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    October 12, 2016
Past Issues  

OPR warns of trust account theft

The Office of Professional Regulation has been advised that two trust accounts maintained by Iowa attorneys recently were the target of theft by electronic funds transfer (EFT) or automated clearing house (ACH) withdrawal.  Although full details are not yet available regarding the technique used by the thieves, the general pattern reportedly used was to make very small deposits electronically over a space of a few days, to see if the deposits would be accepted without response.  When no response to the deposits occurred, the thieves followed up with a short series of electronic withdrawals, culminating in an unauthorized withdrawal well into five figures.  

Based on the report of theft from these two trust accounts, the Office of Professional Regulation (OPR) recommends that Iowa attorneys be vigilant regarding transactions in their trust account.  Daily monitoring, at a minimum, is appropriate.  Unauthorized activity should be reported immediately to the depository bank for response, which may include closure of the account and opening of a new trust account.

Message to ISBA tax preparers

Doug Struyk, assistant legislative counsel for the ISBA, reports that every year the Iowa legislature considers legislation to determine which provisions Iowa will couple with the Federal Income Tax Code.  Some years this happens sooner than later and preparation of 2016 tax returns will be delayed until the final action is taken. Last session there was significant debate on the extent to which the state should couple with the federal tax code.  In particular, there was much discussion on whether or not to couple on Section 179 Expensing.

The Iowa Department of Revenue (IDOR) has reported to the bar association’s legislative counsel that it is receiving questions from tax preparers regarding various scenarios that would result if the Iowa Legislature does not couple with the Internal Revenue Code in the 2017 Session. Most of these questions pertain to Section 179. According to the IDOR, it is up to the legislature to decide what to do once the session begins and, when that time comes, IDOR hopes to have answers.

In response to these requests, IDOR has decided to start compiling and researching all incoming questions. To that end, ISBA members have been asked to submit questions they cannot answer themselves or answers and insights they would like to run by IDOR. Comments and questions can be sent to Greg Stokke at IDOR and it is requested that commenters provide a courtesy copy to Jim Carney, Doug Struyk, and Shannon Henson so they can use the comments as they lobby the coupling bill.

ISBA notes on Rule 39.18 amendments

In response to several questions regarding Rule 39.18 and attorney succession planning, the ISBA has provided the following brief description of the key changes. Please note public comments can be made until Oct. 31, 2016.

  1. Existing Rule 39.18 effective date delayed until Jan. 1, 2018
  2. July 2016 ISBA Rule 39.18 Study Committee proposed these changes to Court Rule 39.18
  • Proposed changes create a two-tier system of succession planning.
    - Tier one is mandatory reporting of assisting attorney, law firm (can be attorney’s own firm) or qualified lawyer servicing association as part of the annual Client Security questionnaire. Reporting will include where records are kept, including a list of clients.

    - Tier two is a voluntary, but encouraged, written plan. Sample plan and forms to be provided by ISBA if changes are adopted by the supreme court

  • All attorneys in private practice required to participate in first-tier requirements

Above are the key components, but for more information please review the Court’s order and the study committee’s recommendations.


Get to know your justices: Chief Justice Mark Cady

Chief Justice Mark Cady is one of the three Iowa Supreme Court justices standing for retention this Nov. 8. In an effort to educate members and the public about him and his fellow justices and judges, The Iowa State Bar Association has built a website,, which compiles the biographies and Judicial Performance Evaluation scores of each judge up for retention. 

This week, a complete interview with Justice Cady done by former Des Moines Register editorial writer Rox Laird has been added to the website. In this article, you’ll learn more about how Chief Justice Cady decides who his audience is when he writes an opinion and why he has a penchant for carpentry work.

Nuts & Bolts seminars begin next week

The ISBA’s annual Nuts & Bolts seminars are quickly approaching, with registration available until the day of both events.

"Run Your Practice Like a Business and Soar,” "Iowa Trust Accounts 101,” "Summary Judgement and Trial Management Tips” are a few of the nearly one dozen topics that will be covered in the annual Nuts & Bolts seminars taking place next month. The central Iowa seminar will be held Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Johnston. The eastern Iowa seminar will be at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center in Coralville, on Friday, Oct. 21.

