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January 21, 2015
Past Issues

ISBA meets with key Iowa leaders

ISBA leadership met with Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, and leaders from both the Iowa House and the Senate last week. The primary purpose of the meetings was to review and encourage support of the ISBA legislative program. ISBA President Joe Feller highlighted four ISBA priorities during their visit.

"We met with key Iowa leaders from both parties in order to get our message to the people who control the legislative business in the state of Iowa,” said Feller. "The issues we discussed are important because they affect our members. I think we were successful in delivering our message concerning our total legislative package.”

Feller focused attention on the need for increased compensation for court-appointed attorneys. To help drive the point, Feller invited Sara Linder, an attorney from Washington, Iowa, to share her knowledge and experience while working as a court-appointed attorney. Linder recently wrote an article published in the December Iowa Lawyer about the topic, encouraging attorneys to consider the effects of underpaid court-appointed attorneys.

The second priority concentrated on judicial residency. The ISBA opposes Senate Study Bill 1029 which would give district judge applicants the ability to apply for open vacancies state-wide rather than staying within the district in which they currently reside.

Thirdly, Feller pressed the governor and legislators to consider supporting the ISBA recommended changes to probate court costs specifically on how the clerk of probate court determines and collects charges. These court costs often cause people to avoid going to probate court. Further information on this priority can be found on the Affirmative Legislative Program.

Lastly, Feller challenged the Iowa leadership to start taking action on improving courthouse security throughout the state. This was strongly backed by Chief Justice Mark Cady during his State of the Judiciary Address when he stated that anyone working in or visiting Iowa courthouses should feel and be safe. This issue has been revisited several times since the ISBA established the Courthouse Security Task Force and published a Courthouse Security Report back in 2005.

"The governor, lieutenant governor and all the leaders of both the Senate and the house were very welcoming and interested in hearing about these issues,” said Feller.

In addition to the four priorities covered by Feller, ISBA Legislative Counsel Jim Carney covered a number of legislative items from the Affirmative Legislative Program including funding for the courts and indigent civil cases as well as other proposals concerning probate, garnishment, and more. Full details about each legislative item can be found on the Affirmative Legislative Program

January/February Iowa Lawyer magazine available online

The January/February Iowa Lawyer magazine is now available online. The Iowa Lawyer, the ISBA’s flagship magazine, is free online or in print to ISBA members as part of their annual dues. In this Issue:

• Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers fellows announced
• 2015 Legislative update – Carney
• Meet the 2015 lawyer-legislators
• Lobbying Tips – Graves
• The significance of LawPAC’s support – Henderson, Hogg, Paulsen
• BOG quarterly meeting summary
• Resolution honoring deceased members
• How to contact your legislator
• 2015 Affirmative legislation chart
• Lawyers helping lawyers – Moore
• My experience with depression – Bakke
• Impact of a Brain Storm – Graves
• Help is available – Grady
• Knowing the difference between good, bad and ugly reply reports – Lindebak, Tabor
• 2014 changes to the Iowa Court Rules – McCarthy
• Jefferson County restores century-old courthouse – Boeckman

Members interested in receiving the magazine electronically can change their preference by logging in to the website and clicking on "manage profile,” then clicking "edit bio,” which will open up to the user’s member profile editing page. The member will need to scroll down to "The Iowa Lawyer Magazine” and select, "yes.” A "yes” selection indicates that the member no longer wishes to receive a physical copy of the magazine by mail and will only receive the magazine electronically thereafter.

Questions regarding changing Iowa Lawyer magazine preferences can be sent to Mary Hill at 515-697-7870 or

Supreme Court establishes task forces to address areas of needed reform

Chief Justice Mark Cady signed two orders Jan. 14 establishing and appointing members to the Guardianship and Conservatorship Reform Task Force Steering Committee and the Iowa Family Law Case Processing Reform Task Force Steering Committee. The announcement of the committees fell on the same day that the Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice gave his State of the Judiciary Address, Jan. 14.

Guardianship and Conservatorship Reform Task Force
According to the Iowa Supreme Court, there are currently 22,000 open guardianship and conservatorship cases. And, increasingly more recognition is given to the need for reform at the state and national levels as the number of cases continues to grow.

