Iowa Lawyer Weekly (08/20/2014)
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August 20, 2014
Past Issues

Supreme Court order amends requirement for retaining original documents under EDMS

In a supervisory order issued last Friday, Aug. 15, the Iowa Supreme Court amended the rule governing the requirements for retaining original documents under EDMS (Electronic Data Management System).

Effective immediately, Rule 16.411(1) is amended to take out the language that "the filer shall retain the original document for.” The order also adds Rule 16.411(2) to provide an exception for authorized governmental agencies that have statutory authority to destroy original documents.

Read the order and the amended rules here.

The Chapter 16 rules are interim rules that govern the process for using EDMS as it is being implemented. Because they are interim rules, they are not published in the Iowa Court Rules.

Upcoming ethics webinars to focus on new approaches for pricing legal services

To further ISBA President Joe Feller’s "Back-to-Basics” initiative, the ISBA’s Ethics and Practice Guidelines Committee will host two free one-hour webinars on pricing one’s legal services. Both sessions take place over the noon hour, with the first scheduled for Sept. 17 and the second for Oct. 15.

The first session will explore how to ethically determine the value of your services. What are your legal services really worth in the market place, how you measure that worth and can you ethically charge for that worth.

The second session will explore the various types of fee arrangements such as fixed price, general retainer and contingency contracts, how you value each service item and how to comply with Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 32:1.5 in their use.

For more information, and to register for the first session on Sept. 17, click here. Get more information and register for the second session on Oct. 15 here. Both registration sites contain information on the requirements for using PC- and Mac-based computers as well as mobile devices such as iPhones, iPads and Android-based phones and tablets.

Iowa Supreme Court adjudicative term calendar announced

The Iowa Supreme Court announced its 2014-2015 adjudicative term calendar, Aug. 18, including special sessions to hear oral arguments in communities around the state. The court's adjudicative term will be from Sept. 2, 2014, to June 30, 2015.

The court will hear special session oral arguments in Iowa City, Storm Lake, Creston, and Decorah. The evening sessions are scheduled for the convenience of members of the public who wish to attend. Drake University School of Law and the University of Iowa College of Law will also host oral arguments with limited seating for the public. There will be a special evening session in Des Moines in February for central Iowa residents who may not have been able to attend the court's regular morning and afternoon sessions.

"In the past three years, the Iowa Supreme Court has visited 13 communities for evening oral arguments and public receptions," Chief Justice Mark Cady said. "Talking with people in these communities has given us a tremendous, first-hand insight into what Iowans expect from their court system now and into the future. During that same time, we have visited 84 high schools, colleges, and universities to talk with students about the role of the Iowa Judicial Branch and the importance of the rule of law in resolving the disputes Iowans bring before us."

The court will continue its regular schedule of oral arguments in Des Moines during the adjudicative term. All Supreme Court oral arguments are open to the public. Oral arguments heard in Des Moines are streamed live on the Internet and archived on the Iowa Judicial Branch website.

Between May, 2011, and April, 2014, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Cedar Rapids, Mason City, Carroll, Council Bluffs, Bettendorf, Ottumwa, Waterloo, Sioux City, Dubuque, Fort Dodge, Burlington, Clarinda, and Toledo. Coinciding with each visit, the justices met with high school and college government and American history classes.

The court's complete calendar for its 2014-2015 term is on the Iowa Judicial Branch website.

The Iowa Courts news release can be seen here and includes a listing of the court’s special sessions.

Federal Courts propose amendments to respective rules and forms

The Judicial Conference Advisory Committees on Appellate, Bankruptcy, Civil, and Criminal Rules have proposed amendments to their respective rules and forms Aug. 15. The courts request that proposals be circulated to the bench, bar, and public for comment.

The proposed amendments, Rules Committee reports explaining the proposed changes, and other information are posted on the judiciary’s website here. The public comment period ends February 17, 2015.

