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May 13, 2015
Past Issues

IOLTA Supreme Court grants

The Iowa Supreme Court has approved more than $211,638 in grants to non-profit programs that provide legal assistance to low-income Iowans with civil legal problems. The court awarded grants to 15 different organizations throughout Iowa. The grants are funded by the Interest on Lawyers' Trust Account (IOLTA) program. Over the last 30 years, the supreme court has awarded more than $24.2 million in IOLTA grants since the program began on July 1, 1985.

"IOLTA grants help support important legal services such as the legal hotline for older Iowans and legal services for young Iowans who are victims of sexual assault," Chief Justice Mark Cady said. "Unfortunately, many legal service organizations have suffered severe decreases in state and federal funding. At the same time, demand for civil legal assistance is increasing."

IOLTA grant funds are generated entirely from interest earned on certain pooled trust accounts held by Iowa lawyers. Lawyers practicing law in Iowa are required by court order to deposit clients' funds the lawyers hold in interest-bearing accounts. When the funds involved are so small in amount or held for such a brief period of time that it is not possible for the funds to economically benefit the individual client, court rules require that lawyers deposit the funds in pooled interest-bearing trust accounts.

"There will probably not be IOLTA receipts as high as those in 2009 or 2010 until the Federal Reserve raises interest rates,” said Paul H. Wieck II, director of the Office of Professional Regulation, Iowa Judicial Branch. "Even then, it will take time for the Federal Reserve’s action to be reflected in the interest rates paid on Iowa trust account balances.”

The IOLTA program is managed by a seven-member commission that reviews grant applications and then makes award recommendations to the supreme court. In the 30-year history of the IOLTA program, the supreme court has awarded most of the grants to organizations that assist low-income Iowans with civil legal problems such as divorce, domestic abuse, unsafe housing, and illegal evictions. The court has also presented grants to law-related education projects. IOLTA grants do not support criminal legal defense.

For more information about this year’s grants, click here.

Tara Lawrence new interim director at Iowa Title Guaranty

Tara Lawrence was recently named the interim director for Iowa Title Guaranty. Lawrence graduated with her J.D. from Drake University Law School with honors in 2009 and received her undergraduate degree from Drake as well.

Lawrence currently serves on the board of the Iowa Organization of Women Attorneys, is an active participant in the Polk County Women Attorneys and Commercial Real Estate Women and has been a member of the ISBA Real Estate Section since her admission to the bar. Tara also serves on the American Land Title Association Title Counsel and Real Property Records Committees.

For more information about Iowa Title Guaranty, click here.

Professional photos taken at 2015 Annual Meeting

Members attending the annual meeting who are looking to update their professional photos can take advantage of an opportunity to get a free, professional, digital photo taken right at the meeting site. Meeting attendees can schedule their sessions at the registration desk in the lobby of the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center (formerly Vets Auditorium), the site of this year’s annual meeting.

Photo sessions will be spread throughout the week, but will be limited to scheduled time slots only. Attendees will not have to sign up for a photography session immediately when they sign in at the registration desk, but once the pre-determined time-slots are filled, there will be no more opportunities. It is anticipated that the limited number of sessions will go quickly.

Those interested in guaranteeing a photo session time-slot can contact the ISBA communications department prior to the annual meeting to get first pick of photo-session time-blocks when they become available. Contact the ISBA Communications Department at or by calling 515-697-7898.

To register for the annual meeting, click here.


Early morning Red Mass to be offered for all who seek justice

A celebration to request guidance for the upcoming year for judges, attorneys, law school professors, students and government officials and all who seek justice will be held at 7 a.m. Tuesday, June 16, during the ISBA’s annual meeting. The Catholic service is open to everyone, and offers the opportunity to reflect on the power and responsibility of all individuals who work in the legal profession.

The "Red Mass,” so named because of the red vestments the presider traditionally wears for the service, will be held at St. Ambrose Cathedral on the corner of 6th and High Streets in Des Moines – a few blocks south of the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center (formerly Vets Auditorium) where all of this year’s annual meeting events take place. Richard Pates, bishop of the Des Moines Catholic Diocese, will preside. He will be assisted by Father Brian Feller, son of ISBA President Joe Feller, who will be ordained to the priesthood in early June.

This year’s Red Mass is the second to be held in conjunction with the ISBA Annual Meeting. It is being organized and sponsored by the Saint Thomas More Society, an organization that celebrates the life of its namesake Sir Thomas More, the patron saint of attorneys, statesmen and politicians. The first recorded Red Mass in the United States was at Saints Peter and Paul Church in Detroit, Mich., in 1877.

