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    September 9, 2015   
Past Issues   

Chief Justice requesting comments on proposed amendments to court rules on professional regulation

Chief Justice Mark Cady signed an order Sept. 4 requesting comments on a proposed recompilation of chapters 34, 35 and 36 in Division III (Professional Regulation) of the Iowa Court Rules.

The proposed recompilation will consolidate rules governing procedure before the Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Board in chapter 35, and the rules governing procedure before the Grievance Commission in chapter 36. Consolidation of general administrative provisions, such as rules creating the board and the commission, and rules of a general nature such as jurisdiction, limitations of actions and actions not based on proceedings before the commission would be consolidated in chapter 34.

"The primary intent of the recompilation is to make the procedure rules easier to use, and includes only a few substantive changes,” the order states.

Read the complete order and the format for submitting comments here. Click here for links to the three chapters impacted by the order. Deadline for submitting comments is Nov. 4.

Ag law seminar to address key topics facing farmers and their attorneys

Topics such as "Troubled Financial Times Return to Farming,” and "Farm Land Transactions in a Tepid Market” are part of the 2015 Agricultural Law Seminar to be held from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 17, at the Quality Inn and Suites in Ames, Iowa.

Co-sponsored by the ISBA’s Ag Law Section, the Iowa State University Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation and the Iowa Farm Bureau, the daylong seminar will also feature topics including an introduction to Iowa’s mineral rights law, IRS matters for rural practitioners and the ethical application of new technologies in the law practice.

The seminar qualifies for 7.25 hours of CLE credit. Early-bird registration ends tomorrow, Sept. 10. For more information about the topics and speakers and to register, click here.

Voice your thoughts on topics for upcoming BOG meeting

The next week provides a window of opportunity for expressing your views to your representatives on the ISBA Board of Governors about a couple of items that the BOG will act on at its Sept. 18 meeting in Iowa City.

One of the items is preserving the Federal Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness program which allows attorneys who make 120 monthly payments on their student loans while employed full-time in public service jobs to have the remaining debt forgiven. The ISBA Board of Governors will discuss and vote on a resolution to preserve the PSLF in its current status, and to ask President Bruce Walker and Executive Director Dwight Dinkla to communicate the ISBA’s support to Iowa’s congressional delegation.

According to the American Bar Association, the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year adopted a proposed FY2016 budget resolution that recommends elimination of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program created in 2007. While that proposal was not made formally part of the final budget resolution, lawmakers who oppose the program continue to support its repeal. (More information about congressional action and what you can do about it is available on the ABA website.)

Another item to be acted on by the governors is a proposed reformatting of the ISBA-copyrighted forms used by attorneys for such cases as power of attorney, leasing agreements, etc. The Iowa Legal Forms Committee is recommending, among other changes, the removal of all form borders, a consistent typeface of 12-point Times New Roman for all static and variable text, adjusted margins to comply with EDMS and county recorder standards, a month-day-year format for all dates unless an alternate format is required, and justified text in paragraphs. The reformatting is needed to provide a more professional, consistent look for all forms, according to the committee. To view a sample of a new formatted form, visit here.

A list of all governors by district, as well as ISBA officers, can be found on page 4 of the Iowa Lawyer magazine. The list includes each governor’s and officer’s phone number and email address. An online version of the magazine is available here, or by going to the "Publications” tab on the ISBA website and clicking on "Iowa Lawyer Magazine.” If you wish to express your views via email, simply click on the email address in the online version and a new email message form will open.


Rural practice program matches 25 students/graduates with rural attorneys

A total of 25 students and graduates served as clerks or were hired as full-time associates by rural attorneys this summer. Fifteen of the 25 were 1Ls and 2Ls who worked approximately 10 weeks in a rural practice or, in the case of four students, with county attorney offices. Nine May 2015 graduates and one individual admitted to the bar in April 2015 were hired as full-time associates.

Created in 2010, the ISBA Rural Practice Committee’s goal is to get more young attorneys to practice in rural areas in order to head off the shortages that have reached crisis levels in parts of Nebraska and South Dakota. An estimated 625 rural attorneys in Iowa are 60-plus years of age. Of those, 150 are 70-plus years old, according to statistics compiled by the ISBA’s membership department.

"The committee thanks the attorneys who were willing to hire students as clerks this summer, and those who hired full-time associates,” said Phil Garland, chair of the Rural Practice Committee. "Without their willingness to participate, the program would not be able to fill the gaps created when rural attorneys leave their practices.”

The committee is making plans for the summer of 2016, and will begin recruiting attorneys willing to hire clerks and/or associates in another month or so, he said.

For more information about the rural practice program, click here, or go to the ISBA’s website and click on "Committees” under the "Member Groups” tab, then on "Rural Practice.”

Supreme Court announces FY 2015-2016 adjudicative calendar, special sessions

The Iowa Supreme Court announced its adjudicative calendar for Fiscal Year 2015-2016 yesterday. The calendar includes two special evening sessions in Des Moines, Iowa, and four special evening sessions of oral arguments in Newton, Harlan, Ames and Clinton, Iowa.

The supreme court has visited 17 communities for evening oral arguments and public receptions in the past three years. "Going forward, we plan to add a central Iowa school to our schedule every fall,” said Chief Justice Mark Cady referring to the court’s session on Nov. 16 at West Des Moines, Iowa, Valley High School. "It will be one more opportunity for Iowans to learn more about the value of its court system, and for the supreme court to learn what members of the community expect from their court system as we continue to build for the future,” he said in the news release announcing the 2015-2016 schedule.

The court will also continue its live streaming and archiving of oral arguments on the Iowa Courts YouTube channel, available here.

Check out the Sept. 8 news release to see the dates and locations of the special sessions, as well as a link to the full calendar.


In Other News ...

Drug courts in Fort Madison and Ottumwa facing budget shortfall
They help drug addicts recover, while reducing crime in our communities, but drug courts in southeast Iowa are facing a budget shortfall even as they’re kept afloat for now. It’s a second chance for non-violent offenders, facing time in prison for drug charges. Instead of being locked away, drug courts in Fort Madison and Ottumwa offer an intense program to help drug addicts turn their lives around and stay away from crime. But, this year it lacks funding… and has officials asking if they’ll have enough money to keep its successes going., Davenport

Report: Judges have too much control in public defense system
A tough new report has concluded that the federal government's system for defending poor people needs to change. The nearly two-year study by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers said judges who are supposed to be neutral arbiters too often put their fingers on the scales. The report said defense lawyers for the poor who work in the federal court system need more resources to do their jobs. That means money, not just for themselves, but to pay for experts and investigators.
Iowa Public Radio

Tech companies fight Justice Department over access to data
Apple, Google and Microsoft want to reassure customers that they are fighting the U.S. government’s access to data, resulting in conflicts with the U.S. Justice Department. The New York Times has a report that says the conflicts "reflect heightened corporate resistance, in the post-Edward J. Snowden era.”
The ABA Journal

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