August 16, 2017  Past Issues

Lawyers would have to provide more trust account information in measure passed by ABA House

Lawyers would have to provide more information about trust accounts in which they hold the funds of other people, according to model rule changes approved by the ABA House of Delegates on Monday.

Lawyers would have to disclose the names of financial institutions, in addition to account numbers, for each account holding funds for clients and for third persons in connection with a representation.

Lawyers would also have to disclose the names and addresses of people authorized to operate or disburse money from the accounts, and the name and address of the lawyer responsible for complying with the rules governing the account.

The changes, summarized in Resolution 110, amend Rule 7 of the Model Rules for Disciplinary Enforcement.

Read more in the ABA Journal.

YLD Council passes proposal to change law school accreditation standards process

An Iowa YLD-sponsored resolution proposing changes to the ABA group responsible for law school accreditation standards passed via a unanimous vote by the YLD Council in New York City on Thursday. YLD President Tom Hillers argued for the resolution in Manhattan.

The resolution seeks to guarantee that two of the 21 voting positions on the Legal Ed Section Council, which is responsible for the law school accreditation standards, will be held for young attorneys. Ten of the 21 positions are typically filled with individuals who are members of law school faculties, and this resolution would supplant two of those reserved positions for young attorneys.

Hillers says the next step is to meet with the chair of the Legal Ed Section Council and then get the matter on the council’s agenda for its next quarterly meeting.

The time to help lawyers with mental health services is now, new report says

The stigma of attorneys seeking help for mental health disorders needs to be eliminated, according to a report released Monday by various groups, including the American Bar Association’s Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs.

It cites a 2016 study done by the commission and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, which found that out of 13,000 lawyers surveyed, between 20.6 and 36.4 percent could be considered problem drinkers. The study also found that 28 percent of those surveyed suffered from depression, and 19 percent had anxiety.

The 73-page report, titled “The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change,” also cites a 2016 study of law student well-being. Out of 3,300 students surveyed, 43 percent reported binge drinking at least once in the prior two weeks. The study defined binge drinking as consuming at least four alcoholic drinks in one sitting for women, and at least five in one sitting for men.


Deadline tomorrow to participate in gender bias survey

The ISBA’s Federal Practice Committee is asking all ISBA members to participate in an anonymous online survey regarding gender bias in the profession in Iowa.

Last spring, the Federal Practice Committee sponsored “Gender Matters: Confronting Bias and Unprofessional Conduct Towards Attorneys,” a seminar that brought together lawyers and judges to engage in substantial conversations about the fact of continuing gender bias in the legal profession. At this year’s Federal Practice Seminar, the Federal Practice Committee is putting together a follow-up panel to address the issues raised in the spring seminar for a wider audience. In an effort to gain a better view of what is going on in Iowa, the panel members have created this survey for ISBA members.

Even if you have not personally experienced an instance of bias, please include any stories you have heard from a close friend or relative. Also, be sure to include whether you or someone you know has changed jobs due to gender bias.

This information will be used to assist in the committee’s preparation for the December meeting. Please respond to the survey before Thursday, Aug. 17.

Free webinar focuses on self-directed options for ABA retirement program

The ABA Retirement Funds Program is hosting a free informational webinar entitled: “The Role of Self-Directed Brokerage Accounts within Employer-sponsored Retirement Plans” next Tuesday, Aug. 22, from noon to 1 p.m.

The webinar will cover such topics as: product details and options for self-directed brokerage account (SDBA) products, how SDBAs work within the regulatory environment of an employer-sponsored retirement (ERISA) plan and trends related to SDBAs in the marketplace. The purpose of SDBA options is to allow participants to create investment portfolios that reflect their own retirement planning needs and objectives.

To register for the webinar, click here.

Polk County Women Attorneys prepping for 16th Annual Basket Auction

The PCWA is holding its 16th Annual Basket Auction Oct. 19 at the Temple for Performing Arts in Des Moines. The fundraiser will benefit the Young Women's Resource Center, which provides educational programming for central Iowa girls ages 10 through 21.

Law firms are invited to sponsor the event or donate baskets for the silent auction. Over $13,000 was raised last year, and the PCWA hopes it will be able to exceed that mark this year.


