Iowa Lawyer Weekly (03/12/2014)
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March 12, 2014
Past Issues

EDMS changed your practice?

If you haven’t been to the courthouse or seen a judge lately, you’ll definitely want to attend the 2014 ISBA Annual Meeting, June 16-19.

You will have the opportunity to rub elbows with more than 200 judges at one of the more than 60 hours of CLE and social events at this year’s annual meeting to be held in the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center (formerly Vets Auditorium) in downtown Des Moines.

"With the implementation of EDMS, it is important to maintain the strong relationship the ISBA has with the bench,” said ISBA President Guy R. Cook. As such, The Iowa State Bar Association and the Iowa Judges Association have agreed to once again hold a joint annual meeting to ensure attorneys and judges have an opportunity to discuss items of mutual interest.

Don’t be left out; register today! Attorneys, register by clicking here, or by going to the ISBA website and clicking on "Annual Meeting” under the CLE tab.

Judges, please do not try to register at the link above. A separate registration link will be sent to you from the judicial branch via email in the coming days and weeks.

Thinking about retirement?

The ABA is sponsoring a 90-minute webinar on Wednesday (March 26) that will discuss retirement expectations. The webinar will go beyond the basics to discuss other factors that can make your retirement what you want, including goal setting, making the transition to retirement and determining whether a second or part-time post-retirement career is right for you.

Faculty will also provide guidance on the ethics of transitioning out of and selling your practice.

For further information and to register, click here.

Fine-tune your skills examining abstracts with ISBA’s free on-demand video

You can profit from suggestions on examining abstracts and earn CLE credits at the same time with the ISBA’s on-demand video entitled "Essentials of Successful Abstract Examination.” Best of all, the video, which normally costs $75, is free to members.

In the video, well-known real estate attorney Tim Gartin offers tips and pitfalls to watch for when examining purchase agreements, installment contracts, drafting warranty deeds, curing title problems and closing the transaction. He includes copies of his forms and letters in his written materials

The video, which was sponsored by Iowa Title Guaranty, is divided into two parts. Part 1, at 65 minutes long, has been approved for one hour of state CLE credit. Part 2, at 90 minutes in length, has been approved for 1.5 hours of state CLE.

Access this video and others on the ISBA website here.

Supreme Court adopts new forms for self-represented child support modifications

Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady signed an order last week adopting new self-represented litigant forms for applications to modify child support in chapter 17 of the Iowa Court Rules. The new forms are effective immediately.

The implementation of the Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) across the state necessitated the form revisions to make them fully compatible. Rather than having two sets of forms – one for filing electronically and another for filing on paper – the court decided to use one form that can be filed both ways. The new forms also contain the instructions for filling out and filing within the form, rather than in a separate document.

Click here to find links to the order, the rule change, the forms and a guide.

Save the date for the Eighth Circuit Judicial Conference in August

The judges of the Eighth Circuit will host the Eighth Circuit Judicial Conference Wednesday through Friday (Aug. 6-8) at the Hilton Omaha.

The conference, which is designed for all judges and members of the bar, will be held in conjunction with The Iowa State Bar Association, the Nebraska State Bar Association and the Nebraska Supreme Court.

 "The location of the Eighth Circuit Judicial Conference presents a unique opportunity for Iowa lawyers to interact with the judges of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals," says ISBA President Guy Cook.

CLE tracks will include civil, criminal, bankruptcy and specialty practice. Topics will include sentencing in child pornography cases, National Security Agency privacy, the EEOC, IP law, constitutional law, immigration, evidence, legal writing, technology, social media, and ethics.

Among the speakers that have been confirmed are Professor Lawrence Lessig, of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University; Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, of the University of California Irvine School of Law; and Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., of the United States Supreme Court.

Conference registration materials will be coming soon. In the meantime, please e-mail questions to the Eighth Circuit Executive office at or phone (314) 244-2600.

Plaintiff, defense lawyers spar over civil rules proposals

An alternating chorus of support and opposition greeted the Advisory Committee on the Civil Rules, an arm of the Judicial Conference of the United States, in the second and third public hearings on proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Plaintiff lawyers, defense lawyers, corporate attorneys, and law professors lined up at hearings held in January and February in Phoenix and Dallas to reprise a polarized debate that began at the first public hearing held last November in Washington, D.C. If adopted, the amendments would affect 13 different rules, but the testimony consistently returned to the committee’s tentative plan to alter discovery procedures in Rules 26, 30, 31, 34, and 37(e).

Defense and corporate lawyers lauded the proposed changes as fair and essential to stem the rising cost of litigation -- particularly the expense of preserving electronic data. Plaintiff lawyers expressed alarm that some proposals would unfairly limit discovery and deprive injured plaintiffs of the tools essential to proving their claims.

Read more …

FBI issues advisory on scam targeting attorneys

Most attorneys already know about the scam involving contacts from transnational organized crime (TOC) groups that hire unwitting attorneys to represent them for a fraudulent legal scenario, solicit them to deposit large counterfeit checks into their client trust accounts, and then persuade them to immediately wire the deposited amount to a foreign bank account controlled by members of the TOC group.

Late last month, the FBI issued a private sector advisory that provides more details about this scam, how to protect yourself and what to do about reporting it.

Did You Know...

as an ISBA member you are entitled to use the LawPay credit card processing program? The program allows you to accept all major credit cards from your clients. It also has the ability to separate funds that must go into your trust account from your operating account. And, it provides 100 percent protection of your trust account. Click here to learn more. Or go to the ISBA website and click on "Member Benefits” under the "Practice Tools” tab, then scroll down to "Credit Card Processing Service.”

Benefit of the Week


IowaDocs® is a service provided by The Iowa State Bar Association for its members. This site will give you information, tips, and support for the yearly subscription to IowaDocs®.

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 service will save time, effort and money in the production of repetitive documents and forms.

Click here to learn more about IowaDocs®

Iowa Supreme Court Decisions

March 7, 2014

No. 12-1023

Appeal and cross-appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Glenn E. Pille, Judge.

The parties appeal from an order by the district court that modified the spousal support provisions of their decree for dissolution of marriage and denied an application to modify physical custody. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS VACATED; DISTRICT COURT ORDER AFFIRMED ON APPEAL AND AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED ON CROSS-APPEAL.

No. 13-0071

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Nancy A. Baumgartner, Judge.

Judgment debtors seek review of a district court ruling granting a judgment creditor’s motion to set aside decree after the judgment creditor served notices of rescission of foreclosure seeking to rescind the foreclosure action. AFFIRMED.

No. 13-0303

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Christopher L. McDonald, Judge.

An employee seeks further review of a court of appeals decision reversing a district court ruling upholding the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner’s award of permanent total disability benefits for an employee’s back injury. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS VACATED; DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT AFFIRMED.