Because state supreme courts nationwide are playing leadership roles in addressing guardianship and conservatorship challenges, the Guardianship and Conservatorship Reform Task Force Steering Committee was established and participants named. The committee will be challenged to review Iowa’s guardianship and conservatorship laws and procedures in order to ensure the system is efficient and responsive to the needs of Iowans.

The committee will provide the supreme court with recommendations for the convening of an Iowa Guardianship and Conservatorship Summit of the members of the Task Force Steering Committee and working groups.

Iowa Family Law Case Processing Reform Task Force
In 2009, the Iowa Civil Justice Reform Task Force conducted a survey of more than 9,000 attorneys and judges. Even though family law matters were specifically excluded from the survey, 65 percent of respondents suggested that family law was in need of reform.

Based on this, the supreme court established the committee and named participants, challenging them to identify best practices for accessible, transparent and consistent family law processes. Recommendations, tailored to the Iowa court system, should foster just, prompt and cost-effective resolutions for dissolutions of marriage and child custody cases, including the financial matters related to each.

The committee will report its findings, conclusions and recommendations to the court by May 31, 2016.


Free human trafficking documentary, Q&A event scheduled for Thursday

January is human trafficking awareness month and to help spread awareness Junior League of Des Moines is hosting an awareness event at the Fleur Cinema in Des Moines Thursday, Jan. 22. The free event will include a cash-bar reception, the premiere of a 15-minute documentary, "Any Kid, Anywhere: Sex Trafficking Survivor Stories,” followed by a questions-and-answers panel.

According to a recent article in The Des Moines Register, human trafficking is a problem that occurs right here in Iowa. One victim now speaks out about the issue. Christi Geiser, who grew up in Dubuque, was lured into the illegal industry in her teens; her story is featured in the documentary.

The event begins at 6:30 p.m. and the documentary premiere starts promptly at 7:30 p.m. The Fleur Cinema is at 4545 Fleur Drive in Des Moines. Registration for the event is not needed.

Know Your Constitution winners selected to go to DC

The ISBA hosted its annual Know Your Constitution Luncheon Friday, Jan. 9, at the West Des Moines Marriott. ISBA YLD Know Your Constitution Committee Co-Chair Robert Gainer awarded certificates and medals to student-finalists for their accomplishments. In addition to the certificates, five students’ names were selected in a random drawing among the 100 finalists for an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C.

Congratulations to the following winners: Kyle Apple, of North Scott High School, and his teacher Sean Marmion; Ellie Biebesheimer, of Clear Lake High School, and her teacher Beth Ann Schumacher; Sadie Kavalier, of South Tama High School, and her teacher Seth Koch; Jordan Lehman, of Des Moines Central Academy/North Polk High School, and her teacher Daniel Swanson; and Noah Schwarzkopf, of Adel DeSoto Minburn High School, and his teacher Charity Miller.

The Know Your Constitution contest involves a U.S. Constitution-related multiple choice quiz and a short essay for students in grades 9-12. Winning entries are selected from each of Iowa’s 100 legislative districts. Every year, finalists are honored at a special luncheon in January where five students and their teachers are selected to attend a week-long program in Washington, D.C., through the Close Up Foundation.

Real Estate and Title Law Section requests participation in survey

The Real Estate and Title Law Section and The ISBA Board of Governors are working to craft important policy recommendations relating to the Iowa Title Guaranty system and are looking for input from attorneys who practice in real estate and title law. A survey was created to capture member’s thoughts on the real estate and title law issues.

The ISBA recently conducted a forum on the subject of Iowa Title Guaranty which identified a number of issues in the way that Iowa attorneys practice real estate law. Because of these issues, the ISBA wants to collect information from Iowa attorneys who practice in the area of real estate and title law.

The three-part survey can be completed relatively quickly. The first two sections have short, multiple choice questions, and the third section allows participants the opportunity to provide detailed responses if time allows. The survey can be accessed here until Jan. 27.

Additional information relating to the issues can be found on the Real Estate and Title Law Section’s webpage (requires log in). Those interested in joining the section can do so by navigating to, clicking on "store,” then "join a section.”

ISBA expanding online advertising opportunities

The Iowa State Bar Association now offers new online advertising options. In addition to advertising in the Iowa Lawyer magazine, interested advertisers can now choose from expanded banner ad opportunities on the homepage and in this Iowa Lawyer Weekly e-newsletter. A variety of cost-effective placement options are available, but space is limited.