YLD Eastern Iowa Justice Fore All Golf Tournament

June 5 is the deadline to register online for the 2015 YLD Justice Fore All Golf (Eastern) tournament. This year’s event will be held Thursday, June 11, at Saddleback Ridge Golf Course on the outskirts of Solon, Iowa.

The golf outing is a four-person, best-ball tournament with a shotgun start. Registration includes two beverage tickets for each golfer, hole prizes, awards for the top three teams and plenty of all-around fun. Golf begins at 1:15 p.m. and concludes with a barbeque dinner and awards ceremony when all golfers are finished.

Profits earned through player fees and hole sponsorships support the programs and activities of the ISBA’s Public Service Project, which works to promote access to justice throughout the state.

Online registration is available here. Questions about the event should be directed to Reed McManigal at or 319-887-3688.


In Other News ...

Governor signs ‘Safe at Home’ bill into law
Governor Branstad has signed a bill into law that’s designed to help victims of domestic abuse, stalking, sex abuse and human trafficking who want to keep their address secret, so their abuser can’t find them. "Often the victims live in a state of constant fear,” Branstad said during a bill signing ceremony in his formal statehouse office. "This bill takes the steps to protect victims…by establishing an address confidentiality program in the office of the Secretary of State.”
Radio Iowa

Supreme Court upholds Iowa county’s no-contact order
A court procedure that changes how domestic abuse victims in Muscatine County can ask for modifications to no-contact orders will stand, despite objections from the county's top prosecutor, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday. Muscatine County Attorney Alan Ostergren asked the justices to review a July 22 administrative order from District Judge Thomas Reidel that allows victims in the county to go directly to a judge with requests related to a no-contact order, including terminating the order. Under the rule, a judge would only approve such changes if the county attorney's office signed off.
The Des Moines Register

Exit interviews spur Orrick to adopt generous parental leave policy
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe is adopting a new parental leave policy designed to retain more women lawyers. The law firm says its new parental leave policy is the most generous of any major U.S. law firm, the Am Law Daily (sub. req.) reports. Orrick will offer paid parental leave of 22 weeks and up to nine months of unpaid leave for primary caregivers. Currently the firm offers 18 weeks of paid parental leave and up to seven months of unpaid leave for primary caregivers. A firmwide "leave liaison” will oversee the program.
The ABA Journal

Iowa court clerks get new job descriptions as filing changes
More than 725 court clerks who work at courthouses in Iowa’s 99 counties are getting new job descriptions and titles. Their duties are being updated to reflect changes in the way Iowa courts do business, especially the adoption of a paperless system that requires litigants to file their own court documents electronically. The clerks’ new title will be judicial specialists. Their new job descriptions show they may be expected to have a bigger role assisting judges with courtroom operations.
KCRG, Cedar Rapids Channel 9


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.


Legislative Report - May 13

May 8, 2015

No. 13–1757

On review from the Iowa Court of Appeals. Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Robert J. Blink, Judge.

A father seeks further review of a court of appeals decision denying a change in physical care of the father’s two children after his former wife moved from Polk County to Monroe County with her new spouse. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS AFFIRMED; DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT REVERSED AND CASE REMANDED.

No. 14-0411

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dickinson County, Don E. Courtney, Judge.

An injured person seeks damages based on dramshop liability against a resort that served alcoholic beverages. REVERSED AND REMANDED.

No. 14-1372

Certiorari to the Iowa District Court for Muscatine County, Thomas G. Reidel, Judge.

The Muscatine County Attorney sought a writ of certiorari after the district court issued an administrative order establishing a protocol permitting any person protected by a no-contact order issued in a criminal case to petition the district court for modification or termination of the order. WRIT ANNULLED.

The Iowa Supreme Court recently posted an order for Case No. 13-1072, State of Iowa vs. Kendall Lee Ware. To see the order, click here.



All ISBA members, regardless of the size of the individual law firm, are part of a nearly 8,000-person buying group giving you access to all the significant price breaks that Staples Advantage has created for the program. With Staples Advantage, you now have access to products you use every day at special contract prices.

Aside from office supplies, the Staples Advantage program offers:

  • Breakroom (beverages, snacks, plates/cups, etc…)
  • Cleaning & Janitorial (hand sanitizer, soap, tissue/towels, etc…)
  • Technology (computers, software, printer/fax, etc…)
  • Furniture (file, desk, chair, space planning, etc…)
  • Custom Print (forms, envelopes, business cards, etc…)
  • Promotional Items (pens, mugs, hats, apparel, etc…)

To get more information and to setup your law firm with access to the website, please contact the account manager, Renee Dunatchik. Renee can be reached via e-mail at, or by phone at (734) 452-4729.