Share |


    February 10, 2016
Past Issues  

Message from ISBA President Bruce Walker: Mock trial judges needed

I am requesting that you agree to serve as a judge in the 2016 Iowa High School Mock Trial Regional Competition on the dates and in the venues shown on the schedule.  Each time I have served at mock trials in the past, the students seem to really appreciate having a lawyer listen to them and provide advice.

You do not have to be a trial attorney in order to participate as a mock trial judge. You will be asked to assess students’ performances as they take on the roles of attorneys and witnesses. Last year, more than 600 members of the Bar assisted as judges and coaches in tournaments held throughout Iowa.

One morning, afternoon or evening is not a great sacrifice in relationship to the good that you can do. Please serve at the regional tournament(s) near you, and/or at the state tournament held in Des Moines, Iowa.

The high school regional tournaments are held from late February through mid-March; the high school state tournament is scheduled for March 28-30. To see the complete competition schedule, click here. To learn more about high school mock trial, click here. To volunteer click here or email ISBA Center for Law & Civic Education Director John Wheeler directly at

Opportunities to serve on ISBA committees, section councils

ISBA President-elect Arnold "Skip” Kenyon, III, is preparing to make appointments to the committees and section councils for next fiscal year. To provide an easy method of nomination, the ISBA set up an online form for members to apply with their section council or committee choices.

Submissions completed via the online application form must be received by March 1. Members may apply for more than one position by indicating preferences in the event a particular section council or committee is full. Applicants should note that the number of vacancies are limited. The majority of vacancies for each section council or committee are three or fewer.

"The opportunities for networking, interaction and the expanding of your practice lie within these groups,” said Kenyon, a Creston, Iowa, attorney. "In order to assure consistency and a smooth transition, it is essential that we establish a succession plan for each committee and section. It is my intention to have all appointments completed and in place so that they will become effective at the time of the annual meeting in June.”

Questions or requests for additional information concerning any of the sections or committees can be directed to the ISBA office or to President-elect Kenyon at or 641-782-7007.



• Access to Justice

• American Citizenship

• Annual Meeting

• Appellate Practice

• Bar Insurance

• Bench Bar Conference

• Diversity and Inclusiveness

• Economic Development

• Ethics and Practice Guidelines

• Federal Practice

• Independence of the Judiciary*

• Judicial Administration

• Jury Instructions

• LawPAC

• Law Practice Management

• Lawyers Helping Lawyers

• Legal Forms

• Military Affairs

• Professionalism

• Public Relations

• Rural Practice

• Scope & Correlation*

• Ways & Means*


*Not open to general membership


• Administrative Law

• Agricultural Law

• Alternative Dispute Resolution

• Business Law

• Commercial & Bankruptcy Law

• Construction Law

• Corporate Counsel

• Criminal Law

• e-Commerce

• Elder Law

• Environmental & Natural Resources Law

• Family & Juvenile Law

• General Practice

• Government Practice

• Health Law

• Intellectual Property Law

• International Law

• Labor & Employment Law

• Litigation

• Probate, Trust & Estate Planning

• Real Estate & Title Law

• Taxation

• Trade Regulation

• Workers’ Compensation


Not all section councils or committee will have vacancies. However, ISBA leadership requests nominations for all in order to gauge interest.Submit nominations by completing the
online application form.


IowaDocs to release updated form library

The ISBA is preparing to release its 2016 IowaDocs library this month. The complete release is expected to occur as early as next week. IowaDocs users will notice a fresh, new look to the forms once the new library is uploaded.

When Iowa Code began to implement formatting standards, IowaDocs was forced to change layouts as well. Because of this, the look of the forms suffered. Now, IowaDocs is refreshing copyrighted forms to provide a more professional, consistent look.

The updates consist of modifications to the ISBA copyrighted forms. The forms will have typeface consistency, adjusted margins, date-format consistency, standardized captions, standardized ISBA logo and justified text. To see details regarding the format changes and to compare old forms with the newly formatted forms, visit the IowaDocs website at

When the library update becomes available, current IowaDocs desktop subscribers will receive notifications via HotDocs allowing them to update their desktop library.  Anyone using the cloud version of IowaDocs will immediately be updated to the new library and no action will be required by the user.  Should there be any questions regarding this update, contact IowaDocs Support at

Supreme Court justices to hear oral arguments Tuesday in Des Moines

The Iowa Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case The Estate of Paul Dedrick Gray, et al. v. Daniel J. Baldi, et al. during a special evening session next Tuesday, Feb. 16, in the supreme court courtroom on the fourth floor of the Judicial Branch Building, 1111 East Court Ave., in Des Moines, Iowa. The session begins at 7 p.m., and is open to the public.

Gray’s wife and minor child are appealing the district court’s summary judgement dismissing their petition alleging medical malpractice due to the defendant physician's excessive or conflicting prescribing of pain medications that resulted in Gray’s wrongful death. The plaintiffs contend the district court erred by finding their claims were barred by Iowa’s two-year statute of limitations, and that the court erred in ruling that an unborn child could not recover for loss of parental consortium under the limitations of actions chapter of the Iowa Code.

