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January 14, 2015
Past Issues

Legendary Altoona lawyer Ed Skinner dies

Long-time attorney, Democratic party insider, philanthropist and strong supporter of Iowa LawPAC died Monday evening, Jan. 12. He leaves behind a legacy in the legal profession. Son, Brad, daughter, Geri Huser, and granddaughter, Kelli Huser, all followed in his footsteps as Iowa lawyers.

Never one to mince words, the former lawyer-legislator said in a recent Iowa Lawyer magazine article (December 2014, Page 38) of Iowa LawPAC and its role in developing the laws governing the state that "There isn’t an attorney in this state who doesn’t have an obligation to give back to the state. We’ve been given a privilege, and we owe it back to our citizens to fulfill that privilege.”

In addition to his dedication to the ISBA and its PAC, the patriarch of Skinner Law Office in Altoona served as city attorney for Altoona for 20 years and was the current city attorney for Pleasant Hill and Runnells, the latter for 50 years. He also was heavily involved in the development of Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Altoona, and was instrumental in developing a scholarship fund for Southeast Polk High School students and a scholarship for Southeast Polk graduates who attend Drake University Law School.

Rural Practice Committee’s meet and greet considered a success

Despite frigid temperatures and poor road conditions in many parts of the state, 17 lawyers and 21 students traveled to ISBA headquarters in Des Moines last Friday, Jan. 9, to participate in the Rural Practice Committee’s first meet and greet event.

Lawyers and students at a reception following the two-hour session pronounced it a success. One of the participating lawyers said in an email the following Monday that she had already been contacted by four students with whom she had met. She described the opportunity to meet with students a "smashing success".

During the 2-4 p.m. meet and greet session, students spent six minutes visiting with a lawyer, then moved to the next lawyer. The purpose was to enable each student to meet every lawyer and each lawyer to meet every student, with the goal that lawyers and students would find a mutual interest that they could pursue in follow-up emails, phone calls and personal visits. Some of the lawyers are looking to hire full-time associates; others are interested in hiring clerks for the summer. Students shared the same desires.

Lawyers who would like to hire a full-time associate or a summer clerk but weren’t able to attend the Friday event, can still participate. Simply send a message indicating your interest in hiring to committee co-chair Phil Garland, or co-chair Amy Skogerson. Garland’s email address is Skogerson’s email address is The two will provide the information needed to become involved.

More information about the Rural Practice Committee’s program to attract new attorneys to rural areas can be found on the ISBA website here.

YLD Mentor Program still in need of mentors

The ISBA Mentor Program developed by the Young Lawyers Division is in search of seasoned attorneys interested in becoming mentors to younger attorneys for the 2015-2016 mentorship year.

"We are anticipating a large number of mentees in the program's inaugural year, so we are encouraging our more experienced members to sign up to mentor the future leaders of the Iowa Bar," said Leslie Behaunek, the YLD publicity chair. "We have a need for attorneys in all types of practice: private firms, government attorneys, ALJ's, judges, in-house counsel, lobbyists, etc. Our young attorneys are doing all of these things, or hope to one day, so we need mentors to assist in all areas.”

Applications will be accepted through Feb. 15. Mentors and mentees will be matched with the year-long program set to begin March 15. Download the mentor or mentee applications online.

Once accepted into the program as a mentor or mentee, attorneys will receive additional materials regarding the program which includes a mentor guide, information on mentor training, and a mentor/mentee match. The program commitments are minimal: six hours of contact over the year between mentor and mentee (ideally in-person) with no formal curriculum, although a suggested list of topics and issues is provided.

Who can apply? ISBA members who have been licensed for fewer than five years in the state of Iowa are eligible to be a mentee. To serve as a mentor, attorneys must have been licensed for five years or more in Iowa, have a clean disciplinary record, and carry malpractice insurance (if required). The YLD Mentoring Committee anticipates a high number of mentee applications, and are asking those who are eligible to serve as a mentor to consider joining the program.

More information about the program is available in the December Iowa Lawyer magazine (Pages 8-11). For questions regarding the mentoring program, contact the YLD Mentoring Committee at


IowaDocs updates

The Iowa State Bar Association renewed its publishing agreement with Hotdocs, Inc., in order to continue to provide members with IowaDocs® services. The new agreement not only allows the ISBA to distribute IowaDocs® on CDs as in the past but now via the cloud using HotDocs Market.

Access to IowaDocs® through HotDocs Market began Jan. 7, and all future IowaDocs® renewals will be completed by using HotDocs Market. If members have an invoice for renewal from the ISBA, they can disregard the invoice and use the HotDocs Market for renewal, effective immediately. If members have already renewed subscriptions for 2015, an account will be established over the next several days. Those members will receive a notification once their accounts have been established.

Benefits of accessing IowaDocs® on HotDocs Market:

• No software to install annually

• Can be accessed from any computer or mobile device with current web browser

• No need to worry about template updates or using the current form

• Updates are made by the ISBA and are immediately available for all users

• Sessions (Answer files) are saved in HotDocs Market or can be downloaded

The subscription process is easy: users can simply visit and register with the email used for their Iowa Bar membership, choose the appropriate license based on the attorneys in the firm and then subscribe to IowaDocs® using a credit card. Once the 2015 subscription is processed, members can start using IowaDocs® content on the web as well as desktop versions. Members will also be able to download the 2015 version of IowaDocs® from the Market when available. The 2015 version should be available Feb. 1.

In cooperation with HotDocs, the ISBA will offer weekly webinars for Iowa Bar members to learn how to subscribe to and use IowaDocs® on HotDocs Market. Those webinars began Jan. 8. Click here to participate in these webinars or to obtain additional information about IowaDocs® and the HotDocs Market.

