Share |


    March 2, 2016
Past Issues  

Updated IowaDocs form library released 

The ISBA officially released its 2016 IowaDocs library earlier this week. Users of the service will notice a fresh, new look to the forms once they upload the new library. 


Current IowaDocs desktop subscribers should have received notifications via HotDocs allowing them to update their desktop library. IowaDocs subscribers who use the cloud version will automatically update to the new library with no action required by the user.  


Should there be any questions regarding this update, contact IowaDocs Support at

Former Iowa justice dies at 81

Former Iowa Supreme Court Justice James H. Carter died Feb. 27 at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at the Murdoch-Linwood Funeral Home in Cedar Rapids. 


In 1982, Governor Robert D. Ray appointed Carter to the Iowa Supreme Court where he served until his retirement in 2006. His obituary is available online, and more can be read in a recent Gazette article.

Alert: Scam targets lawyers wiring funds

Lawyers should beware of a sophisticated new hacking scam the FBI refers to as "Business E-mail Compromise.” Lawyers in multiple states have recently reported being victimized by this scam. The hoax targets lawyers who process client funds from their attorney trust accounts. Transactions involving real estate closings or legal settlements are vulnerable to this ploy. 


A whitepaper created by the lawyers who work for CNA to provide risk management and loss prevention services to attorneys insured by the ISBA’s endorsed professional liability insurance provider, Lockton Affinity, L.L.C., outlines the details of the scam, ethical and legal concerns for lawyers and risk management tips.  


To read the entire paperclick here. For more information, contact Mike Schrandt, senior account manager at Lockton Affinity, L.L.C., by phone at 800-679-7154 or via email at 


Equal Justice After Hours event to highlight health and law project

Iowa Legal Aid will highlight its health and law project at this year’s Equal Justice After Hours event to be held Thursday, March 31, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the American Enterprise Group building, 601 6th Avenue in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. The health and law project has grown to 10 sites since it was started in 2006, and has processed an estimated 8,100 cases during that time.


The health and law project was started because of the recognition that health problems are often made worse when patients face legal problems such as domestic violence, substandard housing and lack of nutritional and financial support. Iowa Legal Aid staff and volunteer attorneys partner with hospitals and clinics to address legal issues that exacerbate health problems. A PBS News Hour video on the subject can be found here.


Presently, Iowa Legal Aid has partnership arrangements with hospitals and/or clinics in Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Dubuque, Oskaloosa and Sioux City in Iowa, as well as a site in Omaha, Neb. This year’s Equal Justice After Hours event will feature an address by a doctor from Nebraska Medicine in Omaha, and an address by a client from one of the health and law project sites.


Also on tap at the event will be the annual BOG financial challenge match. President-elect Skip Kenyon will ask members of the ISBA Board of Governors to pledge contributions to Iowa Legal Aid at the March 23 quarterly BOG meeting. Attendees at the Equal Justice After Hours event will then be asked to match the amount pledged. Last year, attendees pledged $6,360, which exceeded the BOG pledge of $5,800, for a total of $12,160.


For more information about the Equal Justice After Hours event, including sponsorship opportunities and tickets, contact Terri Bennett at 515-243-2980, Ext. 1611, or

Supreme court justices meet with central Iowa students

Iowa Supreme Court Justices are meeting with students from eight central Iowa schools today and tomorrow. In addition to a special session tonight at Ames High School, the justices are making stops at high schools in Gilbert, Nevada, Ames, Ballard, Perry, Boone and Roland-Story as well as Gilbert middle school over both days.


The meetings were arranged for a discussion with students about the Iowa judicial system, and the role of the courts in the state. The special session is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Ames High auditorium at 1921 Ames High Drive. 

Supreme Court Opinions
Feb. 26

No. 13–0988 
Defendant seeks further review of a court of appeals decision affirming his convictions and 100-year prison sentence. COURT OF APPEALS DECISION AFFIRMED IN PART AND VACATED IN PART; DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT AFFIRMED IN PART AND REVERSED IN PART; CASE REMANDED FOR RESENTENCING. 