By David Repp, Dickinson Mackaman Tyler & Hagen, PC

Joint revocable trusts (“JRT”) for spouses seem to be gaining popularity in Iowa. Attorneys professing to use them cite the good, warm feeling that it gives their clients knowing that their marital assets are all in one pot which is a little like that feeling a spouse may have after secretly installing a “find my friends” app on hubby’s cell phone. Both can cause lots of problems. 

The difficulty that arises when spouses contribute assets to a common pot is who owns what and when. Although trusting spouses may not care much about the answers to these questions, the IRS does. As much as spouses may consider themselves one family unit, the IRS always considers them as two units. This is true for gift, estate and income tax purposes. Gift tax problems can occur upon funding of a JRT when spouses make disproportionate contributions to a trust but share equally in income and distributions. Such gifts may not qualify for a marital deduction leaving one spouse using up some unified credit or paying gift tax. Ouch.

Gift tax problems can occur again at the time of the first spouse’s death if a credit shelter trust is utilized. Without knowing which assets belong to which spouse, the surviving spouse’s trust assets could be deemed to fund the credit shelter trust which may constitute a gift to the credit shelter trust beneficiaries (usually, the children). Estate tax problems could occur when commingled assets are included in the estate of a first-deceased spouse and later included in the second spouse’s estate. 

I will be covering all of this and more during my presentation on Sept. 1, titled "Joint Revocable Trusts: The (not applicable), the Bad, and the Ugly." Interested parties may attend in-person at the ISBA headquarters in Des Moines or via the live webinar option. View the event webpage for more event information, including registration.


State offered to settle sexual harassment suit before losing $2.2 million verdict
The former Iowa Senate GOP staffer who won more than $2 million after a jury heard descriptions of sexual harassment in her workplace was offered a fraction of that amount to settle her lawsuit before the trial started.
Radio Iowa

ABA House backs adoption of gun violence restraining orders
A measure addressing gun violence won approval from the ABA House of Delegates on Tuesday, despite some opposition by those who raised due process issues.
ABA Journal

Senator Grassley not expecting imminent Supreme Court vacancy
The head of the U.S. Senate committee that handles Supreme Court nominees said on Friday he no longer expected an imminent court vacancy, bolstering assumptions that Justice Anthony Kennedy would not retire this year.

What you need to understand about the Google firing and free speech at work
Last week, a 3,000-word post about diversity efforts at Google went viral and resulted in not just the firing of the engineer who wrote it, but that now-former employee filing a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. There’s likely more legal action to come, and while the memo serves as a flashpoint for the diversity debate in tech, it’s also an important reminder to the rest of us about what you can and can’t say in the workplace.




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Exchange Officer - IPE 1031, West Des Moines, IA

City Attorney - City of Ames, Ames, IA

Estate Planning Attorney - BrownWinick Law Firm, Des Moines, IA

Staff Attorney - Disability Rights Iowa, Des Moines, IA

Attorney - Brady Preston Gronlund PC, Cedar Rapids, IA

Business Litigation Associate - Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, Des Moines, IA

Real Estate Attorney - BrownWinick Law Firm, Des Moines, IA

Legal Assistant - Otto Law Office PLLC, Newton, IA

HR Compliance Manager - Heartland Financial USA, Inc., Dubuque, IA

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

Staff Counsel - Homesteaders Life Company, West Des Moines, IA

Corporate Health Law Attorney - Hy-Vee, Inc., West Des Moines, IA

Paralegal - Board of Regents, State of Iowa, Urbandale, IA

Claims Attorney - BITCO Insurance Companies, Davenport, IA

Legal Assistant/ Paralegal - Kum & Go, West Des Moines, IA

Assistant City Attorney I - City of Des Moines, Des Moines, IA


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

Ann Elizabeth Pille, Reed Smith, Chicago, IL

Jayna M. Voss, Legacy Law Firm, P.C., Sioux Falls, SD

Drew Thomas Nishiyama, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

Jessica C. Källström-Schreckengost, Jackson/Lewis, Omaha, NE

Jennifer Strand-Bergmeyer, Nebraska Title Company, Lincoln, NE

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


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