Iowa Lawyer Weekly (12/03/2014)
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December 3, 2014
Past Issues

Board of Governors to meet next week

The ISBA Board of Governors will come together for the Winter 2014 BOG Meeting at the Meadows Events and Conference Center in Altoona Dec. 8. Members are encouraged to reach out to their district representatives prior to the meeting to discuss any concerns with items on the agenda.

On the consent agenda, the board is expected to fill a vacancy on the Iowa LawPAC Board of Directors, approve a resolution honoring deceased ISBA members, and discuss land title standards changes provided by the ISBA’s Real Estate and Title Law Section.

On the legislative agenda, ISBA Legislative Counsel Jim Carney will provide a status report on proposed legislation. Parties with vested interests in this year’s legislation will also provide reports.

Other discussion items include courthouse security concerns, Iowa Legal Aid’s proposal for a $100 assessment on Iowa attorneys, Rural Practice Committee updates, budget updates and informational reports in response to the Basic Skills Course and the Board of Law Examiners.

Members interested in learning more about the topics to be discussed may view the BOG meeting agenda here. Members can find their BOG representatives’ contact information on the website by navigating to "Member Groups,” then clicking on "Board of Governors,” or click here. Also, phone numbers to all the current BOG members can be found on page 3 of every issue of the Iowa Lawyer magazine.

Recommendations issued for reducing racial and ethnic disparities

Iowa’s state court administrator and the director of Iowa’s Department of Human Rights released a final report Nov. 20 from the Community and Strategic Planning (CASP) Advisory Committee regarding racial and ethnic disparities found in Iowa’s juvenile justice system.

The report titled, "Recommendations and Action Plan for Reducing Disproportionate Minority Contacts in Iowa's Juvenile Justice System,” includes a total of 33 specific recommendations in seven general categories. The full report can be viewed on the Iowa court’s website here, or by navigating to, clicking on "Administration,” then, "Reports.”

In cooperation with the Iowa DHR, Iowa's state court administrator appointed the diverse 23-member CASP Advisory Committee in October 2013. The committee included representatives from state and local agencies and professional groups that are directly involved in decision-making in juvenile delinquency case processing in Iowa, and representatives from various organizations that advocate for the rights of racial and ethnic minorities.

Foundation meeting rescheduled

The Iowa State Bar Foundation meeting has been rescheduled for Sunday, Dec. 7 at 1 p.m. at The Iowa State Bar Association building in Des Moines. The meeting was originally scheduled alongside the Board of Governors’ meeting Dec. 8.

Grant requests from the following organizations will be discussed during the meeting: ISBA YLD Know Your Constitution Committee, ISBA Center for Law & Civic Education, ISBA Public Relations Committee – Media Relations Subcommittee, ISBA Rural Practice Committee and the ISBA Loan Repayment Assistance Program.

Results of the scheduled meeting will be printed in the January/February issue of the Iowa Lawyer. For questions about the foundation, to donate, or to become a life fellow, email or call 515-697-7870.

U of I’s 2014 Cornshucker Challenge in need of attorney-judges

The University of Iowa Mock Trial Program has hosted a tournament called the Cornshucker Challenge every year for the past 14 years. To run this tournament, the organizers rely on local volunteers to help judge the rounds.

This year, the tournament will be held on the University of Iowa campus Dec. 6-7. The event is coming up soon, yet the group is still in need of judges. Each day of the competition there will be two rounds, one beginning at 9:30 a.m. and the other at 2:30 p.m. with a judges’ meeting a half an hour before each round to explain judging expectations.

The University of Iowa was one of the founding institutions for the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA). It participated in the first ever National Championship Competition in Des Moines in 1985. The University of Iowa Mock Trial Club was founded in 1991, six years after the Hawkeyes began competing in AMTA.

For more information about the program, visit the University of Iowa Mock Trial website at For questions or to sign up to be a judge, contact Kimberly DePalma, president of the University of Iowa Mock Trial Program at

Government job opening: Special Assistant U.S. Attorney

The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Iowa in Sioux City is seeking an attorney to work on a variety of narcotics and narcotics-related criminal investigations and prosecutions.

Applicants must possess a J.D. degree, be an active member of the bar (any U.S. jurisdiction), and have at least one year post-J.D. legal or other relevant experience. Applicants will be expected to do their own legal research and writing, and must be substantially self-sufficient in preparing day-to-day correspondence and pleadings.

Application deadline is Dec. 10. For more information regarding this opening visit, or click here for the job listing.

2015 Iowa Lawyer magazine changes

Beginning in 2015, readers of the Iowa Lawyer may notice a few changes. The magazine will go from 32 pages to 40 pages per issue, the entire issue will be full-color and the number of issues will reduce from 11 issues to eight issues annually.