Members will be able to continue using IowaDocs® on their desktops or servers as long as their subscription is current. The only changes are how renewals are paid and how the program will be delivered. You will renew using HotDocs Market and download the software for installation.

For questions regarding the new updates, please contact the ISBA IowaDocs® Support at or 866-597-6040.

ISBA underwrites IowaWatch Connection

Starting at the beginning of the year, radio listeners may have heard short sponsorship clips from The Iowa State Bar Association. The ISBA Public Relations Committee recently began sponsorship of the IowaWatch Connection, a state-wide, weekly radio program with a broadcast range covering nearly all of Iowa.

The public affairs program is hosted by ISBA member Jeff Stein who records the weekly public affairs program each week and distributes it to around 20 radio stations throughout Iowa. The program airs at various times on or around the weekend, depending on the station, and covers a variety of subjects.

The ISBA sponsorship is currently set for six months, but the Public Relations Committee hopes to extend that to a full year if they can gather the needed funding. The committee provides short sponsorship clips which include mentions of the Iowa Find-A-Lawyer Program and other ISBA resources in place to help Iowans.

To find out more about the program, visit the IowaWatch Connection website where you can find participating stations, previous and upcoming shows and more.

Questions about the ISBA’s sponsorship of the program can be directed to Ashlee Lolkus, the ISBA communications director at or 515-697-7896.

Tribute to Art Neu

A Des Moines weekly newspaper recently published an extensive tribute to long-time ISBA member and supporter Arthur Neu, who died Jan. 2 from complications of pneumonia.

The headline in the Des Moines Cityview article called Neu "A forceful Iowa icon.” It quoted a number of long-time friends and associates who remembered him and his works fondly, including former Governor Robert Ray, under whom Neu served as lieutenant governor from 1973-1979, and Governor Terry Branstad who succeeded Neu as lieutenant governor.

The article was written by Douglas Burns, a fourth-generation newspaperman in Carroll, the community where Neu lived and where he served as mayor from 1982-1985. Click here to read the full tribute.

Last week’s Iowa Lawyer Weekly also contained an article about Neu’s legacy. It can be found here.

In Other News...

What it means when law firms and startups give away legal documents
Over the past five years, law firms in Silicon Valley, New York and Boston have put online – for free – the documents that startups need to execute basic legal transactions. New sites, Cooley GO and WHLaunch, join first-movers Founders’ Workbench and Start-Up Forms Library, to enable entrepreneurs to incorporate their company, secure early-stage financing, hire employees and compensate them with stock options. has emerged as an industry standard for documenting seed investments, and offers answers to over 100 frequently asked questions, along with a term-sheet generator.

Iowa Supreme Court sets IJH hearing date
The Iowa Supreme Court has set the date to hear oral arguments in the case regarding the future and fate of the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo. The justices will hold an evening session at 7 p.m. Feb. 24 in Des Moines to hear the case brought more than a year ago by the public employees union and four state lawmakers against Gov. Terry Branstad over his handling of the closure of the juvenile facility.
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier

Free married couples from medieval shackles
Imagine an Iowa married couple sitting down with an attorney and asking, "We'd like you to prepare an agreement to ensure that our property goes where we want it to go after our deaths." The attorney's response in Iowa will be: "I'm sorry, but Iowa law does not allow you to do that. You could have made an agreement before your marriage, but now that you are married, you can't." Read Past Probate & Trust Law Section Chair Mike Nelson's thoughtful guest column published in the Des Moines Register urging the legislature to recognize post marital agreements.
The Des Moines Register

The Register's Editorial: Crack open highest court with cameras
In his year-end report on the judiciary, John Roberts, the chief justice of the United States, talked about how technology affects the federal courts. He described the court's progress from sending decisions by pneumatic tubes to posting electronic files on the Internet. One not-so-modern technology the chief justice did not mention: Photography. The absence of discussion of cameras in the Supreme Court was the proverbial elephant in the report. The Supreme Court is bound by its traditions: Spittoons remain in the courtroom, while cameras are kept out.
The Des Moines Register

Phone Data Collection by United States Reauthorized
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court reauthorized the federal government's bulk collection of telephone metadata last month, according to a declassified order made public by the director of National Intelligence on Monday. The order, signed on Dec. 4 by FISC Judge Raymond Dearie, found "reasonable grounds to believe that the tangible things sought are relevant to authorized investigations (other than threat assessments) being conducted by the FBI to protect against international terrorism."
Courthouse News Service


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.


January 9, 2015

No. 13–0417
MAXINE GAIL VEATCH vs. CITY OF WAVERLY and JASON LEONARD, individually and in his official capacity
On review from the Iowa Court of Appeals.
Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Bremer County, DeDra Schroeder, Judge.
The City of Waverly seeks further review of a court of appeals decision reinstating a plaintiff’s false imprisonment claim against the City and one of its police detectives. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS VACATED; DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT AFFIRMED.

No. 13–0702
Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Christopher L. McDonald, Judge.
Inmate appeals rescission by the district court of prior order increasing restitution payments deducted from his prison earnings. REVERSED.

No. 13–1106
Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, James D. Birkenholz, Judge.
Appellant challenges the rulings by the district court to deny her motions to suppress. AFFIRMED.

No. 13–1113
On review from the Iowa Court of Appeals.
Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, James D. Scott, Judge.
Defendant seeks further review of a court of appeals decision affirming her conviction and holding the offense of possession of a controlled substance does not merge with the offense of introduction of a controlled substance into a detention facility. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS AFFIRMED; DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, AND REMANDED.




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