March 28, 2018  Past Issues

Supreme Court issues supervisory order on ex parte communications

Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady issued a supervisory order March 27 repeating a previously issued admonition for Iowa judges “to remain faithful to their professional responsibility and refrain from engaging in ex parte communications in requesting an attorney to assist in drafting or preparing a proposed decree or order.”

The order doesn’t change permitted practices, “but ensures that the rules and principles regarding ex parte communications are followed.” Read the full order here.


The Iowa State Bar Association is excited to introduce a new benefit to its members beginning next week. This program will offer disability income protection to you and your family in the event you suffer a career-ending injury or illness offered through the world’s largest specialty insurer, Lloyd’s of London.

On April 2nd, you will be sent the education and enrollment site information. The next steps will be to:

• Educate yourself on the product
• Review coverage options
• Decide which level is best for you and your family
• Enroll online

Please be on the lookout early next week for a communication from Reynolds & Reynolds, the ISBA's endorsed insurance broker, with the details of this new benefit offering.

Iowa Legal Aid’s Equal Justice After Hours attracts hundreds

More than 300 attorneys, justices, judges and others attending the 15th annual Iowa Legal Aid’s Equal Justice After Hours event last Thursday raised $13,075 in pledges in response to an ISBA Board of Governors challenge.

ISBA President-elect Tom Levis, early in the evening, urged the crowd to dig deep into their pockets to match the $9,875 that was pledged by ISBA governors at their quarterly meeting the day before. Later, he again took the microphone to tell attendees that they were really going to have to dig deep to match the BOG pledges.

The theme for this year’s event was “Changing Children’s Lives.” Connie Boesen, Des Moines City Council member and former Des Moines School Board member, told the crowd about challenges many school children face. Michelle Jungers, managing attorney for the Iowa Legal Aid office in Waterloo, cited a couple of cases where her office was able to improve the lives of children in this northern Iowa community.

You can add your support for the work being done by Iowa Legal Aid by donating to the Iowa Legal Aid Foundation.


Commercial and Bankruptcy Section CLE coming in April
L. Ashley Zubal, Chair, ISBA Commercial and Bankruptcy Section
CLE Committee

The Commercial and Bankruptcy Section’s CLE event will be held April 20 at ISBA Headquarters in Des Moines. We would be pleased to have you join us for this year’s seminar featuring an engaging lineup of speakers including James L. Snyder, Acting United States Trustee, and Hon. Anita L. Shodeen and Hon. Thad J. Collins, who will provide insight and tips on areas including best procedure under the bankruptcy code, motions for relief and adequate protection.

The Commercial and Bankruptcy Law Seminar program features presentations on many emerging and complex issues impacting commercial and bankruptcy practitioners, representing both debtors and creditors, including agricultural liens, commercial leases, trust issues and executory contracts.

Once again, this year’s seminar is being made available in a live webinar format. For additional information, visit the event page.


Judicial District 5C has two judges retiring, and attorneys interested in filling the positions have until April 27 to apply for consideration. The Judicial Election District 5C Nominating Commission will then nominate four individuals for the Governor to fill vacancies left by the retirements of Honorable Robert J. Blink and Honorable Eliza J. Ovrom.

Judicial Application forms must be obtained from Jennifer Webster, Office of the District Court Administrator, Room 410, Polk County Courthouse, Des Moines, IA 50309. A hard copy of the judicial application must be submitted to the chairperson of the Judicial Nominating Commission, District 5C, with a copy (E-mail encouraged) submitted to each member of the commission. There are 10 additional commissioners.

Further instructions can be found in the official vacancy announcement.

IRS warns against re-emerging scam called “New Client”

The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry are warning tax professionals to be alert to a scam they are calling “New Client,” and to enhance their data safeguards immediately. In the scam, a “new client” emails the tax professional about a tax issue and attaches documents that claim to be an IRS notice or prior-year tax information. The documents actually contain malware that, if opened, enable the criminals to steal taxpayer information.

This filing season, the IRS has seen a steep upswing in the number of reported thefts of taxpayer data from tax practitioner offices. Seventy-five firms reported taxpayer data thefts in January and February, nearly a 60 percent increase from the same time last year.

Here are some signs that you may be a victim of data theft:

• Clients’ e-File returns begin to be rejected because returns with their SSNs have already been filed;
• The number of returns filed with the tax practitioner’s EFIN exceed the number of clients;
• Clients who haven’t filed tax returns begin to receive authentication letters (5071C, 4883C, 5747C) from the IRS;
• Network computers run slower than normal;
• Computer cursors move or change numbers without touching the keyboard;
• Network computers lock out tax practitioners.

More details about this scam can be found here.

Des Moines Civic Center tickets available for April 8 show "The Humans"

Four tickets are available for purchase to the Des Moines Civic Center's showing of "The Humans" on Sunday, April 8 at 1 p.m. It is $260 for four tickets or $130 for two tickets. Seats are in Row D, close to the stage. Please contact Dwight Dinkla at if interested.



March 23

No. 15-1408
Jacob Lee Schmidt v. State of Iowa
A defendant seeks further review of a court of appeals decision affirming summary dismissal/summary judgment of his postconvictionrelief action.

Malpractice insurance: Protect your practice
For most lawyers, malpractice insurance coverage is something they need but hope to never use.
American Bar Association

Iowa Supreme Court: Innocent people who plead guilty can challenge their convictions
For the first time, the Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that people who plead guilty to crimes may challenge their convictions if new evidence of their innocence emerges.
Des Moines Register

Employment barriers clinic coming to Waterloo
Black Hawk County employment prospects continue on a promising trend, with unemployment hovering at 3.1 percent.
Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier

Abuses revealed of watchdog public-records laws
In 2015, a government official in Snohomish County, Washington, received an email from a “Mr. Public Requestor,” seeking all public records of any kind from all county-owned smartphones.



12 data-driven ways to improve your legal practice

How to fight loneliness? Research makes sense of a growing business problem

5 calendar hacks to save 5 hours every week

Google posts could increase your law firm's SERP ranking

4 signs you're harder on yourself than you should be


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

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 - Stumme, Collins, Gritters & Epley, PLLC, Waverly, IA

Staff Attorney - Iowa Legal Aid, Des Moines, IA

Staff Attorney or Fully Accredited Representative - Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors, Des Moines, IA

Manager, GEICO Staff Counsel - GEICO Staff Counsel, Des Moines, IA

Managing Attorney - Legal Hotline for Older Iowans - Iowa Legal Aid, Des Moines, IA

Staff Attorney - Community Economic Development Project - Iowa Legal Aid, Des Moines, IA

Intellectual Property Attorney - BrownWinick Law Firm, Des Moines, IA

Assistant County Attorney I - Office of the Johnson County Attorney, Iowa City, IA

Associate - Smith Peterson Law Firm, LLP, Council Bluffs, IA

Litigation Counsel - GuideOne Insurance, West Des Moines, IA

Attorney - Hopkins & Huebner P.C., Adel, IA

Associate Attorney - Moore Heffernan Moeller Johnson & Meis, Sioux City, IA


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

Samuel Cooper, Title Core National, Omaha, NE

Robert John Ounjian, Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley, Beverly Hills, CA

Marianne Han, Iowa City, IA

David A. Castello, Adelson, Testan, Brundo, Novell & Jimenez, Omaha, NE

Joshua M. Mankoff, Lopez McHugh LLP, Moorestown, NJ

Jeffrey M. Adelson, Adelson, Testan, Brundo, Novell & Jimenez, Santa Ana, CA

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.


Tweet with us on 

Be our fan on
Connect through
Follow us on

Watch us on