March 7, 2018  Past Issues

ISBA members urged to contact House in opposition to “supermajority” bill

On Tuesday, the Iowa Senate approved a bill that says no state law can be held unconstitutional without the concurrence of at least five justices (a supermajority) of the Iowa Supreme Court. Senate File 2282 passed narrowly, on a 26-24 vote, and now moves to the Iowa House.

The ISBA is opposed to this bill for the following reasons:
1. 48 states, including Iowa, utilize a simple-majority opinion in declaring state laws unconstitutional.
2. There is a clear separation of power issue. The judicial branch does not tell the legislature how to pass bills. The legislature should not micro-manage the judicial branch’s operation. Although there has always been some degree of tension between each of the three branches of government, they should not dictate how each branch operates internally.
3. The U.S. Supreme Court has the power to declare any law in the country unconstitutional with just a simple majority.
4. Politics should not dictate decision-making in what is designed to be a non-partisan court. The law is intended to be “blind” for a purpose.

For these reasons, the ISBA urges members to contact their Iowa House members and urge them to vote “no” on SF2282. Click here to find your house member’s contact information.

Click here to see ISBA President Steve Eckley’s recent TV interview on the Senate vote, or here to read the Des Moines Register’s reporting on the supermajority bill.

submit applications now for ISBA leadership positions

The ISBA is still seeking applications to serve on section councils and committees for the new fiscal year starting in June. The deadline for submitting applications is March 10.

Please log onto to submit your online application for the more than two dozen section councils and committees that make up the ISBA. President-Elect Tom Levis will be evaluating the applications and making appointments in the spring.

2018 Probate Manual Available for Purchase

The 2018 Probate Manual is a “must have” manual for all bar association members who practice Iowa estate administration, trusts, guardianships and conservatorships. The manual, a project of the ISBA Probate, Trust and Estate Planning Section and the Probate Manual Committee, incorporates legislative changes through 2017 and is available for purchase online as a hard copy manual or electronic version.

Using the manual reduces the amount of time spent on routine, repetitive matters and allows more time spent on estate matters requiring the exercise of judgment, experience and training. More important, this 900-page, two-volume manual provides checklists to alert the attorney to deadlines, elections and alternate procedures in an effort to avoid problems in probating an estate. For more information regarding the contents of the manual, view a sample list of the Chapter 7 probate forms.

A printable order form is also available for those interested in purchasing the probate manual.


March Iowa Lawyer now available online
The March issue of The Iowa Lawyer magazine is now available online. In this issue, you’ll read about an ISBA Board of Governors member whose law office building caught fire in February. While he continues to deal with the fallout of this devastating blow to his solo practice, he wishes to pass on some of what he’s learned through this process. You’ll also learn about the end of local rules in Iowa, how to account for digital assets in estate and business succession planning and meet Iowa Legal Aid’s new director.

Those who elect to receive the print version of the magazine should see it in mailboxes this week. Those who no longer wish to receive the printed version of the magazine can elect to receive it electronically by navigating to their ISBA account settings and selecting "yes” for the "Iowa Lawyer Magazine Online” option.

Save the date for ISBA Annual Meeting

The ISBA's 2018 Annual Meeting will be held June 18-20 at the Iowa Events Center (Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center) in Des Moines.

The ISBA Annual Meeting features dynamic speakers and provides numerous opportunities to learn new approaches and receive updated information on all aspects of the legal field. Held each year in June, the conference brings over 1,000 legal professionals together under one roof to gain insight and knowledge from peers and experts.

Please keep an eye on the Iowa Lawyer Weekly e-newsletter or the Annual Meeting event page to receive updates on the schedule, and learn when you can begin registering.

Eighth Circuit Judicial Conference is coming to Des Moines

The Eighth Circuit Judicial Conference for bench and bar will convene at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines, on Aug. 15 – 17. The conference was last held in Iowa in 1995.

The event offers attorneys the opportunity to learn alongside circuit, district, magistrate and bankruptcy judges from the Eighth Circuit, and will include a number of speeches and panel discussions on court-related topics of interest to lawyers who practice in the federal courts. The conference will also feature an appearance by the Honorable Neil M. Gorsuch, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Conference registration is expected to open in April at For more information about session topics, click here.


March 2

No. 16-1419
Jodi Lynn Erpelding v. Timothy John Erpelding
Further review applicant challenges court of appeals decision reversing district court’s denial of request for attorney fees based on waiver of attorney fees in parties’ premarital agreement.

Christensen defense: social media post influenced jury
A prison sentence for an Estherville, Iowa, man convicted of 2nd-degree murder, could once again hinge on a Facebook post.

Should schools be required to tell parents about bullying?
Richard and Christine Taras knew their soft-spoken son had been picked on by a school bus bully. But they were unaware of the more extensive torment Jacobe endured in school hallways until the day the 12-year-old middle schooler killed himself with his father's shotgun.

Ethics opinion stresses attorneys' duty of confidentiality when blogging
Lawyers should be mindful of the duty of confidentiality when they engage in public commentary, including blogging and other online postings, according to a recently released formal ethics opinion from the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility.

Chris Soules: 'Irreparable damage' will be done if Iowa Supreme Court doesn't take up case
Chris Soules is appealing the Iowa Supreme Court’s recent decision not to consider the merits of the charge against him for his role in a fatal car crash last year in rural northeast Iowa.
Des Moines Register


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Associate Attorney - Davis Brown Law Firm, Des Moines, IA

Attorney - Gislason & Hunter LLP, Des Moines, IA

Product Liability & Environmental Associate - Faegre Baker Daniels, Des Moines, IA

Lateral Attorneys - Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., Des Moines, IA

Attorney - Stanley, Lande & Hunter, Davenport, IA

Business and Estate Planning Attorney - Crary Huff Law Firm, Sioux City, IA

Litigation Attorney - Crary Huff Law Firm, Sioux City, IA

Paralegal - Wandro & Associates, P.C., Des Moines, IA

U.S. Magistrate Judge - Northern District of Iowa, Cedar Rapids, IA

Coverage Attorney - Great West Casualty Company, South Sioux City, NE

Director of Policy and Legal Services - Iowa Association of School Boards, Des Moines, IA

Counsel-Agri/Farm Insurance - Nationwide Insurance, Des Moines, IA

Associate Attorney - Bordwell Law Office, P.L.C., Washington, IA

Staff Attorney (SPED and AT) - Disability Rights Iowa, Des Moines, IA

Attorney - Stinson Leonard Street LLP, Mankato, MN


The following individuals applied for admission on motion to the Iowa Bar:

Michelle Noreen Schneiderheinze-Connell, Vanderninst Law, Moline, IL

Pierce Acuff, Virginia's Attorney General's Office, Richmond, VA

Matthew Dixon, Chicago, IL

Anyone with questions or comments on the above applicants should contact: Tre Critelli at the Office of Professional Regulation, 1111 East Court Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50319; Phone: 515-725-8029.


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