Both seminars begin at 8 a.m. with registration, followed by the opening presentation on "Ethics and Trust Accounts." The seminars end at 5 p.m. Both provide seven state hours of CLE credit, which includes one ethics hour.

For more information and to register for the central Iowa seminar, click here. For the eastern Iowa seminar, click here.

Seeking applicants for $100,000 Emil Gumpert Award

The American College of Trial Lawyers is seeking applications for its 2017 Emil Gumpert Award, an annual honor with a $100,000 prize which is awarded to an outstanding program that is designed to improve the administration of justice.  The award is named in honor of the founder of the College, Emil Gumpert.

The 2016 winner is the Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, California. The deadline to submit an application is this Friday, Oct. 14. The application is available here and should be submitted to


Lawyers will have to cut 1,000 words from their arguments in federal appeals briefs
A proposal to trim the maximum word limit in federal appeals briefs by 1,500 words brought such an outcry that the word reduction was trimmed back. The current limit is 14,000 words, but that will change beginning on Dec. 1, the New York Times DealBook blog reports. The new limit is 13,000 words, a cut of 1,000 words, according to How Appealing and David Sellers, a public affairs officer for the for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.
ABA Journal

Neighbors take Kinnick house to court
Residents in Iowa City's Manville Heights neighborhood are going to court to challenge the construction of a 7,500-square-foot house resembling Kinnick Stadium. After a split decision by the Iowa City Board of Adjustment last month that allows the construction of the house to go forward, the Neighbors of Manville Heights Association turned to the legal system, filing a lawsuit in district court on Oct. 5.
Iowa City Press-Citizen

Editorial: Iowans should vote 'yes' to retain judges
To participate in the 2016 general election, you can vote early, absentee or head to the polls Nov. 8. Whenever you get your ballot, don’t forget to turn it over. On the back you’ll see this question: “Shall the following judges be retained in office?” Iowans should vote "yes" to retain each judge unless there is good reason to remove one.
The Des Moines Register



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Attorney I
Scott County, Davenport, IA

Instructor, Paralegal DMACC
Urban Campus, Des Moines, IA

Experienced Transactional Attorney
Nyemaster Goode, P.C., Des Moines, IA

Real Estate Associate
Pugh Hagan Prahm PLC, Iowa City, IA

Director of Program Administration
Iowa Legal Aid, Des Moines, IA

United States Marine Corps Judge Advocate
United States

Employment Litigation Associate
Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP, Des Moines, IA

Claims & Mortgage Release Attorney
Iowa Title Guaranty, Des Moines, IA

Litigation Attorney
Day Rettig Martin, P.C., Cedar Rapids, IA

Associate Attorney
Brady Preston Brown P.C., Cedar Rapids, IA

Executive Director
ACLU of Iowa - Des Moines, IA

Associate Attorney
Pastrnak Law Firm, Davenport, IA

Managing Attorney
Omaha Trial Office - Nationwide, Omaha, NE

Administrative Fellow
University of Iowa Health Care, Des Moines, IA

Project Manager
Iowa Legal Aid, IA

Associate Attorney
Petersen Law, Council Bluffs, IA

Legal Services Request for Proposals
City of West Des Moines, IA


The following individuals applied for admission on motion to the Iowa Bar:

John Michael VanDe Velde, Buckrop & VanDe Velde, Rock Island, IL

Brian E. McGovern, McCarthy Leonard & Kaemmerer, Town and Country, MO

Angela T. Fogt, Faegre Baker Daniels, Minneapolis, MN

Tracy Marie Vetter, Overland Park, KS

Michael E. Norton, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

Anyone with questions or comments on the above applicants should contact: Dave Ewert at the Office of Professional Regulation, 1111 East Court Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50319; Phone: 515-725-8029.


The ISBA offers Fastcase, an online legal research service, to its members for free! Bar members will have access to all 50 states’ supreme court and court of appeals opinions from at least 1950 to the present, along with workers’ compensation decisions, an extensive federal package, and Iowa’s code, administrative code, and constitution.

More ISBA member benefits