Iowa Lawyer Weekly (05/21/2014)
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May 21, 2014
Past Issues

The ISBA responds to Supreme Court request for public comment on diploma privilege recommendation

In an order issued last week (May 13), the Iowa Supreme Court sought public comment on the ISBA Blue Ribbon Committee’s recommendations to allow diploma privilege for qualified candidates of Iowa’s two law schools, and to replace the current bar exam with the Uniform Bar Exam used in a number of states. The release prompted media requests for comments from the association.

Ben Kieffer interviewed ISBA President Guy Cook alongside State Representative and Boone-based attorney Chip Baltimore on the hour-long River to River program (click here) on Iowa Public Radio yesterday, May 20. Also included in the program was Jim Morrison, a circuit judge in Wisconsin, Meg Gaines, Associate Dean of the University of Wisconsin Law School, and a recent University of Iowa Law School graduate, Natalie Virden.

Several other media outlets such as The Gazette, The Daily Iowan and Business Record also addressed the Supreme Court’s request for comments, and included statements from Cook and the ISBA’s original report.

The Iowa Judicial Branch is accepting public comments by email and offers additional information on its website. Any interested organization, agency, or person may submit comments by email to and must state "Bar Admission Process" in the subject line of the email. The comments must be sent as an attachment to the email in Microsoft Word format. Comments also may be delivered in person or mailed to the Clerk of the Supreme Court, Judicial Branch Building, 1111 East Court Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa, 50319.

Any comments received may be posted on the Iowa Judicial Branch website. The deadline for submitting comments is 4:30 p.m. on July 14. The public hearing is scheduled for August 27 in the Iowa Supreme Court courtroom. The court will determine presenters at a later date.

Illinois Appellate Court judge to speak at annual meeting

This year’s annual meeting will feature a number of presenters. The ISBA will host Ann B. Jorgensen, Illinois Appellate Court judge for the second district, June 18 at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center, formerly known as Veterans Memorial Auditorium.

In a presentation on the state of the future of the law profession, Judge Jorgensen will discuss how law school debt affects the delivery of legal services including lack of public service careers, migration from rural to urban areas of the state, the state of the job market for new graduates and the impact of debt on new grads. Additionally, she will discuss possible solutions for the issues.

Judge Jorgensen was appointed as an associate judge for the 18th Judicial Circuit in 1989. She was assigned to the law division and thereafter appointed supervising judge of the Mandatory Arbitration Program. In 1994, Judge Jorgensen was elected circuit judge and subsequently retained in 2000 and 2006. As a circuit judge, she served as the presiding judge of the Felony Division and the DuPage County Drug Court. In 2005, her fellow circuit judges elected her as Chief Judge of the 18th Judicial Circuit, where she served until her appointment to the Appellate Court in 2008.

To sign up to hear Judge Jorgensen and many of the other featured speakers, members can register for the 2014 Annual Meeting online or by printing and mailing a paper registration form.

How to stay connected in an electronic world dominates Bench-Bar conference

Nearly 130 lawyers and judges descended on Dubuque’s historic Hotel Julien last week for the 2014 biannual Bench-Bar conference to discuss how to stay connected in a digital world.

That topic is particularly important as implementation of the electronic document management service (EDMS) becomes more prevalent around the state. Several attendees expressed concerns that they rarely have face-to-face contact with judges anymore because everything is filed electronically.

During one of the small group discussions following a plenary presentation on what paperless and faceless filing, CLE and messaging mean for the legal system, participants had several suggestions for maintaining personal contact with judges and other lawyers:

· Keep regular order hours in the courthouse

· Put increased emphasis on membership in Inns of Court

· Hold a "Bench-Bar Light” – maybe a half day during annual meeting -- in the years in between the regular biannual Bench-Bar conferences

· Have a periodic memorial service honoring judges and attorneys who have died. Dubuque County holds a memorial service at 4 p.m. on a Friday once a month, attended by many of the judges and attorneys in the area.

· Host a periodic lunch-and-learn session. In Scott County, judges provide the instruction; attendees bring their own sack lunches.

More detailed information about the 2014 Bench-Bar Conference can be found in the May Iowa Lawyer magazine. In the meantime, click here to see a few photos from the event.

