Iowa Lawyer Weekly (11/12/2014)
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November 12, 2014
Past Issues

2015 election season not quite over…

Over the next few months, the Iowa judicial branch will conduct two elections: Election of attorney members in Iowa congressional districts one and three to serve on the State Judicial Nominating Commission and county magistrate appointing commissions.

Due to statutory requirements, these two elections cannot be held simultaneously. Voters will elect county magistrate commission members in December. The voting for attorney members of the State Judicial Nominating Commission from congressional districts one and three will then take place in January.

To avoid confusion over these elections, State Court Administrator David Boyd encourages voters to read the full announcement here. For questions about the election, email or call 515-281-5241.

Chief Justice signs order approving revisions to expedited civil action rule

Chief Justice Mark Cady signed an order on Oct. 30 approving revisions to the expedited civil action rule and recent amendments to Iowa discovery rules. All actions filed on or after Jan. 1, 2015, will be subject to the new rules and forms.

Further details regarding the order can be found on by navigating to "Court Rules & Forms,” then "Recent Amendments & New Iowa Court Rules,” or click here for a full list of resources.

Lawyer Succession Planning Guide available on the ISBA website

The Office of Professional Regulation of the Iowa Supreme Court released the Lawyer Succession Planning Guide just more than three years ago. The guide was recently uploaded to the ISBA’s General Practice Section page as resource material.

The guide, published by the supreme court's Office of Professional Regulation, helps attorneys protect the interests of their clients in the event of disability or death. The guide covers why succession planning is necessary, applicable rules, what happens if no succession plan exists, recommended plans for both sole practitioners and law firms, recommended forms and much more.

The guide is also available on the website by clicking in "For Attorneys,” "Professional Regulation,” then "Client Security,” or click here. It is located toward the bottom of the page. Questions regarding the guide can be sent to Office of Professional Regulation at or 515-725-8029.

You & the Law: Dissolution of Marriage available to public

The ISBA's Podcast Subcommittee of the Public Relations Committee recently released its newest "You and the Law” video regarding dissolution of marriage. The video is a helpful guide for attorneys to share with clients who may be considering a divorce.

"You and the Law” videos are located under the "Public Resources” drop-down menu on the top navigation bar of the ISBA website ( The page also contains a number of brochures and podcasts on various topics.

The informational multimedia products produced by various sections and committees are meant to be used by attorneys who want to offer basic information to clients on various issues. They are not an attempt to provide legal advice. The ISBA encourages viewers to consult with an attorney regarding legal matters to ensure their rights and interests are protected.

Questions or comments regarding the "You and the Law” series can be directed to Chris Fritz at 515-697-7873 or

Nuts and Bolts of Revocable Trusts now on-demand

The ISBA recently published its most recent on-demand CLE on the Nuts and Bolts of Revocable Trusts. The CLE distinguishes the differences between revocable and other types of trusts, and when it is best to use a revocable trust.

The CLE presenters, Mark Grey of Whitfield & Eddy, P.L.C., in Des Moines, and Breanna Young of Nelson, Young & Branland in Earlham, debate the game-changing effects of portability on trusts and discuss the interplay between trustee and agent under the new statutory general Power of Attorney form.

The CLE course was approved for two hours of state CLE. Those interested in viewing the online CLE, can do so by going to and navigating to "CLE Information,” "On-Demand CLE,” "On-Demand CLE Catalog and Previews.” The course is located toward the end of the page, or a course preview can be viewed directly here. To purchase the video, please click here.

Assistant ethics counsel vacancy

The Attorney Disciplinary Board seeks to fill the vacant assistant ethics counsel position at the judicial branch building in Des Moines. The Assistant Ethics Counsel prosecutes cases before the Grievance Commission of the Iowa Supreme Court. The Assistant Ethics Counsel also advises the Board on the interpretation of the rules of professional conduct and proposed changes to the rules, and other matters before the Board.

Applicants must be licensed to practice law in Iowa, possess strong oral and written communication skills, and have knowledge of standard office software. Five or more years of trial and appellate practice is preferred.

The position closes Dec. 22. Those interested must submit a cover letter and completed Iowa judicial branch application for employment. Further details on the application process can be found here.

In Other News...

Rural Areas Face Declining Lawyer Numbers
James Pedersen has spent the past two decades writing wills, preparing tax returns and serving as Ringgold County's judicial magistrate. Now he's ready to retire. Problem is, no one wants to buy his successful rural Iowa law firm. Pedersen, 66, is the only private practice lawyer with a full-time office in Mount Ayr and one of just two active lawyers in Ringgold County.
Des Moines Register

Law Firms Now Prime Targets For Hackers
It’s hard to think of a more concentrated agglomeration of sensitive information than a law firm’s computers or, increasingly, those of its vendors and cloud service providers. Lest there be any doubt, law enforcement officials and an ABA task force have stated it clearly: Law firms are now prime targets for cyber-criminals.
Today’s General Counsel

Decline in Bar Exam Scores Sparks War of Words
A steep decline in bar exam scores on the most recent test has led to an outbreak of finger-pointing over who’s to blame for the downward swing. In a sharply worded letter, the dean of Brooklyn Law School on Monday reproached the head of a national bar exam group for suggesting to law school leaders that their graduates who took the July exam were less prepared than students who sat for the test in previous years.
The Wall Street Journal

How One Lawyer’s Crusade Could Change Football Forever
There are 1.27 million lawyers in the United States, one for about every 300 Americans — about 400,000 more of them than there are doctors. Their work is rarely glamorous, and especially for those just starting out in the profession, it can be grinding and repetitive. Jason Luckasevic, hired out of law school in 2000 by a firm in Pittsburgh, passed the bar exam on his first try and was quickly sworn in to practice.
New York Times

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.


No. 13–0496

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, David F. Staudt, Judge.
A commercial landlord appeals a summary judgment ruling interpreting the parties’ lease as prohibiting the landlord from showing the property to prospective purchasers until ninety days before the end of the lease term. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS VACATED; DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT REVERSED AND CASE REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS.

No. 13–0253
SHELBY COUNTY COOKERS, L.L.C., an Iowa Limited Liability Company vs. UTILITY CONSULTANTS INTERNATIONAL, INC., a Michigan Corporation

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Shelby County, James M. Richardson, Judge.
A utility bill review consultant seeks further review after the district court and court of appeals both concluded the consultant’s short-lived contract with a bacon producer was a contract for services terminable at will. COURT OF APPEALS DECISION VACATED; DISTRICT COURT DECISION REVERSED AND CASE REMANDED.



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