January 31, 2018  Past Issues

Iowa Senate set to vote on major cut to court’s budget

The Iowa Senate Appropriations Committee last week passed SF 2117, which calls for a $4.835 million reduction to the Iowa Judicial Branch budget in FY18. It is part of an overall deappropriation of $50 million, with the judicial branch being asked to absorb more than nine percent of the reduction for the state government.

According to State Court Administrator Todd Nuccio, “should the $4.8 million cut come to reality, we are left with no other choice than to close courthouses and eliminate personnel branch-wide. As such, we are projecting the closure of over 30 county courthouses proportionately distributed across our eight judicial districts. The courthouses selected for closure within each judicial district will be determined by caseload volume in each county. The workload of the closed courthouses will then be shifted to other county courthouses in that judicial district.”

The Senate is expected to vote on this deappropriation bill as early as today, so ISBA members are urged to contact their senators as soon as possible. Urge senators to support an amendment which would strike or lower the budget cuts to the judicial branch. Here is the letter from ISBA President Steve Eckley that was sent to state senators, urging them to carefully consider the impact this would have on the judicial branch.

Members can locate their legislators’ information here. Your voice will remind them that it is imperative that Iowa's courts are funded adequately.

OPR announces appointments to Lawyer Trust Account Commission

The Office of Professional Regulation has announced that Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady has appointed and reappointed members to the Lawyer Trust Account Commission for terms 2018-2021.

Marion James, from Creston, and Jenna Green, from Des Moines, were both appointed as new members for three-year terms. Jay East, from Garner, was reappointed to a three-year term.

Iowa Supreme Court schedules special evening session in Des Moines

The Iowa Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case Honomichl, et al. v. Valley View Swine, LLC, et al., during a special evening session in Des Moines, Monday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m.

For more details, click here.


Resources available for attorney CLE reporting

As the March 10 deadline for annual reporting approaches, the ISBA would like to remind members of online resources that can aid in the filing process.

For those who have attended ISBA-sponsored events throughout the last year, there is an online database of activity numbers and credit hours available here. The Iowa CLE Commission Office also offers a searchable database of all approved CLE in the state here.

The additional reporting required for succession planning per Rule 39.18 is also due with CLE reporting on the March 10 deadline. ISBA resources on managing those requirements can be found here.

Rural attorneys, students connect during meet and greet event

Thirteen rural practice attorneys and 22 students got a chance to meet each other briefly during the ISBA Rural Practice Committee’s fourth annual meet and greet event Saturday afternoon, Jan. 27, at bar headquarters. ISBA President Steve Eckley and President-elect Tom Levis also visited with students, as did Rural Practice Committee Chair Phil Garland.

Patterned after the speed dating concept, the meet and greet was started in 2015 as a way of bringing rural attorneys and students together in the hopes that each attorney would make a connection with one or more students sufficient to start an ongoing conversation. The ultimate goal is for the attorney to find at least one student to hire for the summer or as a full-time associate.

Attorneys and students gave the four-hour event high praise. Almost all of the attorneys said they found at least one student, usually two or three, that they would like to communicate with further.

A number of attorneys, who said conflicts prevented them from attending this year’s event, asked that the committee send them resumes of students who might be prospective hires. That process will continue in the next weeks.

If you would like to participate in this year’s rural practice program and receive resumes of prospective hires, please contact Phil Garland at or Steve Boeckman at

ABA: New web-based tool to help domestic violence victims with legal compensation

In an article posted last Monday, the ABA Journal announced that a California-based nonprofit, called FreeForm, has launched a self-help compensation tool for survivors of domestic violence. The web-based tool aims to help domestic violence survivors pursue legal compensation options. It currently includes information for California only, but intends to expand nationally by the middle of 2018, according to a release from the company cited by the ABA.

Once on the site, the user is presented with a series of questions regarding the person’s financial situation and what he or she is seeking remuneration for. With that information, the website presents the user with compensation options, including civil legal action, criminal restitution and Victims of Crime Act funds.

One in three women and one in four men will be physically abused by an intimate partner, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. A 2004 World Health Organization study estimated that intimate partner violence is expected to cost the U.S. between $5.8 billion and $12.6 billion annually. Read more at this link.

Jan. 26

No. 16-0624
First American Bank and C.J. Land, L.L.C. v. Fobian Farms, Inc., Hoover Highway Business Park, Inc., and Gateway, Ltd.
Defendants seek further review of court of appeals decision affirming district court’s ruling on remand imposing sanctions under Iowa Rule of Civil Procedure 1.413.

Impact of the new tax law on lawyers and law firms
President Trump recently signed into law the most expansive changes to our federal tax laws in over 30 years.… The key pro-business provision that applies to individuals is the so-called pass-through business income deduction which provides individual taxpayers with a deduction of up to 20% of the taxpayer's income from pass-through business entities.

House bill would reverse a half-century old ban on capital punishment in Iowa
The Iowa House of Representatives is set to consider a bill that would allow those convicted of first degree murder to be put to death by lethal injection, potentially reversing a half-century-old ban on capital punishment in the state.
Des Moines Register

Juror No. 2 shares his view
One corner of our great system of self-governance remains functional in our dysfunctional times. This I can report firsthand.
The Gazette

TRY IT: Can you pass a civics test?
Some lawmakers at the statehouse want to require students to pass a civics exam in order to graduate high school.



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