The issues will be published bi-monthly starting in January, and two special editions will be published once in the spring and once in the summer. The following is when the Iowa Lawyer is tentatively scheduled to hit members’ mailboxes:

January/February - Jan. 20
March/April - Mar. 18
Special Edition I - Apr. 15
May/June - May 15
July/August - July 15
Special Edition II - Aug. 15
September/October - Sept. 15
November/December - Nov. 20

Advertising will not be affected by the upcoming changes. Those interested in advertising in the Iowa Lawyer can do so by contacting Alex at Larson Enterprises at or by calling 515-440-2809. Anyone interested in submitting editorial content to the Iowa Lawyer should contact the ISBA communications office at or by calling 515-697-7896.

In Other News...

Small communities struggle to recruit lawyers
Douglas and Janice Secrist sat in the Knuth Law Office to finalize their last will and testament, entrusting the certification to Adrian Knuth, a lawyer they've worked with for 25 years. Not surprising, there are no lawyers working in their unincorporated hometown of Viola. But considering their rural location, having legal services 15 minutes away is a luxury these days, and one some fear will become more concentrated in metros as aging attorneys retire.
The Cedar Rapids Gazette

Law School Deans Question Sharp Drop in Bar Exam Scores
Law schools are turning up the heat on the nation’s leading bar exam group over what they say is an inexplicable drop in student scores on the most recent test. Dozens of law school deans across the country attached their names to a letter sent to the National Conference of Bar Examiners on Tuesday demanding a "thorough investigation of the administration and scoring” of the July 2014 bar exam. The letter followed reports of many states, including Texas, Idaho, Iowa, Oregon and Washington, seeing an unusually steep decline in bar exam scores compared with last year’s performance. Passage rates plunged by more than 10 percentage points in some cases.
Associated Press via The Wall Street Journal Law Blog

US high court asked to review Iowa law school case
University of Iowa law school officials have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block a second trial over whether they improperly passed over a conservative scholar for a faculty position. The filing last week is the latest development in a hotly contested, five-year-old lawsuit that has been closely watched in higher education. But justices only accept a tiny fraction of petitions for review, and an attorney for Teresa Wagner — who claims she was discriminated against by liberal professors — said Monday he would oppose the request later this month.
Associated Press via Times Union

Get Ready for Some Law Schools to Close
In the world of law schools, every day is sort of like Black Friday. OK, slight exaggeration. But with applications in free fall, schools are locked in a brutal competition to attract students who might theoretically one day be qualified to sit for a bar exam. And that, the New York Times reports today, has meant slashing tuition and dolling out discounts. At Northwestern University School of Law, one of the top ranked institutions in the country, "74 percent of first-year students this academic year received financial aid, compared with only 30 percent in 2009,” the paper notes. The University of Iowa, University of Arizona, and Penn State University have cut their prices. J.D.s are on sale!

The Register's Editorial: Agencies trying to price citizens out of access
Is the Iowa Department of Corrections a model of government inefficiency, or does it simply want to keep secret the reports of people sexually brutalized while in the agency's care and custody? Perhaps neither. But it's hard to come up with alternative explanations for the agency's response to an information request from the Marshall Project, a nonprofit organization that monitors the nation's criminal justice system.
The Des Moines Register

Debate: Should Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal?
Since Oregon legalized physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill in 1997, more than 700 people have taken their lives with prescribed medication — including Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old with an incurable brain tumor, who ended her life earlier this month. Advocates of assisted-suicide laws believe that mentally competent people who are suffering and have no chance of long-term survival, should have the right to die if and when they choose. If people are have the right to refuse life-saving treatments, they argue, they should also have the freedom to choose to end their own lives.
NPR via Iowa Public Radio

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.

Nov. 19

No. 13–0888
IN THE INTEREST OF D.S., Minor Child. D.S., Minor Child
On review from the Iowa Court of Appeals.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Allamakee County, Alan D. Allbee, Associate Juvenile Judge.

The State seeks further review of a court of appeals decision reversing a juvenile court order adjudicating a child delinquent based on a finding that she committed harassment, in violation of Iowa Code section 708.7(1)(b). DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS VACATED; JUVENILE COURT JUDGMENT REVERSED AND CASE REMANDED.

No. 13–1228
Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Joe E. Smith, Judge.

Defendant appeals from his conviction for operating while intoxicated (first offense), claiming violation of his right to consult privately with legal counsel before submitting to chemical testing. REVERSED AND REMANDED.

No. 14–0806
IN THE INTEREST OF A.M., Minor Child. HEATHER THOMAS, Subpoenaed Witness
Certiorari to the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Constance Cohen, Associate Juvenile Judge.

Mental health therapist filed an appeal, treated as a petition for a writ of certiorari, challenging juvenile court order compelling her testimony as to treatment of mother in child-in-need-of-assistance action. WRIT ANNULLED; CASE REMANDED.



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