Gray, who was a musician best known as the bassist and one of the founding members of the Grammy Award-winning metal band, Slipknot, died May 24, 2010, from an overdose of morphine, according to autopsy results. At the time, his wife was pregnant with the couple’s daughter.

The appellant brief can be found at this link. The appellee brief and appellant reply brief are available at appellee and appellant.

Proceedings will be streamed live from the Iowa Judicial Branch website, which can be accessed here. A public reception with the supreme court justices will follow the oral arguments on the second floor of the Judicial Branch Building.

Fastcase announces schedule of free webinars

Fastcase, the legal research tool that is offered free to all ISBA members as part of their membership, has announced the first part of its 2016 free webinar schedule to assist members in using the service to its fullest. At present, 12 of the seminars, from Feb. 11 through June 7, are listed on the ISBA website.

Tomorrow’s webinar, entitled "Introduction to Legal Research on Fastcase,” is repeated on March 3, April 7 and May 12 for those who are unable to attend the session tomorrow. Two other presentations, "Advanced Tips for Enhanced Legal Research on Fastcase” and "Introduction to Boolean (Keyword) Searches,” are also repeated several times. The first session on advanced tips begins on Feb. 18. The first session on boolean searches begins on Feb. 25.

Fastcase has applied for one hour of state CLE credit for each webinar.

For more details on each of the webinars, all of which are held from noon to 1 p.m., click here. The schedule can also be accessed by clicking on "Upcoming CLE” under the "CLE Information” tab on the ISBA website homepage, then clicking on "Webinars.”

Fastcase also offers help and training, including video tutorials, at this link.

Supreme Court Opinions
Feb. 5

No. 14–1550  
 The plaintiff in a legal malpractice action against his former criminal defense attorneys appeals a district court ruling granting summary judgment to the defendants on the ground the plaintiff could not establish he was actually innocent of a crime. REVERSED AND REMANDED.

No. 14–1987  
 In this attorney disciplinary action, the grievance commission reports respondent violated a rule of professional conduct and recommends a public reprimand. ATTORNEY ADMONISHED.

The Iowa Supreme Court recently issued orders granting or denying applications for further review in 22 cases.


In Other News ...

Iowa federal judicial nominee, Ebinger, clears Senate 

Senator Chuck Grassley said today that the nomination of Judge Rebecca Ebinger to be a U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Iowa was passed by the Senate tonight by a vote of 83-0. Ebinger's nomination will now be sent to President Barack Obama who nominated her on Sept. 15, 2015. 'Judge Ebinger is high quality and high character. Her appreciation for the Constitution and the rule of law set her apart from others. I appreciate my colleagues' votes in favor of her nomination,' Grassley said. 

Grassley press release


Know Your Constitution contest leads to real learning 

Last fall the Iowa Bar Association put out the Know Your Constitution test for students’ grades 9-12. The test consisted of a 50 question open-book multiple choice test and a short essay question. The goal of the test was to get students to learn about the U.S. Constitution. Before I participated in this I would say I knew a good amount of information about the Constitution from previous social studies classes. However, I did not know as much as I thought until I had to research a lot of the questions for the test. I knew that the Constitution was the supreme law of the land and sets up our government, but it goes into further detail that not many people know about. 

The Gazette


Documents show Iowa has backlog of criminal appeal cases 

The Iowa attorney general's office has gained approval to temporarily hire lawyers to deal with a backlog of criminal appeal cases that have piled up since an Iowa Supreme Court rule change in 2012. Chief Deputy Attorney General Eric Tabor described the conditions in a Jan. 7 letter to the Iowa Executive Council that outlined plans to hire three outside lawyers on a temporary basis to reduce the load. The council, made up of statewide elected officials, on Jan. 19 approved Tabor's request, which included a request by his office to use civil forfeiture money to cover the expense. 

Sioux City Journal


Iowa court ruling makes defense attorney malpractice suits easier
The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that a man who pleaded guilty to soliciting a minor for sex but later had the conviction overturned can sue his defense attorney for legal malpractice without being required to prove he’s innocent. The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that a man who pleaded guilty to soliciting a minor for sex but later had the conviction overturned can sue his defense attorney for legal malpractice without being required to prove he’s innocent.

The IRS says identity thieves hacked its systems again
Identity thieves attempted to breach computer systems at the Internal Revenue Service to file fraudulent tax refunds. The criminals were especially after E-file PINs, which are used by some individuals to electronically file a return, the agency said in a statement released Tuesday. Around 464,000 unique social security numbers were involved, and of that total, 101,000 SSNs were used to successfully access an E-file PIN.


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.


Feb. 5




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

  • Robert James Poggenklass, ACLU of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia

  • Jean Elizabeth Paul, LinebargerGoggan Blair & Simpson, Austin, Texas

  • Ethan Domke, Iowa City, 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.


IowaDocs® is a library of hundreds of legal documents created, endorsed and copyrighted by The Iowa State Bar Association that have been automated using HotDocs. These templates ask questions and automatically create customized documents based on the answers given. This member benefit will save time, effort and money in the production of repetitive documents and forms.

Visit to learn more.

See more ISBA member benefits here


Tweet with us on Twitter
Be our fan on Facebook
Connect through LinkedIn
Follow us on Google+
Watch us on YouTube