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    May 10, 2017
Past Issues  

IA Free Legal Answers is live, first question answered

The ISBA is pleased to announce that the IA Free Legal Answers website, part of a nationwide ABA pro bono initiative, is now live and that an ISBA Volunteer Attorney answered the first question posted. IA Free Legal Answers is designed like a virtual walk-in legal clinic where qualified clients post questions to the secure website.

The Iowa Find-A-Lawyer website,, is the ISBA’s public facing website and serves as the portal for IA Free Legal Answers. Interested members of the public can click on the “Free Legal Help” button on the right side of the Iowa Find-A-Lawyer homepage to find low income legal assistance resources, including IA Free Legal Answers. Prior to submitting civil legal questions, IA Free Legal Answers users must respond to a few questions to see if they qualify to use the service.

More volunteer attorneys are needed to answer questions in family law, housing, consumer debt, work issues, public benefits, probate and guardianship. Attorneys who want to volunteer can receive email notifications when client questions are submitted in their legal practice area of interest, may remain anonymous to clients (with limited exceptions), and are covered by the ABA’s Free Legal Answers malpractice insurance. Volunteer attorneys can log in to the site from anywhere at their convenience to answer client questions. A commitment of approximately one hour per month can serve approximately five people and can be counted as pro bono publico service pursuant to Iowa Supreme Court Rule 32: 6.1.

If you are interested in signing up to help, please send an email to

Annual Meeting presents opportunity for young lawyers, new social events

The 2017 ISBA Annual Meeting will offer attendees several new opportunities while maintaining the successes of the past meetings. Young attorneys are able to attend the CLE portions free of charge and two new socials have been added to the conference in Des Moines, June 19-21.

YLD members in their first three years of practice will now have the opportunity to attend all of the CLE programming free of charge. Event organizers and ISBA leadership encourage all ISBA members who fall into this category to attend the event for its educational and networking opportunities. There are currently 17 state hours, 4 ethics and 10 federal hours available pending approval.

The theme for this year's program is T.E.A.M.: Transform your practice, Exchange ideas, Advocate for the profession, Motivate others. Organizers have scheduled over 80 presentations in 25 educational tracks including probate, family law, litigation, ag law, real estate, corporate counsel, employment law and more. There are also nine social events with annual mainstays like the law school luncheons and the Awards Gala.

This year offers two new activities, an ISBA I-Cubs outing on June 19 at Principal Park and a YLD tailgate at the ISBA headquarters on June 20. Attendees at the tailgate are encouraged to show their school spirit by sporting their favorite collegiate gear while enjoying a night of games, food, music and great company.

Early bird registration is available until June 5, after that a $50 late fee will be added for all registrants. You can view the complete schedule of events in the Annual Meeting program.

Iowa State Bar Foundation awards 2017 grants

The Iowa State Bar Foundation board has decided on 2017 grant award recipients. The awards this year total $76,675 and include:
• ISBA Center for Law and Civic Education Mock Trial Program - $30,000 for sites, supplies and materials to support the middle school and high school mock trial programs, which serve close to 4,000 students annually from approximately 175 schools around the state.
• ISBA Young Lawyers Division Know Your Constitution Program - $20,000 to fund a trip to Washington, D.C. for five students and their teachers, as well as a luncheon for the top 100 students selected as finalists in the Know Your Constitution essay test competition.
• Justice for Our Neighbors - $10,000 toward the operating costs of this pro bono program that responds to the needs of low-income refugees and immigrants in Iowa.
• ISBA Find-A-Lawyer and Free Legal Answers - $7,500 to fund public marketing initiatives (ex: print, digital, radio ads) to increase public awareness of the free legal resources and access to pro bono help housed on
• Iowa Legal Aid - $4,675 toward a pilot project related to child support guideline assistance for low-income Iowans.
• Iowa Law Firm Incubator - $2,500 to advance the continued development of a law firm incubator in Iowa with the purpose of expanding access to affordable legal help for people with very low-to-moderate incomes and training Iowa lawyers to succeed in establishing sustainable firms to meet “gap market” legal needs.
• Children and Families of Iowa - $1,000 to support legal advocacy for survivors of domestic violence.
• Art Force Iowa - $1,000 to help support the Creative Pathways art program for at-risk youth in Polk County.


