Iowa Lawyer Weekly (11/13/2013)
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November 13, 2013
Past Issues

Dubuque County Bar meeting

ISBA President Guy Cook, Executive Director Dwight Dinkla and Assistant Executive Director Harry Shipley traveled to Dubuque yesterday (Nov. 12) to attend the Dubuque County Bar's monthly meeting. Following the meeting, they met with a reporter from the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald.

President Cook brought the attendees up to date on the ISBA’s Blue Ribbon Committee that is examining current practices on educating and licensing attorneys. He also told the Dubuque County Bar members that the biannual Bench-Bar conference will be held at the Hotel Julien in Dubuque on May 14-16, 2014. This is the first time, at least in recent history, that the conference will be held in the eastern Iowa city.

Shipley demonstrated several features of the new ISBA website. He told the attendees that the new website offers many more opportunities to benefit their practices than were available under the old website.

President Cook discussed the ISBA outreach on legal literacy, defense of judges, and the bench-bar conference in an interview with Erik Hogstrom at the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald (see photo) following the county bar meeting.

2013 Bloethe Tax School begins Dec. 4

Wednesday, Dec. 4, marks the opening day of the 2013 Bloethe Tax School. If you haven’t already registered, now is the time. Early bird registration ends Dec. 3.

This year’s tax school will be held at the Downtown Des Moines Marriott Hotel beginning with registration at 8 a.m. The first session – a tax update by Iowa State University Professor Neil Harl – starts at 12:45 p.m.

You have a number of options for receiving materials for this year’s tax school. A hard copy of the 2013 Tax Manual and outlines are included in the registration fee. The tax manual CD is $35 if attending tax school and $50 if not. Organizers point out that the CD contains a number of sections not included in the hard copy manual.

For more information on the topics and presenters and to register, click here.

Forums to replace section listserves on ISBA website; switch planned for early December

The Iowa State Bar Association has migrated to a new member database program and updated its website over the last few months. Things are going well and the few wrinkles that have cropped up are being ironed out.

One of the exciting new features made possible by the new website technology is online forums. These will replace the outdated section listserves that have been used for years. The technology also makes it possible for committees to have their own forums.

The benefits of these new forums are greater flexibility for the members in how they want to participate, a more consistent mechanism for posting messages, and better search functionality as well as improved administration. Also, the very nature of the online forum concept provides for a feature many have been asking for -- a real-time online archive of the information posted.

Educational videos are being created to demonstrate how to access and post inquiries and responses on the forums. More information will be forthcoming in the next few weeks as the existing section listserves are phased out and the forums are phased in. The transition from listserves to forums will begin in early December starting with the section listserves.

Adams appointed as magistrate judge for Southern District

Helen C. Adams will be appointed as the new United States Magistrate Judge for the Southern District of Iowa upon the retirement of Magistrate Judge Thomas J. Shields.

Judge Adams is currently corporate counsel for Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., in Des Moines, and previously was a trial lawyer with the Des Moines firm of Dickinson, Mackaman, Tyler & Hagen, P.C. She will preside primarily in the United States District Courthouse in Davenport, with additional duties at court facilities in Des Moines and Council Bluffs.

Judge Adams received her law degree in 1988 from the University of Iowa, with high distinction and Order of the Coif. From 1988 to 1990, she served as a Law Clerk to U.S. District Judge Harold D. Vietor. In 1990 she joined the Dickinson firm as an associate, becoming a shareholder in 1995. In 2009, she joined the legal department of Pioneer Hi-Bred International.

She served as chair of the ISBA’s Labor & Employment Law Section from 2008-2009.

"Helen Adams will be a first-rate magistrate judge,” said ISBA President Guy Cook. "She has a sharp legal mind, extensive federal experience and a strong work ethic."

Weston elected national president of DRI

Cedar Rapids attorney Mike Weston has been elected president of the DRI — The Voice of the Defense Bar. He was elected last month at the organization’s annual meeting in Chicago.

Weston, who was born in Anderson, Ind., earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa and his law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law. He is a principal at Lederer Weston Craig, with offices in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. He also is a former president of the Iowa Defense Counsel Association and a fellow of the Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers and the American Bar Association Foundation.

DRI is the world’s largest professional organization of defense attorneys with 22,000 members in 30 countries.

Veterans benefits available

Vivian Meyer Betts, managing attorney for the Waterloo Regional Office for Iowa Legal Aid, recently pointed out a website link which provides resource materials for helping military service members, veterans and their families with mental health issues.

The link to lists a number of services available depending on the issue facing the service member, a veteran or both. The website also lists a Veterans Crisis Line with a toll-free phone number for those who need immediate help.

The link also is posted on the ISBA web page for the Military Affairs Committee and the ISBA’s website under the heading "For the Public.”

Campbell argues drug dealer case before U.S. Supreme Court

Des Moines attorney Angela Campbell argued a case before the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this week that could have implications for how a drug dealer is treated when his/her customer dies.

Campbell, who represented a drug dealer sentenced to the federally mandated minimum 20 years in prison for the death of a user, argued that the words of the federal law require that a straight line must be established from her client’s drugs to the user’s death, according to an article in yesterday’s (Nov. 12) New York Times. She argued that, based on the instruction given to the jury at the time of the trial, the heroin he sold to the victim "was not the primary cause of death, but, rather merely played a part in the death.”

The question before the justices was "the meaning of a federal law that requires a mandatory sentence ‘if death or serious bodily injury results from’ drugs sold by a defendant,” according to the New York Times article.

Read the full article, which includes statements from several of the justices.

Did You Know...

that you can "connect” with other members on the ISBA’s new website? Once connected, you can send private messages to the person, view photos they post on their profile page, etc. You can even send messages to all of your connections, or any combination of them, at one time.To connect to another member, type the person’s name in the search box above "Your Member Profile” on your own profile page, then click on the "Connect” button above the person’s name. Enter a short message, if you want, in the window that opens and click the "Request” button. You’ll receive a message when the person accepts or declines.

Benefit of the Week

CLE Season Pass
Receive all of your CLE credits by using The Iowa State Bar Association’s affordable CLE Season Pass. It’s the one and only pass that offers hundreds of CLE credits at the best price in town! For only $550, you can take all the CLE credits you need in a 12-month span. Sign up for the Season Pass today and have the opportunity to choose from over 200 hours of live CLEs in addition to the 20 hours of telephone CLEs the ISBA offers.

Iowa Supreme Court Decisions

November 8, 2013

No. 12-0283

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Webster County, Gary L. McMinimee, Judge.

Defendant attorney appeals judgment on legal malpractice claims, and plaintiff cross-appeals interest issue. AFFIRMED ON APPEAL, REVERSED ON CROSS-APPEAL, AND REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS.

No. 13-0856

On review of the report of the Grievance Commission of the Supreme Court of Iowa.

A witness in a proceeding before the Grievance Commission of the Supreme Court of Iowa filed an interlocutory appeal after the commission quashed the appearance of her counsel. REVERSED AND REMANDED.