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    January 13, 2016
Past Issues   

ISBA Leadership meets with governor, state legislative leaders

This morning, ISBA Leadership met with Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds and legal counsel to the governor, Larry Johnson, in the governor’s office at the Iowa State Capitol to discuss six ISBA legislative priorities.


  • Indigent defense funding – Adequate compensation for court-appointed counsel is necessary in order to ensure that the state meets its constitutional obligation to provide competent assistance of counsel to indigent persons accused of crimes. The ISBA supports a $5.00 per hour increase in the court- appointed counsel contract rate and further supports cost-of-living adjustments in the hourly rate for such compensation.
  • Probate court costs – Under current law, joint tenancy property, transfers made during a person’s lifetime and assets payable to beneficiaries are not excluded from the value of personal property and real estate used to calculate the court costs despite the fact that the clerk’s office does not "perform services” regarding these assets. The ISBA supports the Calculation of Probate Court Costs bill, SF 376/HSB 37, which excludes property over which the court lacks probate jurisdiction and for which the clerk renders no services from the determination of court costs.
  • Courthouse facilities funding – Under state law, county governments are financially responsible to provide physical structures for the court system but the state is responsible for the furnishings and technological equipment therein. The ISBA supports full funding of the Iowa Judicial Branch’s budget request for equipment needs in accordance with Iowa Code sections 602.1302 and 602.11101, including one-time funding for furnishings and technological equipment for the recently renovated Polk County Courthouse.
  • Judicial branch funding – The Iowa Judicial Branch budget request for FY2017 includes $179 million plus $5.6 million. This amount would only provide enough funding for the Iowa Judicial Branch to maintain the current level of services that it provides. The ISBA supports full funding for the Iowa Judicial Branch budget request.
  • Judicial residency – Legislative proposal HF260 allows a judicial applicant from any area of Iowa to apply for an open judgeship anywhere in the state. The ISBA opposes HF 260 and statewide appointment of district court judges.
  • Iowa Legal Aid funding – Iowa Legal Aid provides essential legal services throughout the state to low-income Iowans with critical legal needs. The most recent census data indicates that 493,721 Iowans meet Iowa Legal Aid’s income eligibility guidelines. The ISBA supports state funding for ILA through continued support of the Legal Services Grants Program, and from other available state sources, in the amount of $2.9 million.

Those advocating for the ISBA’s position on crucial issues for the legislative session included,

ISBA President Bruce Walker, President-elect Skip Kenyon, Vice-president Steve Eckley and Executive Director Dwight Dinkla along with ISBA Assistant Legislative Counsel Doug Struyk.


Read more about the ISBA’s 2016 Affirmative Legislative Program in the Jan./Feb. issue of The Iowa Lawyer Magazine and upcoming ISBA publications. To keep apprised of developments in the ISBA’s 2016 Affirmative Legislative Program, visit the ISBA Legislative Program webpage. To learn about ways to help further key legislation, contact your Board of Governors District representative. To find your BOG district representative, click here.

Photo Caption: ISBA Leadership meets with Speaker of the House Linda Upmeyer and House Majority Leader Chris Hagenow.

ISBA launches new career center, offers 20% discount on jobs listings

The ISBA launched its new career center last week. As a way to celebrate, the ISBA is offering a 20 percent discount to any employer who posts a job to the new site from now until the end of February.


On the new site, employers may choose from 30, 60 or 90-day job postings. Rates for the posts vary: ISBA members and non-members receive different rates, and attorney positions differ from support staff positions. A chart of products and rates is available here.


Employers can strengthen their job post by adding enhancement features at an additional cost. Featured job listings, digital job video presentations and special employer branding are just a few of the enhancements offered. And, posting a job to the ISBA career center will still get employers’ job listings posted in the Iowa Lawyer Magazine and in this Iowa Lawyer Weekly eNewsletter. See the products and rates page for more details.


In addition, employers can choose to participate in the Legal Job Exchange Network, a strategic industry alliance of associations in the legal profession. A number of legal associations have networked their job boards together to offer a broader audience of candidates. If employers choose to post a job onto the Legal Job Exchange Network, the job post will not only appear on the ISBA career center, but it will be distributed to the job boards of the partner sites as well.


For those interested in posting a job, the 20 percent discount may be applied to any 30-day job posting or enhancement by entering the promotional code LAUNCH2016 when checking out. The code is only valid through the end of February 2016. To post a job, employers must first register for an account at The career center is a self-service platform, but any questions or concerns can be sent to Zach Zuber at 515-697-7864 or


Five students headed to D.C. as winners of 2016 Know Your Constitution contest

Approximately 85 students and teachers from high schools around the state took part in a luncheon last Friday at the West Des Moines Marriott in West Des Moines honoring the students for being finalists in the 2016 Know Your Constitution program. Five of those finalists, selected in a random drawing, will spend the week of Feb. 14-19 in Washington, D.C., learning more about government through a program sponsored by the Close-up Foundation.


More than 900 students representing Iowa’s state legislative districts successfully completed the multiple choice and essay questions on the U.S. Constitution that were part of this year’s contest. From the 900, the top 100 were selected to attend last Friday's luncheon. The annual contest is sponsored by the Young Lawyers Division of The Iowa State Bar Association.


Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins was the keynote speaker at the luncheon. After briefly discussing the different roles of the three branches of U.S. government, he focused on the judiciary’s role as referee to ensure that no one can violate an individual’s rights guaranteed by the constitution.


Although the Know Your Constitution program focuses on the U.S. Constitution, Justice Wiggins urged the students to check Iowa’s Constitution as well. State constitutions often provide more protections than the U.S. Constitution, he said.


Photo Caption: Four of the five students and their teachers who are headed to Washington, D.C. as part of the YLD Know Your Constitution program stand with committee co-chairs Sam Langholz (far left) and Bob Gainer (far right) and Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins (second from left). Teachers and their students are (from left) John Drake and Danielle McComas, Lewis Central High School; Mandie Reynolds and Lindsey White, Riverside High School; Roland Schmidt and Ben Wetzeler, Spirit Lake High School; and Sarah Carlson and Jenis Jusufovic, Peet Jr. High School, Cedar Falls. Not pictured are student Lexie Schulz and teacher Bill Shafer from Central Springs High School.

Unbundling continues to earn support, affords greater access

As awareness of the benefits afforded by unbundled legal services is increasing within the profession, bar associations can play an important role in advancing public awareness. The ABA House of Delegates unanimously passed a resolution to support limited-scope representation in 2013. As the 2016 ABA Midyear meeting next month approaches, the ABA Division for Legal Services urges bar associations to consider how they can help pursue even greater support for unbundled legal services.


According to a recent article from the Bar Leader, an electronic newsletter from the ABA for bar association members, bar associations can advance unbundling and thereby expand access to those who may otherwise self-represent by:

  • Providing CLE programs to help lawyers understand the potential of unbundling for both pro se and practice representation;
  • Regularly bringing together practitioners who can share their experiences of providing unbundled legal services with one another;
  • Maintaining a directory of unbundling lawyers and promoting it anywhere those with modest means may be seeking help;
  • Making certain that newly admitted practitioners have a better opportunity to experiment with unbundling and share their experiences.

To support the benefits of greater public awareness that unbundled legal services present in terms of greater access, the article also highlights the findings of a national public survey completed in 2010 that informed the passage of the 2013 ABA resolution. The survey found that while 70 percent of people surveyed said that they were not familiar with the concept of unbundling, two-thirds reported that they would like to discuss the option with an attorney.


To read the full ABA article on unbundling, click here. Look for upcoming articles in the Iowa Lawyer Weekly and the Iowa Lawyer Magazine to learn more about the ISBA’s efforts to advance unbundling in order to expand access to legal services and ways to get involved.


In Other News ...

Chemerinsky: The best, worst and most surprising SCOTUS opinions of 2015

2015 was an amazing year in the United States Supreme Court. As the year comes to a close, I cannot resist the temptation to look back and present my "awards” for what happened in the court this year. In October 2014-15, the liberal justices were in the majority more than any term in recent memory, and likely the most since the end of the Warren Court in 1969. The liberal justices were in the majority in most of the criminal law and criminal procedure decisions, all the First Amendment cases, all the civil rights cases and all of the separation of powers cases. This is reflected in Justice Stephen Breyer having been the justice most often in the majority, in percent of the cases, and tying with Justice Anthony Kennedy for the justice most often in the majority in 5-4 decisions.

ABA Journal


Judge refers questions in Water Works case to Iowa Supreme Court

U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett today asked the Iowa Supreme Court to rule on four key questions in Des Moines Water Works' lawsuit against three northwest Iowa counties regarding nitrate pollution in the Raccoon River. It remains unclear how much, if at all, the action may delay the case, which will remain in the Northern District of Iowa in Sioux City. The trial date, at this point, remains set for Aug. 8.
Business Record

Condition of State: Budget tight, justice reform needed, Branstad says
Gov. Terry Branstad described Iowa as having strong employment and sound fiscal practices, but he cautioned Tuesday that a slumping farm economy has hurt state revenue, forcing a tight state budget… On a key policy matter, Branstad proposed initiatives to address the state’s criminal justice system. These include providing confidentiality for many juvenile delinquency records now public, combating human trafficking and domestic violence, and revising funding for drug and mental health courts.
Iowa City Press-Citizen


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.

Jan. 8

No. 14–0298 


On review from the Iowa Court of Appeals. Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Cerro Gordo County,

Rustin T. Davenport, Judge.

An insurer seeks further review of a court of appeals decision reversing a summary judgment granted by the district court in favor of the insurer. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS VACATED; DISTRICT





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

  • Audrey Anne McGinn, Office of State Public Defender, Special Defense Unit, Des Moines, Iowa

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.


Receive all of your CLE credits by using The Iowa State Bar Association’s affordable CLE Season Pass. It’s the one and only pass that offers hundreds of CLE credits at the best price in town!

For only $550, you can take all the CLE credits you need in a 12 month span. Sign up for the CLE Season Pass and have the opportunity to choose from nearly 300 hours of live CLE.

Click here to get your season pass today.

See more ISBA member benefits here


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