Opportunities are available on a first-reserved basis for monthly placements. The ISBA also offers package discounts for extended placements in conjunction with advertising in the Iowa Lawyer magazine. Those interested in discussing advertising options should contact Dave Larson at 515-440-2810 or to review all available space and pricing options.

2014 ISBA CLE activity codes listing available

The ISBA recently published a listing of all 2014 Continuing Legal Education courses for members who may be looking to finalize their reports to the commission on continuing legal education and the client security commission. The courses are listed in chronological order and include the course title, CLE credits by area (state, federal, or ethics) and activity identification numbers. The full listing of the ISBA CLE courses is available on the ISBA homepage.

A note from the CLE Commission/Client Security Commission: The due date for filing 2015 annual reports without penalty is March 10, 2015. A fee of $10 for support of the CLE system will be collected with all annual CLE reports during 2015. The annual fee for support of the disciplinary system is $175. Approximately $10 to $11 of this fee will support the Iowa Lawyer Assistance Program during 2015. The fee for support of the disciplinary system will be collected with annual client security reports. An assessment for the Client Security Trust Fund (CSTF) will be collected from most lawyers during 2015. More information regarding the CSTF assessment will be provided by email in mid-December. Please check your email address listed on your lawyer account page to ensure it is current.

For more information about filing visit


In Other News...

Iowa chief justice targets racial disparities, security
Iowa's court system should work in 2015 to become a nationwide leader in addressing racial disparities in its criminal justice system, while also working to make courthouse employees safer across the state, the chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court told lawmakers Wednesday. In his annual State of the Judiciary address, Chief Justice Mark Cady highlighted efforts in the Iowa City community and by judges to combat staggering statistics that show blacks are sent to prison and to juvenile courts at significantly higher rates than other racial groups.
The Des Moines Register

Petersen: Juvenile court officers make strides
Since 2012, the number of juveniles with criminal complaints or felony charges filed against them has dropped by 20 percent. That means Iowans are safer and more kids are headed down a successful path to adulthood. Iowa courts also are keeping more families together with the help of family treatment courts. Family treatment courts provide intense oversight and direction for parents who’ve had drug problems and are at risk of losing their children. There are now 14 family treatment courts throughout Iowa. Because of the impressive role they’ve played in changing lives for the better, we expect to see more family treatment courts added in the future.
The Des Moines Register

Courthouse security costs at issue
A legislator from Maquoketa — the site of a courthouse shooting this fall — says security measures at Iowa’s county courthouses should be a shared responsibility between state and county governments. That’s Senator Tod Bowman, a Democrat from Maquoketa who is also a high school teacher. Two of his students had been at the Jackson County Courthouse shortly before the September 9th shooting there. Another student had a parent in the room where the shooting occurred — and then their school was locked down as a precaution.
WNAX Radio 570

The Register's editorial: Balance security, access in Iowa courthouses
The reality is that violent incidents in city and county office buildings in Iowa are very rare. Courtroom security, however, has been a legitimate concern for many years. Instead of creating security gates at every government building in Iowa, state and county officials should focus on courtroom security, including portable metal detectors and armed deputies in courtrooms on days when court is in session.
The Des Moines Register

U.S. Supreme Court will rule on same-sex marriage this term
"The court said it would hear arguments for 2 1/2 hours in April on two questions: first, whether the constitutional guarantee to equal protection of the law renders invalid state bans on same-sex marriage. And, second, whether states are required to recognize the marriage of a same-sex couple who marry legally in another state," said NPR's legal affairs correspondent, Nina Totenberg. The case will be argued in April; a decision is expected by late June.
Iowa Public Radio

HELP Legal Assistance merges with Iowa Legal Aid
The office of HELP Legal Assistance has merged with Iowa Legal Aid. Iowa Legal Aid provides legal assistance throughout the state to low-income and senior clients in civil matters involving basic human needs.
Quad City Times


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 16, 2015

No. 13–0356

On review from the Iowa Court of Appeals.
Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Robert B. Hanson, Judge.
An ex-spouse seeks further review of a court of appeals decision affirming a district court order requiring him to pay spousal support indefinitely. AFFIRMED.




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