Iowa Lawyer Weekly (01/16/2014)
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January 16, 2014
Past Issues

Blue Ribbon Committee report garners media attention

The recommendations of the ISBA’s Blue Ribbon Committee have spawned an interest by the media and government leaders. President Guy Cook has addressed the proposal on radio talk shows, television newscasts and various print media, including the Wall Street Journal, ABA Journal’s Law News Now, and newspapers across the state.

The recommendations move away from the multi-state bar exam in use for the past five years and adopt the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) that is portable in 14 states. The recommendations also allow students who successfully complete three years of specified law school course work at Drake University Law School or the University of Iowa College of Law to be admitted to the Iowa Bar without being required to take a bar exam.

"While perhaps counterintuitive at first, the Blue Ribbon Committee found the diploma privilege to be a sensible alternative to the bar exam with many positive consequences,” President Cook says. "It reduces student debt, stops the brain drain, and increases access to justice, to name just a few.

"We can and must do better for the next generation of lawyers and citizens of our state,” he adds. 

The bar website has a link to the complete report, talking points about it, an audio clip of President Cook’s interview on WHO Radio with Simon Conway, a law review article entitled "Wisconsin Diploma Privilege: Try It, You’ll Like It” (Wisconsin has had diploma privilege for many years and is currently the only state to offer it), another law review article entitled "Tulsa Law Review: Use of the Diploma Privilege in the United States,” and a video from the Des Moines Register featuring President Cook and Drake University Law School Dean Allan Vestal discussing the proposal.

The proposal has been submitted to the supreme court. The court likely will consider the report at its administrative session next summer.

Another scam targeted at attorneys involves phony court cases that appear to come from federal and state courts

Be aware of this newest scam whereby you receive an email supposedly from a federal court asking you to report to a hearing on a specified day and time. The emails also instruct recipients to review an attached document for detailed case information. The attachment contains a computer virus.

You should never receive notice in a case you aren't in. When in doubt, call the federal court which supposedly sent the email, and don't open the attachment.

Read more here.

YLD sponsoring information session on becoming a lawyer-legislator Jan. 29

The Young Lawyers Division is holding its second information session on becoming a lawyer-legislator at 3 p.m. on Jan. 29 at the bar headquarters building. YLD members held a similar information session several years ago.

Topics to be covered include ethical issues in campaigns led by Megan Tooker, director and legal counsel for the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board; understanding the districts, voter/voting issues and executive office versus legislative offices led by Secretary of State Matt Schultz; and the nuts and bolts of a campaign led by a panel of legislators and would-be legislators.

An hour of CLE credit, including an hour of ethics, is pending.

National Association of Women Judges unveils civics education project

The National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ) unveiled its civics education project yesterday (Jan. 15).

Entitled "Informed Voters, Fair Judges,” the campaign addresses what organizers see as a growing gap in civic literacy in the nation. The non-partisan voter education project was developed to increase public awareness about the judicial system, to inform voters that politics and special interest attacks have no place in the courts, and to give voters the tools they need to exercise an informed vote in favor of fair and impartial courts.

NAWJ is the nation’s primary professional organization for female jurists in state, federal and appellate courts in all 50 states. Founded in 1979, the NAWJ counts more than 12,000 members.

View campaign materials and receive more information at the NAWJ website.

Deadline to apply for loan repayment assistance extended to Friday, Jan. 24

Officials in charge of the ISBA’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program (ISBA LRAP) have extended the deadline by a week to Friday (Jan. 24).

Loan repayment assistance is available to attorneys who choose to work in a public interest field and who make less than $50,000 per year. The goal is to assist these attorneys with their student loan debt so they are able to choose public interest law and remain employed in it while still being able to repay their loans.

Interested persons should apply by downloading an application form from the ISBA’s website ( Click on the "Now Accepting Applications” button at the bottom of the homepage. Remember the deadline for applying is Jan. 24.