Part-time work less appealing to lawyers than other professions

A report by the National Association for Law Placement, Inc. (NALP) shows that lawyers are half as likely to work part-time than other professionals such as architects, doctors and engineers. The percentage, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was about 6.1 percent for lawyers compared with 13.1 percent for other professionals in 2012.

As might be expected, the percentages of lawyers working part-time vary based on gender, the type of lawyer and geographic location. For example, in law firms, the percentage of partners who work part-time is 3.4 percent, with men accounting for 1.3 percent of the part-time workers and women 2.1 percent. At the associate level, a total of 4.7 percent of lawyers work part-time with the breakout being .4 percent men and 4.3 percent women.

"The utilization of part-time schedules for all lawyers has dropped now for three years in a row, and it has dropped for both partners and associates,” notes James Leipold, NALP's Executive Director. "Given the direction the data is heading, I feel confident calling this a post-recessionary trend at this point.”

NALP is an association of more than 2,500 legal career professionals who advise law students, lawyers, law offices, and law schools in North America and beyond. It has compiled information on part-time employment since 1994.

"What we don't know from the data we have is anything about causation,” Leipold says. "We can identify the trend, but we cannot say why it is happening. It may be that in this economic climate there is a perceived pressure to not utilize the part-time option. There may also be economic concerns for families that are driving more lawyers to choose to work full-time.”

Read the full NALP report, which includes a breakout of statistics based on size of law firm, location and other factors.

LegalZoom hits a legal hurdle in North Carolina

LegalZoom appears to have hit a roadblock, or at least a bump in the road, in North Carolina.

According to a report in the ABA Journal’s Law News Now, Judge James L. Gale, a Special Superior Court Judge for Complex Business Cases in North Carolina, issued an order and opinion on March 24 concerning various motions in a suit involving claims and counterclaims between LegalZoom and the North Carolina State Bar. The bar association argues that the company engages in the unauthorized practice of law and also failed to meet filing requirements in seeking approval to run a prepaid legal services plan in the state.

Gale ruled that the company had not exhausted administrative remedies for the prepaid legal services plan and said the UPL issue is so complex he wants to know more before deciding.

Read more here.

Save the Date: 6th annual World Congress

The International ADR Society is hosting the 6th Annual World Congress at the Drake University Law School Legal Clinic in Des Moines Oct. 17-18. The conference, moderated by Ali Nouraei, an English Barrister from London, England, is featuring Mediation: A Golden Opportunity for Americans to Share Peacemaking Around the Globe.

The conference will include a variety of mediation topics from speakers from around the world. Dubai, Lebanon, France, India, and Ukraine are just a few of the countries represented. Both national and local speakers will also present at the event.

The INADR has applied for 15 hours of CLE.

For more information about the World Congress, people can visit the INADR webpage or contact Susan Ewing at 515-283-0331 or

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.

Did You Know...

as an ISBA member, you can securely deliver and access confidential correspondence, discovery documents and other case files faster and without size limits through ShareFile at a discounted rate? A limited number of ShareFile accounts are available to members for $5 a month, and you receive a 20-percent discount on any regular-priced ShareFile plan.

Click here for more information on ShareFile and how to take advantage of the service.

Benefit of the Week

Caselaw Update
Caselaw Update is a free email service that keeps you abreast of recent cases that have been added to the Iowa Bar’s case law archives. Once you are subscribed, you will receive an email each time decisions are handed down by the Iowa Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. Each edition summarizes recent cases by topic and provides direct links to the full text of each decision.

Subscribe to Caselaw Update here.

Iowa Supreme Court Decisions

May 16, 2014

No. 12-0649

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Jeffrey L. Poulson, Judge. Appeal and cross-appeal from a judgment entered by the district court on a claim for defamation of character. JUDGMENT OF THE DISTRICT COURT REVERSED; CASE DISMISSED.

No. 12-2221

On review from the Iowa Court of Appeals. Appeal from the Iowa District Court for O’Brien County, Charles K. Borth, Judge. The State seeks further review of a court of appeals decision reversing a district court’s denial of a motion to suppress evidence of Breathalyzer-test results. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS AFFIRMED; JUDGMENT OF DISTRICT COURT REVERSED AND CASE REMANDED.