Iowa Lawyer Weekly (01/22/2014)
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January 22, 2014
Past Issues

ISBA’s ‘Member Mark’ program unveiled

Want to promote your membership in The Iowa State Bar Association to clients and potential clients?

You can do that with the ISBA’s Member Mark program, approved by the Board of Governors at its quarterly meeting in December.

"I’m very passionate about this program and the use of the phrase ‘PROUD IOWA LAWYER,’” President Guy Cook told the governors.

The mark (see illustration) conveys to the public and to fellow attorneys that you are a proud Iowa lawyer and an active, participating member in the 8,400-plus-member association. Use of the mark is available to any active ISBA member who completes the ISBA Member Mark License Agreement.

Firms may also display the member mark under the same terms and conditions as individuals by certifying that all members of the firm are active members of the ISBA.

Details about the program, including how the member mark can be used -- i.e. business cards, letterhead, etc. – and other frequently asked questions can be found on the ISBA website here. The license agreement can be found here.

New webpage designed to connect rural practitioners and students

A new webpage on the ISBA’s website will make it easier for rural practitioners who are willing to hire a law student for the summer to view information about students who are interested in a summer clerkship opportunity. The page is also designed for practitioners to post information about their practices and their communities for students to view.

The goal is to streamline the process of connecting students with rural practitioners who are interested in participating in the ISBA Rural Practice Committee’s Summer Clerkship program.

Started two years ago, the program is designed to match 1L and 2L students from Iowa’s two law schools and Creighton University’s School of Law with rural attorneys to acquaint students with the practice of law in rural areas. The ultimate goal is to have students move to rural areas to practice once they graduate and are licensed.

Check out the webpage at this link.

Melby decision has potential impact for attorneys in estate planning

A reader pointed out that last week’s Iowa Supreme Court decision in the matter of the estate of Arnold Melby, deceased, would appear to give the state more leeway in its ability to recover assets from estates and trusts of decedents who received Medicaid assistance during their lifetimes.

The Melbys, a farm couple, created irrevocable trusts in 1991 and transferred farm real estate into the trusts. The trusts rarely generated income during their existence. Many years later, both Melbys received Medicaid assistance.

The issues in the case included when the debt arose and whether assets of the irrevocable trusts were available for recovery by the State of Iowa, says Josh Weidemann, chair of the ISBA’s Probate, Trust and Estate Planning Section. The Melby case resolves the issue of timing of creation of the Medicaid debt by finding that it arises at the time of the provision of the services. It also expands on the Court’s reasoning in Barkema and Gist to find that the Melbys had an interest in the corpus of the irrevocable trusts at the time of their respective qualification for Medicaid assistance and their subsequent deaths, he said.

Iowa State University’s Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation (CALT) also issued a report on the Melby case. The overview to the report states: "The Iowa Supreme Court has reaffirmed the extensive reach of the Iowa Medicaid recovery program, stressing the Medicaid program’s ‘broad purpose’ of ‘providing for care for those in need’ and ‘allowing for recovery by the state’ to free ‘more funds for the provision of future services.’”

Read the full decision. Read the CALT report.

Pro Bono Publico Award nominations now open

Nominations for the 2014 ABA Pro Bono Publico Awards are now open and will be accepted through February 28.

Each year the ABA’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service presents five awards to individual lawyers and institutions in the legal profession that have enhanced the human dignity of others by improving or delivering volunteer legal services to our nation's poor and disadvantaged. The awards are presented during a luncheon at the ABA Annual Meeting in August.

For more information on the Pro Bono Publico Award, including nomination criteria and forms, please click here.

Free upcoming Fastcase webinars offer CLE credit

Fastcase, an ISBA member benefit, provides free live training webinars so that ISBA members can learn how to use Fastcase, right from the comfort of their own computer. Not only are these webinars free of cost, they have also all been approved for one hour of state CLE.

What is Fastcase? Fastcase is the leading next-generation legal research service that puts a comprehensive national law library and smarter and more powerful searching, sorting, and visualization tools at your fingertips. Fastcase’s libraries include primary law from all 50 states, as well as deep federal coverage including cases, statutes, regulations, court rules, and constitutions.

More than 500,000 lawyers have access to Fastcase, making it one of the world’s most trusted research services. Twenty-one state bar associations, including the ISBA, have purchased Fastcase subscriptions for all of their members

"If you haven’t tried Fastcase, I encourage you to take advantage of this tremendous benefit of ISBA membership,” suggests ISBA President Guy Cook.

The free webinars available include Introduction to Legal Research on Fastcase, Advanced Tips for Enhanced Legal Research, Introduction to Boolean (Keyword) Searches, and Introduction to Legal Research on Fascase for Paralegals. Click here for webinar dates, times, event handouts, and registration links.


Did You Know...

that 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 17, 2014

No. 12–1336

On review from the Iowa Court of Appeals.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Richard G. Blane II, Judge.

Both the State and the defendant seek further review of a decision of the court of appeals, reversing one of the defendant’s criminal convictions and remanding for a new trial thereon based on verdict inconsistency. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS VACATED; DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT AFFIRMED.