In this period of government fiscal austerity and to promote the use of the internet and other information technologies, the Rules Committee Support Office has eliminated printing pamphlets containing the proposed amendments, but will continue both to send notifications and to post the information online in a printable format. Questions regarding this matter can be sent to the Rules Committee Support Office at 202-502-1820 or via e-mail at

Publisher offers employment law e-book at reduced rate

Van Rye Publishing, LLC recently published an anthology of employment law articles titled Employers and the Law: 2013-14 Anthology of Best Articles. The publisher is offering a discount to members of the Iowa Labor and Employment Law Section, Business Law Section and Corporate Counsel Law Section.

Authored by leading employment law experts, the articles in this book cover ongoing and emerging legal responsibilities stemming from the relationship between employers and employees. Topics addressed in the articles include legal concerns relating to BYOD, workplace bullying, "leaning in," obesity, workplace violence, off-duty conduct, religious accommodation, social media and workplace wellness programs.

The publisher is offering a limited-time discount of 25% off the e-book format price of the book to members of your Section. Members can obtain the discounted e-book by visiting the publisher’s website and enter coupon code FH67L. The discount expires Sept. 30.

The book is also available in paperback and e-book format from Amazon and at most major e-book retailers.

LGBT Bar Assn offers new resource for Iowa tax attorneys

The National LGBT Bar Association is offering comprehensive online tax resources for tax attorneys in order to help navigate state tax laws for same-sex couples.

The online LGBT tax resource is a comprehensive, state-specific resource covering tax laws for LGBT couples in all 50 states. The LGBT tax resource helps same-sex couples, and their legal and tax advisors, navigate complex tax rights, benefits and obligations impacting same-sex couples.

Additionally, the LGBT Bar's Tax Equity Project brings together leading tax law professionals to resolve LGBT tax issues that clients and families are facing following the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in U.S. v. Windsor. The Tax Equity Project is a forum for all practitioners and facilitates communication and shared information about federal tax law for married same-sex couples.

Those interested in getting involved in the LGBT Bar projects can email Michael Busi at

IRS repeats warning about phone scams

The Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) continue to hear from taxpayers who have received unsolicited calls from individuals demanding payment while fraudulently claiming to be from the IRS.

Based on the 90,000 complaints that TIGTA has received through its telephone hotline to date, TIGTA has identified approximately 1,100 victims who have lost an estimated $5 million from these scams.

"There are clear warning signs about these scams, which continue at high levels throughout the nation,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "Taxpayers should remember their first contact with the IRS will not be a call from out of the blue, but through official correspondence sent through the mail. A big red flag for these scams are angry, threatening calls from people who say they are from the IRS and urging immediate payment. This is not how we operate. People should hang up immediately and contact TIGTA or the IRS.”

Read the full article, including characteristics of the scams and tips to avoid being scammed, plus links to report scams at this link.

Protect yourself when using email out-of-office replies

An article in a June issue of the Lawyerist online newsletter discusses some do’s and don’t’s for setting up out-of-office messages in your email. While the simplest approach might be to forego the out-of-office message altogether, author Deborah Savadra writes in the article that not to use it is considered rude since so much correspondence occurs via email and the out-of-office feature is "such a widely-used feature of most email clients.”

The article focuses on the Microsoft Outlook email program. However, the points made apply to any email program.

Read the entire article at this link.

In other news…

Senators oppose tax change for law firms
A bipartisan group of 46 senators signed a letter this week to oppose a proposed tax reform provision that could harm large law firms and lawyers.

In a letter Wednesday to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and ranking member Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the senators voiced concerns about a fundamental change in how law firms and other professional-service firms report and pay taxes.
National Law Journal

States with stand-your-ground laws have seen an increase in homicides, reports task force
"Stand your ground" laws hinder law enforcement, are applied inconsistently and disproportionately affect minorities.

Those were the main findings from the ABA National Task Force on Stand Your Ground Laws. In a preliminary report (PDF) that was officially unveiled during a Friday session at the ABA Annual Meeting, the task force found that states which have some form of stand-your-ground law have also seen increasing homicide rates.
ABA Journal

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