Iowa Lawyer Weekly (08/27/2014)
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August 27, 2014
Past Issues

Public hearing held today for ISBA diploma privilege recommendation

Justices of the Iowa Supreme Court held a special public hearing today, Aug. 27, to listen to speakers present on the ISBA’s Blue Ribbon Committee diploma privilege proposal. The Supreme Court made video of the event available on their website here.

Chief Justice Mark Cady informed the attendees of the hearing that the Supreme Court would listen to each side of the issue and would make a decision regarding the proposal as soon as possible. He didn’t provide an expected date of decision. A list of speakers can be found on the Iowa Courts website.

The Blue Ribbon Committee recommended to replace the current multi-state bar exam with a diploma privilege concept, replace the current bar exam with the Uniform Bar Exam for those graduates from other schools or those who wish to take an examination for practice in Iowa and retain the comprehensive Character and Fitness Screening of Applicants and successful completion of the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination as requirements for admission to practice.

The Blue Ribbon Committee’s recommendations were unanimously approved by The ISBA’s Board of Governors, the policy-making body for this association, and submitted to the Iowa Supreme Court for consideration in December 2013. More information on the Blue Ribbon Committee’s proposal can be found on the homepage of the ISBA website, including a video of Immediate Past President Guy Cook who was unable to attend the public hearing.

Look for Judicial Performance Review survey soon

The biannual Judicial Performance Review (formerly called the "plebiscite”) will open Tuesday, Sept. 2, for members to evaluate judges who’ll be standing for retention this November. The survey will be available for members to register their evaluations until Thursday, Sept. 11.

There are 70 district and associate district court judges standing for retention this year (see list here). Two Court of Appeals judges – Thomas Bower and Christopher McDonald -- are also on the ballot. There are no supreme court justices up for retention in 2014.

This year’s evaluations will be done electronically as they have been the last several years. Electronic surveys allow for greater anonymity for the respondents and for quicker tabulation of the results.

You will receive an email on Sept. 2 with a link to the survey. The link in the email is uniquely yours; it will not work if you try to share the email with someone else.

ISBA issues updates on these additional position papers

The ISBA has updated four additional position papers on key legislative issues – Caps on Damages, Civil Justice System Reform, Jury Nullification and Title Insurance. The four join the three position papers – Funding for Legal Services, Indigent Defense and Judicial Branch Budget -- previously updated and reported in the Aug. 13 issue of this newsletter.

The updates are part of President Joe Feller’s "Back to Basics” program. His goal is to make the updated papers available to members for review and comment. Comments should be made to your elected members on the ISBA Board of Governors.

A list of governors by district, along with their contact information, can be found on page 3 of the Iowa Lawyer magazine, or by clicking on "ISBA Board of Governors” on the association’s website under the "Member Groups” tab.

To read the four position papers in their entirety, please click here.

Call for community leaders

The ISBA communications department is looking for ISBA members who are leaders within their communities for a feature in an upcoming Iowa Lawyer magazine. Mayors, project leaders, city council members, club presidents, volunteer coaches, etc. are encouraged to share their stories.

Recommendations can be sent to Recommenders should include the community leader’s name, location, leadership position, contact information and a short background story. A member of the communications department will contact the recommended individual with additional questions.

Help needed with pro bono cases

Don't miss your chance to take on a pro bono case and provide access to justice for a neighbor in need. Thousands of Iowans around the state are in need of assistance that only attorneys can provide.

The ISBA’s Public Service Project has compiled a list of cases throughout the state. Click on this link to view the list.

Several cases have already been placed. Please take a look at the cases that are available in your county or area and consider volunteering to take one. When you find a case that you are willing to accept, simply click on the link which will connect you to the email of the placement program responsible for the case.

Supreme Court seeks comments on court interpreter rules

Chief Justice Cady has signed an order requesting public comments regarding the rules governing court interpreters--Chapters 47 and 48 of the Iowa Court Rules. The deadline for submitting comments is 4:30 p.m. Oct. 21.

See links to the court order, which includes instructions for submitting comments, as well as the amendments to chapters 47 and 48 here.

Need a conference room table?

A member recently contacted us about a conference room table that will not fit in the new offices he and his staff are moving into. The table is a custom racetrack conference table 19’6” x 8’ in four sections of 58 1/2” each.

The table is made of cherry/elm wood with a Carpathian elm burl in the center. It seats 20 people, and has electrical outlets underneath.

The price is about one-fifth the price paid when new and includes the table and chairs. It will be available the last week of October.

If interested, contact Ed Whitver at 515-223-6564, ext. 201, or via email at

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...

that you can introduce yourself to potential clients by joining the ISBA’s FIND-A-LAWYER program? Participation is fairly simple and relatively inexpensive. Annual fees for participating are $100 for the first lawyer in a firm, and $20 for each additional attorney in the same firm. Click here for information and to download the application form.

Benefit of the Week

WordRake Editing Software
WordRake editing software instantly edits your writing to make it clear and concise. A Microsoft Word add-in, it will edit 10 pages in 30 seconds and offer an average of 100 suggestions inline – no explanations, no instructions, no "grades,” just pure editing – like a human editor, only faster. About 90-95% of WordRake edits are accurate, and you accept the ones you like to create a clearer, more concise document. There is nothing else like WordRake on the market.

Visit WordRake’s website
to learn more or buy. Iowa State Bar Association members receive a 10% discount at checkout when they use the coupon code: ISBA