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    July 22, 2015   
Past Issues   

Title Standards updated

Changes to two title standards approved by the ISBA Board of Governors at its annual meeting in June have now been posted on the ISBA website. The approvals were based on recommendations by the ISBA Real Estate & Title Law Section’s Title Standards Committee.

Revisions approved include Revised Title Standard 6.1 pertaining to the showings required for foreclosures (generally) and Revised Title Standard 1.4 pertaining to abstracts.

You can download the entire set of title standards in PDF or Word formats from the ISBA’s website by clicking on "Title Standards” under the "Practice Tools” tab. To be taken directly to the list of new and revised standards and the links to download the entire set, click here.

YLD’s mentorship program kicks off with training session

The YLD held a training session Monday, July 20, at Drake University Law School in Des Moines, Iowa, to provide YLD Mentorship Program participants with tips and examples to make the most of their year-long mentoring relationships. West Des Moines attorney and mediator, Kim Stamatelos, provided an energetic dialogue on mentoring strategies.

Stamatelos stressed the importance of establishing a solid foundation at the beginning of the mentoring relationship to ensure the relationship provides value to both parties. To build a good foundation, she advised mentoring pairs to take time at the onset of a relationship to consider the following:

1) Identify the purpose and expectations of the relationship,

2) Set necessary boundaries between the mentor and mentee, and

3) Establish a schedule of regular interactions.

Begin with a project in mind and provide a measure of accountability, she advised. She stressed the importance of regular interactions. In her own mentoring relationships, she meets with mentees in person once a month and asks that her mentees provide her with an accountability email once a week to review progress on their established goals. She said it‘s important for mentors to provide healthy empowerment, share life experiences and provide resources so that mentees can make their own informed decisions.

Program participants could attend the event in person or via webinar. And, for widest dissemination of the training session, the ISBA recorded the session and will make it available on the ISBA website soon. Direct links to the recorded webinar video and Stamatelos’ Effective Mentoring outline will be shared in next week’s Iowa Lawyer Weekly.

In addition to being a mediator and collaborative attorney, Stamatelos is an adjunct professor of law at Drake University Law School and is the author of the book The Compassionate Lawyer. She teaches and trains in mediation, collaborative law and compassionate lawyer topics. She can be reached by email at For questions about the YLD Mentorship Program, contact

Justice Stras shares insights and predictions at U.S. Supreme Court term review

Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras presented a review of the October 2015 U.S. Supreme Court term July 16 at ISBA headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, as part of the Iowa Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society’s annual Supreme Court review. Stras’ remarks on this historic term ranged from the major decisions to highlights of "sleeper” cases that may greatly impact the day-to-day work of lawyers and courts.

For example, as a result of the ruling in Johnson v. U.S., a case focused on the constitutionality of the residual clause in the Armed Career Criminal Act, Stras predicts an increase in claims that criminal statutes are void for vagueness. Also, based on the decision in North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC, a case focused on whether a state professional regulatory board had state-action immunity from antitrust law related to its actions towards non-dentists, Stras predicts potential changes in state supervision and the way boards interact with market participants.

When asked to remark on the impact of the media’s emphasis on phrases in recent dissenting opinions, like "[p]ure applesauce,” Stras said that he wondered whether the term’s elevated rhetoric is good for the court.

Stras became an associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court July 1, 2010. Prior to his appointment, Stras was a member of the faculty of the University of Minnesota Law School from 2004 through 2010. In addition, Stras clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas of the U.S. Supreme Court.

For more information on developments in federal law, watch for information on speakers and panels to be featured during the December 18 ISBA Federal Practice Seminar at the Embassy Suites Hotel, Des Moines, Iowa, in upcoming issues of the Iowa Lawyer Weekly.


Calling all attorney bloggers

The ISBA Communications Department is looking for members who have taken up the task of blogging on legal topics. The department hopes to feature some of the members’ top blogs in an upcoming issue of the Iowa Lawyer Magazine.

If you write or manage a blog, contact the communications department by emailing a link to your blog to Members’ blogs not only may be featured in the magazine, but could also be sourced in the Iowa Lawyer Weekly eNewsletter. Please also include a short summary of why you decided to start blogging and how it has helped or hindered your practice.

Any questions regarding this call-out can be directed to the ISBA Communications Department at 515-697-7898 or

Iowa Utilities Board attorney position

The Iowa Utilities Board, the utilities division of the Iowa Department of Commerce that regulates the rates and services of electric, natural gas and water utilities, seeks qualified candidates for an attorney position. The successful candidate will provide advice and counsel to a three-member board and the board’s staff as a member of the Office of General Counsel.

Applicants should 1) complete an electronic or paper application form available via the Department of Administrative Services – Human Resources Enterprise website and 2) e-mail,, or send a cover letter and resume, post marked by the closing date of the posting, August 5, Attn: Lynn R. Zook-Slagg, Administrative Assistant 2, Iowa Utilities Board, 1375 E. Court Ave., Des Moines, Iowa, 50319-0069.

To read the complete position description, click here. Questions about the position should be directed to Lynn R. Zook-Slagg, administrative assistant,


In Other News ...

President nominates Strand as U.S. judge
President Barack Obama on Tuesday nominated U.S. Magistrate Leonard Terry Strand to serve as the next U.S. District Court judge for the Northern District of Iowa. Strand’s nomination will next go before the U.S. Senate for a vote. If approved, he will succeed U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett, who took senior status in June. Strand has served in the Northern District as a federal magistrate in Sioux City since 2012. Bennett said last month that Strand will make an "excellent” district judge.
The Cedar Rapids Gazette

Cedar Falls attorney, disabilities rights advocates mark 25 years of ADA
Twenty-five years ago, through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), our nation committed itself to eliminating discrimination against people with disabilities. The U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division is proud to play a critical role in enforcing the ADA, working towards a future in which all the doors are open to equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, integration and economic self-sufficiency for persons with disabilities.
The Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier

Iowa drug court to close due to funding shortfall
Because of budget concerns, the Fourth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services will shut down drug court on Oct. 1. Drug court started in January 2000 as a way to both rehabilitate drug addicts and keep them out of jail. Currently, there are about 40 offenders in the program, said Kip Shanks, the director of the Fourth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services.
The Omaha World-Herald

Prosecutor points out possible abuse of public funds
A man accused of torching his apartment hired a private attorney but then asked the court this week for public funds to hire an arson expert to aid in his defense, which a judge granted. While it’s not a common practice, lawyers and judges say, it does happen and Iowa law allows it if the court determines the defendant cannot afford to pay for a needed expert or some other cost to ensure an adequate defense.
The Cedar Rapids Gazette

Whitcher takes over [Southwest] Iowa Legal Aid
Shelley Whitcher has always just wanted to help others. While at the University of Iowa Law School, Whitcher worked for AmeriCorps, the National Organization for Women, the Nebraska branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ALCU) and even worked at a hospital in Australia for 10 months. "Nonprofits have always been where my heart is,” Whitcher said Monday from her new downtown Council Bluffs office at the Southwestern Chapter of Iowa Legal Aid.
The Daily Nonpareil, Council Bluffs

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.



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