September 20, 2017  Past Issues

Amendments to court rules raise fees effective Nov. 2

The Iowa Supreme Court last Thursday adopted amendments to court rules that increase the annual fee to finance the attorney disciplinary system, the fees for admission to practice in Iowa, and the application fee for CLE accreditation. All of the fee increases become effective Nov. 2.

The amendment to Iowa Court Rule 39.5 raises the annual fee supporting the disciplinary system from $175 to $200. The fee had not been increased since 2008.

Under the amendments to Chapter 31 of the Iowa Court Rules, the fee for transferring a Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) score from another jurisdiction to Iowa will increase from $525 to $900. The admission on motion fee also jumps from $525 to $900. The house counsel registration fee and the foreign legal consultant fee increase from $500 to $800, as does the bar exam fee for lawyers.

The amendment to Iowa Court Rule 42.4(2) raises the application fee for accreditation of CLE events to $50 per event if the application is submitted electronically, and to $65 per event if submitted on paper. The fee applies to all CLE events in which there is an admission fee for attendees.

Read the court order here.

U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform releases 2017 Lawsuit Climate Survey

The 2017 Lawsuit Climate Survey: Ranking the States was conducted for the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform by the Harris Poll to explore how fair and reasonable the states’ liability systems are perceived to be by U.S. businesses.

Participants in the survey were comprised of a national sample of 1,321 in-house general counsel, senior litigators or attorneys, and other senior executives at companies with at least $100 million in annual revenue.

How did Iowa fare? (States ranked 1-50)
Overall ranking of State Liability Systems - #13

Enforcing Meaningful Venue Requirements - #1
Damages - #9
Trial Judges’ Impartiality - #9
Juries’ Fairness - #10
Quality of Appellate Review - #11
Treatment of Class Action Suits and Mass Consolidation Suits - #13
Proportional Discovery - #13
Overall Treatment of Tort and Contract Litigation - #15

You can read more about the report or download it here.

Latest bar exam results released

The Iowa Supreme Court’s Board of Law Examiners recently released statistics from the most recent exam in July. There were 185 applicants who took the exam, with 152 passing, an 82 percent success rate.

Points of interest:
71% of testers were from Drake University or the University of Iowa
89% of testers took the test for the first time
88% of first-time testers passed
92% of University of Iowa testers passed
82% of Drake University testers pass

The full report is available for review online. Admission information, as well as exam schedules, can be found at the Supreme Court’s website.


IRS granting penalty relief to partnerships filing untimely returns

The Internal Revenue Service is providing penalty relief to partnerships and real estate mortgage investment conduits (REMICs) that filed untimely returns or untimely requests for extension of time for the first taxable year that began after Dec. 31, 2015.

According to IRS Notice 2017-47, an amendment to section 6072 of the IRS Code changed the date by which a partnership must file its annual return. The due date changed from the 15th day of the fourth month following the close of the taxable year to the 15th day of the third month following the close of the taxable year. Those who filed by the 15th day of the fourth month after the amendment to section 6072 was adopted were considered to have untimely filed.

Partnerships and REMICs that qualify for relief and have already been assessed penalties can expect to receive a letter within the next several months notifying them that the penalties have been abated. For reconsideration of a penalty covered by this notice that has not been abated by Feb. 28, 2018, contact the number listed in the letter that notified you of the penalty or call (800) 829-0115 and state that you are entitled to relief under Notice 2017-47.

Don’t miss your member benefit: On-demand CLE catalog

As the final quarter of 2017 approaches, members in need of last-minute CLE credit can find it with the ISBA’s on-demand catalog. The catalog currently offers 11 videos covering a wide variety of topics that members can use for up to six hours of credit each year.

The cost and length of the videos varies for courses that were recorded throughout the year at live events. One from annual meeting, ‘Let’s Make a Deal,’ offers tips for negotiating disputes both with and without mediation. Another, ‘Nuts and Bolts of Iowa Residential Real Estate Transactions,’ covers the fundamentals of purchase agreements, installment contracts, warranty deeds, title examination, curing title problems and closing residential real estate transactions.

The seminars are available whenever you need them, wherever you are, for prices ranging from $10-$50 with YLD members in their first five years receiving free access. To view the full list of courses, visit the ISBA's CLE page, then select On-Demand Catalog.

Supreme court opinions

No. 17-0193
The grievance commission recommends the suspension of an attorney’s license for violations of ethical rules.

No. 17-0254

Grievance commission recommends a suspension of an attorney’s license to practice law for violations of ethical rules.

No. 17-0420
Grievance commission recommends a suspension of an attorney’s license to practice law for violations of ethical rules.

No. 17-0879
The grievance commission found the respondent committed multiple ethical violations and recommends a three-month license suspension.


25 percent of law schools say they plan to accept the GRE
Being able to take the GRE in lieu of the LSAT and still get into law school is a relatively new concept. It wasn’t too long ago that Arizona made shockwaves in legal education by announcing the LSAT — seen as a rite of passage by many lawyers — was no longer required to go to their school, and students could take the GRE instead. Now that idea has germinated, and, well — it is getting more popular.
Above the Law

Iowa expands investigation into prescription-drug companies' roles in addiction epidemic
Iowa’s attorney general is joining most of his colleagues in demanding documents from eight major manufacturers or distributors of prescription painkillers, as part of an investigation into their roles in the nation’s drug-addiction epidemic.
Des Moines Register

Judge says 'shadow insurance' documents can remain secret
An Iowa judge has ruled that the details of "shadow insurance" subsidiaries created by several life insurers can remain confidential.

Judge hears arguments over Iowa's collective bargaining law
A district judge heard arguments Friday from attorneys representing the state and its largest public employee union over Iowa’s new collective bargaining limits.
Sioux City Journal

Judge says 'stand your ground' law doesn't apply in Des Moines homicide
A Des Moines woman accused of murdering her stepfather will not be allowed to use Iowa's new "stand your ground" law to defend her case, a Polk County judge ruled Tuesday.
Des Moines Register



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