A Letter from the President
There has been a lot of discussion in the last year or two
about the reduced funding sources for Iowa Legal Aid. The ISBA supports a new
Pro Hac Vice fee of $250 per case and a stronger lobbying effort both here in
Iowa and in Washington, D.C., to raise more funds to provide civil legal
services for low-income Iowans. Some say that these efforts are inadequate and
that Iowa should now join the ranks of those few state licensing boards that
have adopted mandatory assessments requiring most licensed lawyers and judges
to pay into a fund to support these legal services.
the request of Iowa Legal Aid, a proposal is pending
before the Iowa Supreme Court that would require a mandatory assessment
per attorney per year. As your president, my duty is to ensure you
receive this information so you have the opportunity to file your
Two of our accomplished members have graciously agreed to
share their opinions on this subject. I want to publicly thank both Art
and Joe for helping us present both sides to this issue. Please see their
|Supporting View||Opposing View
Arthur A. Neu - Carroll
in the firm of Neu, Minnich, Comito & Neu, P.C.; has served as a state
senator, lieutenant governor and as a member of the Board of Regents.
C. Joseph Holland - Iowa City
practicing in the firm of Holland Law Office, P.L.C.; served on our
Board of Governors and also served as president of the ISBA in 2001-02;
served on many different boards including the National Conference of Bar Presidents
and the Iowa Council of School Board Attorneys.
Why lawyers? Why do we
need to give $100 per year to provide legal help to low-income Iowans?
Perhaps why the Iowa Supreme Court has asked for comments on this fee is that
we, as lawyers, have a special responsibility for the quality of justice. Our
rules of professional conduct urge us to do so. Unrepresented parties
negatively impact the quality of justice, not just for themselves, but for
others involved in the judicial system. This contribution to support access
to justice will improve the system for lawyers, our clients and for all
Iowa Legal Aid and the
Volunteer Lawyers Projects in Iowa provide critical legal assistance to
low-income Iowans that ensures they are treated fairly. Iowa Legal Aid and
the volunteer lawyers to whom it refers cases handled 18,127 cases …
here to read more.
For those of you who may not
know, a proposal is before the Iowa Supreme Court to assess every Iowa
licensed attorney a $100 annual fee to fund Iowa Legal Aid. The
deadline for submitting written comments to the court is 4:30 p.m. on Jan.
5, 2015. This is not an ISBA proposal and ISBA has not taken a position in
favor of this proposal. Iowa Legal Aid took the request to the court.
I believe in Iowa
Legal Aid. My firm and I have donated time and money in support of its
mission. I have lobbied, in person, members of both the Iowa Legislature and
the United States Congress, for support for Legal Aid on state and national
levels. However, I see court imposed funding for Legal Aid as unacceptable
for many reasons. Here are a few….
here to read more.
The court wants to measure the temperature of the bar on this
issue and has requested that you make your comments known, either by mailing
them to the court or filing your comments electronically at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The email must state, "Access to Justice,” in the subject line and the comments
must be attached to the email in Microsoft Word format.
Thank you for
your attention to this matter and thank you again for the opportunity to serve
as your president.
Joseph M. Feller
President, The Iowa State Bar Association
P.O. Box 37
Sibley, Iowa 51249
Iowa Supreme Court Resources:
Public Comment Regarding Access to Justice Recommendations (Oct. 1).