Iowa Lawyer Weekly (12/18/2013)
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December 18, 2013
Past Issues

Attorneys to pay special court assessment in 2014

All Iowa-licensed attorneys, except those on full-time military service and registered house counsel, will see an increase in the fees they pay with their Annual Client Security Report in 2014.

Lawyers in full-time private practice will pay a special assessment of $140 in addition to the $175 fee they pay for support of the lawyer discipline system. Lawyers in part-time private practice, judges, government lawyers and corporate lawyers who are subject to the special assessment will pay $70 on top of the $175 disciplinary fee.

The additional fees are necessary to support the increase in claim reimbursement limits, assessments and the sufficiency threshold calculation for the Client Security Trust Fund. Those changes in the court rules were adopted Nov. 26 after comments from several constituencies and groups.

Read a summary of the changes to court rules 39 and 40 on the judicial branch website here.

Bar Foundation reminds friends of deceased attorneys to consider memorial gifts to the foundation

The board of directors of the Iowa State Bar Foundation is asking friends of the attorneys who died during 2013 to consider making a gift to the foundation in the person’s memory. The request is particularly timely as the 2013 calendar year winds down and individuals are looking for opportunities to deduct charitable contributions on their income tax returns.

A memorial contribution to the foundation helps fund numerous law-related projects important to lawyers and Iowa citizens. The contribution will be recognized by the foundation in its publications and in a personal notification to the families of the deceased attorneys.

You can make a contribution in two main ways: 1) Go to the ISBA website and click on "Contributions” under the "Store” tab in the gold bar near the top of the homepage. Click on "Iowa State Bar Foundation” and follow the instructions. The process is similar to buying an item online. 2) Send a check made out to the Iowa State Bar Foundation to Mary Hill, foundation liaison, at 625 East Court Ave., Des Moines, IA 50309. Please note on the check or in accompanying correspondence the name of the person for whom the memorial gift is given.

To see a list of names of those attorneys who died in 2013, click here.

Nominations for district nominating commissions due end of the year

The deadline for nominating individuals to be on the ballot next month for the election of judicial district nominating commissioners is fast approaching.

In order to be listed on the ballot, an eligible elector must file a nominating petition in the State Court Administrator’s office on or before Jan. 1. There are two vacancies (one man and one woman) in every judicial election district.

Click here for a blank petition form. Contact Tina Schweitzer at, or via phone at 515-281-5241 with questions.

Reminder: Don’t fall short on ethics credits

Changes to Iowa Supreme Court Rules 41.3 and 42.1 now require that Iowa-licensed attorneys have three hours of ethics every two years. If you’re short on ethics hours, consider participating in one or more of the three ethics seminars the ISBA is sponsoring before the end of the year.

The three include: "Taxation Legal Ethics” tomorrow (Dec. 19), "Responding to Ethics Complaints,” Friday (Dec. 20) and "Impaired Lawyers: The Impact on the Person and Ethics” Tuesday (Dec. 31).

More details about each, as well as registration information, is available on the ISBA website.

Checking on your CLE credit status

Not sure where you stand on the required 15 hours of CLE credit for 2013? Or on the required ethics hours?

Check out your status with the CLE Commission on the Office of Professional Regulation’s website. The address is: You can look up how many hours of CLE programs have been approved for state and ethics hours. You can also see how many hours you have carried over.

Happy Holidays!

Best wishes for this holiday season from President Guy Cook and his family including Jimi Hendrix, his late son John’s dog, shown here with Santa! May you have a joy-filled Holiday and a prosperous, successful New Year!

Editor’s Note: The next Iowa Lawyer Weekly newsletter will be published after the holidays on Wednesday, Jan. 8. However, we will publish a special edition before that time if news develops that would have a significant impact on members.

A reminder, too, that the bar office will close at noon on Tuesday, Dec. 24, and be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Did You Know...

as a member of The Iowa State Bar Association, you have access to at least a dozen practice tools to assist you with your practice? Simply click on "Practice Tools” on the home page of the ISBA website (, then select the tool you want to use.

Benefit of the Week

2013 Probate & Trust Law Manual

A new edition of the Probate & Trust Law Manual is now available to ISBA members at a discounted member price.

The new probate manual includes:
• Information List
• Checklist of Important Dates
• Checklist of Important Dates (Estates)
• Probate Manual Forms (PMF) (Estates)
• Probate Manual Forms (CSTF) (Trusts)
• Probate Manual Forms (GCF) (Guardianships and Conservatorships)
• Asset and Debt List
• Estate Procedures Checklist
• Checklist for Probate without Present Administration
• Probate Manual Letters (PML)
• Internet Links

The manuals will not be available until the beginning of 2014. To pre-order your copy, please click here. Members, please make sure to sign in to get the reduced member rate.

Iowa Supreme Court Decisions

December 13, 2013

No. 12-0064

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Cerro Gordo County, James M. Drew, Judge.

A farm creditor seeks further review of a court of appeals decision reversing a district court ruling that found it had subject matter jurisdiction to foreclose a mortgage on agricultural property. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS VACATED IN PART AND AFFIRMED IN PART; DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT AFFIRMED.

No. 12-0122

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Howard County, Margaret L. Lingreen, Judge.

Appellant challenges the venue of the district court that issued a domestic abuse protective order against him. AFFIRMED.