No. 14–0889 
A criminal defendant contends there was insufficient evidence to convict him of lascivious acts with a child because the phrase "touch the pubes or genitals of a child” in Iowa Code section 709.8 requires skin-to-skin contact. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS AND DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT AFFIRMED.


No. 14–1969 
LARRY R. HEDLUND vs. STATE OF IOWA; K. BRIAN LONDON, Commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety, Individually; CHARIS M. PAULSON, Director, Division of Criminal Investigation, Individually; GERARD F. MEYERS, Assistant Director, Division of Criminal Investigation, Individually; and TERRY E. BRANSTAD, Individually
A former state law enforcement agent appeals a district court’s interlocutory ruling dismissing his claim for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy. APPEAL DISMISSED.


No. 15–1917 
Grievance commission recommended thirty-day suspension of attorney’s license. LICENSE SUSPENDED.


In Other News ...

Clarence Thomas breaks 10 years of high court silence
For the first time in 10 years, Justice Clarence Thomas asked a question from the bench. The query happened during remarks by Justice Department attorney Ilana Eisenstein in the case Voisine v. U.S., a challenge to the federal ban against firearm ownership by convicted domestic abusers. Having spent the last 15 minutes defending the ban against people convicted of "reckless" misdemeanor charges, Eisenstein asked whether there were any more questions, and Thomas unexpectedly raised his voice. "Ms. Eisenstein, one question," Thomas said.
Courthouse News Service

Cue '2112': What happens to your digital assets when you die?

A crucial detail: Instead of the executor of a will or trustee of an estate being given all a client's digital assets by default, users while still alive now must make some deliberate step to grant certain levels of access. But rest assured that the tech companies very much wanted to reach some consensus. "They’re really looking for this uniformity to figure out how to deal with these issues," Weidemann said. The new legislation has been introduced in at least 22 states, he added, so Iowa stands a chance to be among the first to pass it. 

The Des Moines Register


Minority women are disappearing from BigLaw--and here's why

Statistically, Jones faces a grim career outlook. Eighty-five percent of minority female attorneys in the U.S. will quit large firms within seven years of starting their practice. According to the research and personal stories these women share, it’s not because they want to leave, or because they "can’t cut it.” It’s because they feel they have no choice. 

ABA Journal


Lawyers say business court prevents delays, cuts litigation expenses

One of the biggest frustrations for lawyers is preparing for a complicated civil trial only to see it get bumped at the last minute for a criminal case, which takes higher priority in the judicial system. A civil trial may not get back on the docket for a year and may increase expenses for litigants. However, the Iowa Business Specialty Court may provide a solution, with quicker resolutions, less continuances and less costs. 

The Gazette


When should a judge recuse himself? Supreme Court weighs the question 

The Supreme Court hears arguments Monday testing whether a Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice violated the Constitution when he ruled in a death penalty case that he had been involved with as a prosecutor. At issue is whether then-Chief Justice Ronald Castille, by refusing to recuse himself, denied the defendant, Terrance Williams, a fair hearing. In hindsight, Williams was, as some put it, a "Jekyll-and-Hyde" personality. 

Iowa Public Radio 


Hogg is first 2016 US Senate candidate to file for Democratic primary ballot

Today is the first day Iowa Republican and Democratic candidates may turn in the paperwork to place their names on the June Primary ballot. Democrat Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids is a candidate for the U.S. Senate and he turned in 13,000 petition signatures this morning. That’s more than six times as many petition signatures than were required. 

Radio Iowa


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. 26




It is vital that firms have professional liability coverage in place. Not having coverage can put a firm at risk. That’s why The Iowa State Bar Association partnered with Lockton Risk Services to develop the ISBA Insurance Program. Developed under the guidance of ISBA, the program offers the professional liability coverage Iowa law firms need to protect their practices at competitive rates that may not be available anywhere else.The ISBA Insurance Program is designed specifically with you in mind and offers:

  • Competitive Rates
  • Comprehensive Policy Form, including unique coverage extensions
  • Access to Unparalleled Loss Prevention & Risk Management Service
  • Outstanding Customer Service Insurance with a Company Rated "A” by A.M. Best
Click here to get started!

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