Still need ethics hours?

Calls have been coming into the ISBA office from attorneys looking for ethics hours to meet the required three hours of ethics every two years.

The ISBA offers two opportunities for obtaining those ethics hours. One is a telephone CLE this Friday (Jan. 17) from noon to 1 p.m. Entitled "A District Court Judge’s Perspective on Conduct in the Courtroom” and sponsored by the ISBA’s Government Practice Section. It will be presented by Judge Douglas Staskal, and qualifies for one hour of state CLE, which includes one hour of ethics. Click here for more information and to register.

The other opportunity is an "On Demand” video entitled "Ethics Law for New Iowa Lawyers” presented by Paul Wieck II with the supreme court’s Office of Professional Regulation. Because it is "on demand,” it can be viewed at any time. Click here for information and to access this course.

Since the Dec. 31 deadline for acquiring all CLE credits is past, attorneys who still need to fulfill their ethics requirement will need to file a request for a deadline extension of their annual CLE report. Go to the court’s CLE Commissions web page and click on "Apply for Extension to Complete CLE" under the "Lawyers" tab in the menu at the top of the page to file that request.

Frederic Matthias celebrates 75 years as an attorney!

Frederic Matthias celebrates a major and fairly rare-for-most-professions milestone this month. Seventy five years ago Tueday (Jan. 14), he was admitted to the Iowa Bar while a third-year law student at the University of Iowa College of Law.

After returning from military service in World War II, Fred began practicing law in Muscatine, and then moved to Newton to practice with Marion Hammer in July 1947. Law partners who joined the practice over the years were James L. Tyler, Jack Levin, Bruce Nuzum, and John Matthias. In 1994 he went "of counsel” and, later, attorneys Carol Greta, Terry Rickers and Tim Campbell, Jr., joined the firm. The firm has recently morphed into Caldwell, Brierly, Chalupa & Nuzum, PLLC. Bruce Nuzum is his longest surviving and still practicing partner in Newton.

John Matthias said Fred told me on his 98th birthday, Oct. 31, 2013, that he is officially retired. He has done legal work for Habitat for Humanity in recent years, among other things, but did not plan to attend the Tax School this year for the first time in decades.

(A more complete profile is planned for an upcoming issue of the Iowa Lawyer Magazine.

Taxation update webinar to be held Monday

The ISBA, along with the Iowa State University Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation (CALT), will sponsor a 2014 Taxation Update webinar from noon to 1:45 p.m. this Monday (Jan. 20). Attendance can be in-person or via computer.

Speakers will be Roger McEowen from CALT, Kristy Maitre from the IRS and Joe Kristan from Roth & Company. The webinar is good for 1.5 hours of state CLE credit.

To see a detailed list of topics covered and to register, click here.


Did You Know...

the ISBA staff is just a click away? You can find contact information for all ISBA staff members by visiting the Staff List on the bar's website.

Benefit of the Week

2013 Fiduciary Tax Manual

A new edition of the Fiduciary Tax Manual is now available to ISBA members at a discounted member price.

To order your copy, please click here. Members, please make sure to sign in to get the reduced member rate.

Iowa Supreme Court Decisions

January 10, 2014

No. 12-1295

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, David F. Staudt, Judge.

An insurer seeks further review of a court of appeals decision affirming the denial of the insurer’s motion for summary judgment based upon the statute of limitations in an insurance policy. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS VACATED; JUDGMENT OF DISTRICT COURT REVERSED AND CASE REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS.

No. 12-1593

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Monona County, Steven J. Andreasen, Judge.

The Iowa Department of Human Services appeals a district court ruling on the department’s claim in probate for recovery of Medicaid payments made for services provided to an elderly married couple. REVERSED AND REMANDED.

No. 12-1708

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Arthur E. Gamble, Judge.

Ostrem, an Iowa resident, appeals from a district court decision which granted PrideCo’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. REVERSED AND REMANDED.