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    May 4, 2016
Past Issues  

Supreme Court asking for public comment on Iowa Rules of Evidence

The Iowa Supreme Court on Monday filed an order seeking public comment on a proposed non-substantive restyling of the Iowa Rules of Evidence, chapter 5 of the Iowa Court Rules. The restyling (click here to see the working draft, or here to view the cleaned-up version) is designed "to bring the Iowa rules in line with their current federal counterparts and to achieve a more consistent, easier-to-use, and plain English-oriented set of rules,” according to the order.

The federal restyling was the final effort of a decades-long project of the Judicial Conference Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure completed in 2011. As a result of that restyling, the Iowa Rules of Evidence contain different language than their federal counterparts.

Instructions on how to make comments on the proposed changes are contained in the order. The deadline for submitting comments is 4:30 p.m., Friday, July 15.

Ballot for electing ISBA officers coming soon

Watch your email for a link to an electronic ballot to be used for voting on the 2016-2017 ISBA officers and an ABA delegate. You should see the email the end of this week.

On the ballot are the nominees for president-elect, vice president and one ABA delegate. They are uncontested.

The link to the ballot is unique for each email recipient. Votes are anonymous.

Legislative session ends with mixed results

The 2016 legislative session wrapped up last week with some highlights and disappointments as far as Iowa attorneys are concerned.

According to Doug Struyk, ISBA assistant legislative counsel, one of the highlights was working with the State Public Defender to get a $3 million supplemental appropriation to make sure that lawyers who contract with the state are paid for their work between now and June 30. Indigent defense is projected to exceed the budgeted amount appropriated last session by $3 million.

Another highlight was convincing legislators to appropriate $6,715,443 from the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund to pay for furniture and equipment for the Polk County Justice Center.

Among the disappointments, Struyk said, is that the 2016 legislature still did not act on the probate costs bill.

For a rundown of legislative bills being tracked during the 2016 session, view the latest edition of the Legislative Report. Members can also learn more about legislative bills of interest to practicing attorneys at the 2016 Annual Meeting being held June 13-15 in Des Moines.


ABA releases nationwide lawyer populations by state

The American Bar Association recently released the results of its annual survey of lawyers in all 50 states and U.S. territories. The results list the number of lawyers in each state this year (as of Dec. 31, 2015) and last year with the percentage of increase or decrease between the two years.

Most states, including Iowa, had only a slight change in number of attorneys from last year to this year. Iowa had an increase of 0.5 percent.

See the numbers for all of the states and territories at this link.

I.O.W.A. seeks nominees for 2016 Arabella Mansfield, Gertrude Rush awards

The Iowa Organization of Women Attorneys (I.O.W.A.) is asking Iowa attorneys to nominate individuals for its 2016 Arabella Mansfield and Gertrude Rush awards. The deadline for submissions is Friday, May 27.

Established in 2002, the Arabella Mansfield award recognizes outstanding women lawyers in Iowa who have promoted and nurtured women in the legal profession. The award was named after the first woman lawyer admitted to the practice of law in the U.S.

The Gertrude Rush award was co-established and co-sponsored with the Iowa Chapter of the National Bar Association in 2003. It recognizes lawyers who manifest the pioneering spirit of Gertrude Rush, demonstrate leadership in the community and the legal profession and show concern for human and civil rights. Rush was the first African-American woman to be admitted to the practice of law in Iowa – an event that occurred in 1918.

More information about the awards, as well as the application forms can be found here

12th Annual Dean’s Cup competition pits Drake against Iowa

For the 12th year in a row, alumni, faculty and students at Drake University Law School will compete against alumni, faculty and students from the University of Iowa College of Law in the annual Dean’s Cup competition to raise money for Iowa Legal Aid. This year’s contest will be held on Monday, May 16, at the Tournament Club of Iowa in Polk City, Iowa.

As in past years, the event will feature two formats – match play and best shot. Match play begins at 8:30 a.m., and best-shot play begins at 11:30 a.m.

Lawyers who aren’t graduates of either school may participate in the best-shot format by declaring temporary allegiance to one of the two schools at the time of registration. Non-golfers may make a donation of $25 to be added to the dean’s list of their preferred schools and to attend the reception following the golf round. The school with the most members on the dean’s list receives a one-stroke advantage for one team in the best-shot competition.

Details are available on the registration form, which includes email addresses for each school’s organizers in case there are additional questions.

Supreme Court Opinions
April 29

No. 14–0067 

A defendant requests further review of a court of appeals decision affirming the denial of a motion to suppress evidence obtained after a police officer searched a closed backpack. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS VACATED; DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT REVERSED AND CASE REMANDED.


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