American Health Care Act – What does it mean for employers?

The ISBA-endorsed provider of medical insurance, Reynolds & Reynolds, Inc., has published a bulletin intended to inform employers what could happen after passage of the American Health Care Act in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The AHCA will now move on to be considered by the Senate. It is likely that the Senate will make changes to the proposed legislation before taking a vote. The AHCA would only need a simple majority vote in the Senate to pass.

The AHCA is budget reconciliation legislation, so it cannot fully repeal the Affordable Care Act. Instead it is limited to addressing ACA provisions that directly relate to budgetary issues—specifically, federal spending and taxation. A full repeal of the ACA must be introduced as a separate bill that would require 60 votes in the Senate to pass.

The Reynolds & Reynolds document details what ACA provisions are impacted.

Openings still available for annual Drake/Iowa golf challenge

There is still an opportunity to make your mark on the annual showdown between Drake University Law School and the University of Iowa College of Law at the 13th Annual Dean’s Cup to be held next Monday, May 15. The annual competition, which benefits Iowa Legal Aid, will take place at Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa City.

Match play begins at 8:30 a.m. Best shot starts at 11:30 a.m. The competition pits Drake alumni and students against U of I alumni and students. Lawyers who are not graduates of either school may participate by declaring temporary allegiance to one of the two schools at the time of registration.

Registration details, as well as information about sponsoring a hole or making other contributions to the event, can be found at this link. Questions about the event should be directed to Jeff Courter (Iowa) or Greg Kenyon or Jeff Boehlert (Drake). Contact information for Courter is, or 515-283-8048. Contact Kenyon at, or 515-246-5829, and Boehlert at, or 515-283-2147.

Clio offering billing webinar

The ISBA-endorsed practice management software provider Clio is offering a webinar focused on maximizing billable hours tomorrow, May 11.

The course will be presented by Clio’s George Psiharis, VP of Business Development, and Oliver Browes, account executive, as they look at how law firms fail at being efficient. According to data from an aggregate of anonymized firms using Clio, the average lawyer only bills 28 percent of an eight-hour workday.

Registration and more information on the webinar is available online.

ABA proposes revisions to law school approval standards

The ABA Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has approved changes and proposed revisions to the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools. Comments on the proposed revisions should be sent to JR Clark, Jr. at by July 10.


No. 14-0277
Defendant seeks further review of his conviction for murder in the first degree.

No. 14-0969
The defendant requests further review of a court of appeals decision affirming her convictions for theft.

No. 15-2213
IN THE MATTER OF M.W., Alleged to be Seriously Mentally Impaired, M.W.
A patient involuntarily committed by a judicial hospitalization referee’s order appeals his commitment.

Guest view: Bill of Rights are under assault
All of us here, especially the lawyers and judges, have a vital role to play in protecting the rule of law and safeguarding civil rights.
Quad City Times

Trump tabs Minnesota Justice Stras for federal appeals court
Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justice David Stras, who was nominated by President Donald Trump to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday, once clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and believes in a limited role for the judiciary.
Quad City Times

The wrong way to fix student debt
Tens of millions of Americans together owe more than a trillion dollars in student debt. For the financial health of their households and the entire economy, ensuring a fair and smoothly functioning student loan system is critically important.
New York Times

Lawyer who advised client to 'relax' in response to Facebook inquiries gets suspension
A Nebraska lawyer who responded to his client’s Facebook inquiries with statements such as “relax” and “this is complicated” has been suspended from practice for 90 days.
ABA Journal



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