overtime exemption regulations to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on Monday. OMB review is the last step in the regulatory process before publication in the Federal Register. The average review period typically lasts four to six weeks, which could mean the final rule will be published this spring, as opposed to around Labor Day, the target date many Hill watchers had assumed.

JD Supra


Iowa Supreme Court ruling toughens open meetings law

A recent Iowa Supreme Court ruling is expected to toughen the state's open meetings law, finding a county administrator should be counted the same as an elected official in determining whether a majority of board members were present at private meetings since she was acting as an "agent" for other board members not in attendance. Many public bodies – including the Bettendorf and Davenport City Councils – have in the past intentionally held less-than-majority meetings to circumvent the state's open meeting law and avoid 24-hour public notice and public inclusion in the sessions. 


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.


March 22




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

  • Christopher L. Solfa, Cunningham Meyer & Vedrine, Warrenville, IL

  • Lisa M. Scalf, Lucie, Scalf & Bougher, Macomb, 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.


The ISBA Career Center helps bring attorneys and employers together. Whether you have a legal position you need to fill or you’re looking for a career in the legal industry, you’re in the right place! Listings are available for a fee for ISBA members. Job seekers may search the listed jobs and post their resumés on the site for free.

Visit the Career Center for more information.

See more ISBA member benefits here


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