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    October 21, 2015
Past Issues  

A message from ISBA President Bruce Walker

In the past week, you received an email or two from the ISBA promoting October as Pro Bono Month and encouraging you to consider taking a VLP case. I would like to add my endorsement to this effort.


Pro bono legal services are an important part of our profession. They are something all of us can do. I find them to be a rewarding part of my practice. The gratitude that I have received from clients I have assisted is very heartwarming.


I have been volunteering and providing pro bono representation for as long as I can remember.  It isn’t always through the traditional referral programs. I have taken cases in the Iowa City area that other programs or agencies can’t take. The reason I do pro bono is because as an Iowa lawyer, I can provide a service to individuals in need that other professions can’t do.  It is the right thing to do.


Please review the cases that you received by email. Pick one, even if it is not in your preferred area of practice. As an association, let’s provide access to justice for our neighbors around the state.

Supreme Court issues orders on uniform bar exam, rules of professional conduct, amendments to Chapter 46

On Thursday last week, the Iowa Supreme Court filed three orders adopting amendments to Chapter 31 of the Iowa Court Rules to accommodate implementation of the Uniform Bar Exam, adopting updates to the Rules of Professional Conduct and amending Chapter 46 of the Iowa Court Rules.


Uniform Bar Exam (UBE)

The court officially adopted the UBE as the exam for all individuals seeking licensure in Iowa on Aug. 4, and requested comments on its proposed amendments to Chapter 31 of the Iowa Court Rules needed to incorporate the UBE. Based on those comments, the court issued the amendments, effective immediately, to chapter 31. A complete list of the nine amendments can be found here.


Rules of Professional Conduct

Amendments to the Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct in Chapter 32 of the Iowa Court Rules allow them to remain consistent with the American Bar Association’s Model Rules. This maintains uniformity with the rules of many other jurisdictions and allows attorneys to be familiar with the ethics rules of other jurisdictions where they may practice. It also facilitates legal research of ethical issues and interpretation of ethical obligations. Read the changes to the rules.


Chapter 46 of Iowa Court Rules

Adoption of the amendments last week adds a new section, 46.17, to chapter 46 of the court rules, along with other changes. Section 46.17 allows stenographic shorthand reporters from other jurisdictions to apply for certification in Iowa through reciprocity, provided they meet specified requirements. The full chapter with the new section added and other changes indicated can be found here.

Authors to discuss book on Iowa Supreme Court’s Varnum decision

The Iowa History Center at Simpson College will host former Des Moines Register journalists Tom Witosky and Marc Hansen in discussions of their book, "Equal Before the Law, How Iowa Led Americans to Marriage Equality,” on Tuesday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m., in Hubbell Hall I, Kent Campus Center, Simpson College, Indianola, Iowa.


The book explores the background events that led up to the unanimous April 2009 Iowa Supreme Court decision striking down the state’s 1998 Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional. The book goes back to the first Iowa Territorial Court decision in 1839, In the Matter of Ralph (a colored man) on Habeus Corpus, and traces the history of court decisions and legislative activities since that time to demonstrate the historical foresightedness of Iowa’s courts.


The Hubbell Hall, Kent Campus Center address is 701 North C Street in Indianola. For more information, call 515-961-1528.


Reminder: Free on-demand CLE for attorneys five or fewer years in practice

ISBA members who have been admitted to the bar for five or fewer years may view any, or all, of the ISBA’s on-demand video courses free of charge. This member benefit is designed to help young attorneys gain knowledge and learn from the experiences of presenters who have insights into specific areas of the law.


There are nearly 30 on-demand video courses listed on the ISBA website. All qualify for varying levels of CLE credit that may be applied to the annual 15-hour-per-year requirement. However, the Iowa Supreme Court limits the number of CLE hours that can be obtained from on-demand video courses to six hours in a year.


ISBA CLE programs are now available on-demand through PC, Mac, iOS, or Android devices. This allows you to view mobile-ready content whenever you need, wherever you are


To view the ISBA’s on-demand catalog listing all courses available, click here. Each video can be previewed before selecting. To select a video, click on the "View Product” button next to the video. That opens up the video’s product page, which requires members to log into the ISBA website in order to purchase the video. Click on "add item” to purchase, and go through the checkout process. The website will recognize individuals who qualify for the free videos and offer those videos at no charge.

Harlan is next community to host Supreme Court oral arguments

The Iowa Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of State of Iowa v. Taquala Monique Howse, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4, at the Harlan High School Auditorium, 2102 Durant St., in Harlan, Iowa.


The Howse case involves the issue of whether a stun gun is a dangerous weapon under Iowa Code section 702.7. Howse was convicted in district court for carrying such a weapon. That conviction was reversed by the Iowa Court of Appeals. The state sought and received further review by the supreme court.


Attorneys’ briefs for the case are posted on the judicial branch website.

Registration now open for 2015 Bloethe Tax School

Registration is now open and the schedule is set for the 2015 Bloethe Tax School to be held at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown in Des Moines, Iowa, Dec. 2 - 4.

Among the topics on tap for this year’s school are a presentation on the Affordable Care Act, recent developments in planning for retirement benefits, partnership reorganizations and terminations and tax consequences of entity conversions.


The complete schedule, fees and online registration can be seen here. A printable registration form is available here. Early-bird registration ends Dec. 1.

Iowa DIA general counsel position

The Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals is seeking an attorney to serve as general counsel for the department. Applicants must have graduated from an accredited law school and have the equivalent of five years of full-time successful and responsible experience in the practice of law, or the equivalent of three years of full-time experience in the practice of law in the employing agency. The attorney hired will provide legal counsel to the department and to its divisions and attached units. He or she will also advise on employment issues.


For more information about the position, click here. To apply, email a cover letter and resume to Betty Tschetter, Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals at,
or fax them to 515-242-6863 by Nov. 30, or until the position is filled.


In Other News ...

Court ruling gives 32,000 Iowa households tax refunds

About 32,000 Iowa households are eligible for refunds on their state income tax returns over the past three years after a May U.S. Supreme Court ruling that affects income surtaxes for schools. But property owners in about 280 Iowa school districts will have their property taxes automatically raised to make up for any lost school funding, Department of Revenue officials said.

The Des Moines Register


Inside Iowa’s new maximum security prison

One year and nine months after the completion of the new Iowa State Penitentiary, more than 500 of Iowa’s most dangerous offenders were transferred to the new grounds. On this edition of River to River – a look inside Fort Madison’s new $166 million maximum security prison. Host Ben Kieffer and producer Emily Woodbury take a tour with Warden Nick Ludwick, who says the architecture of the new prison helps maximize safety, even with fewer security guards. He also says that the penitentiary has a certain "vibe” due to the effort he and his staff put towards mutual respect.

Iowa Public Radio


Dubuque’s Legal Aid office comes to the rescue

In mid-June, David Beals started experiencing severe chest pain he thought was a sign of a heart attack. Beals, 60, eventually discovered he has pleurisy, a painful inflammation of the tissue in his lungs and chest cavity, along with a partially collapsed lung. The pain problems caused him to miss some work, a situation made more complicated by garnished wages due to decade-old unpaid medical bills., Dubuque

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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