October 18, 2017  Past Issues

Chief Justice issues order authorizing paper filings while EDMS down

Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady issued an order yesterday authorizing clerks of court to accept paper filings, unless otherwise directed by the state court administrator, while EDMS is unavailable. The system began behaving erratically on Monday and went down yesterday.

According to Iowa Court Rule 16.309(4) entitled “Extended system unavailability; filing and service,” filers may take a paper document to the clerk of court during regular business hours for filing. In such instances, the filer is responsible for service of the document on cases where parties are entitled to service.

Jurisdictional deadlines still must be met, however. According to Steve Davis, court communications director, just as a jurisdictional deadline cannot be extended for a filer, who— due to vehicle or traffic problems, for example—arrives at the courthouse moments after the clerk of court office has closed, jurisdictional deadlines cannot be extended for the filer who encounters system or other technical difficulties between the time of close of business and a midnight filing deadline.

Court officials think the EDMS outage is related to patches that were installed on Friday to fix a potential security hole in the software. The patches were routine, Davis says, but a bug within the patches caused performance issues. Officials are restoring the system to its condition prior to when the patches were installed on Friday. The system is regularly backed up, Davis says, and “this is how we are going about restoring the authentication piece of the application server to its state prior to the security patches being installed.”

Once online, the filings in the EDMS queue will be processed, he says.

UPDATE: The eFile system is currently stable and you may access the system. There may still be intermittent system interruptions.

Memorial service for Hon. Don Nickerson to be held in November

The legal community and the public are invited to a memorial service to honor and celebrate the Honorable Don Nickerson’s life. It will be held on Nov. 4 at 5 p.m. at Corinthian Baptist Church, 814 School St. in Des Moines.

Nickerson was the first African-American to serve as U.S. Attorney in Iowa and was also appointed as a district court judge in Polk County, serving from 2003-2011. You can read more about his life and lasting legacy in the Iowa legal community here.

A scholarship fund for law students has been created, and donations may be sent to the DON NICKERSON SCHOLARSHIP FUND, Morris Fund, P.O. Box 12145, Des Moines, IA 50312.

Member benefit gets an upgrade

Clio, a cloud-based practice management system and ISBA vendor, has upgraded its systems in an effort to provide a faster, more intuitive interface and better integration with third-party applications.

"We selected Clio after a thorough review of practice management systems because of its ability to integrate with so many programs," said Harry Shipley, ISBA assistant executive director. "The open API (application programming interface) has created an ecosystem allowing other software vendors the ability to seamlessly transfer data to and from Clio. This ecosystem allows members to combine essential operations into one interface."

ISBA members receive a 10 percent discount on Clio services as well as a free seven-day trial to test the program. For more information on the updates visit Clio's website.

First ISBA-Lockton partnered risk management seminar next month

This month's Iowa Lawyer included a letter from ISBA Executive Director Dwight Dinkla detailing a new partnership between Lockton Affinity and the ISBA to present several engagements on risk management. The first, Risk Management for Lawyers, is scheduled for Nov. 9 and focuses on cyber-liability issues.

Presentations include data security and privacy risks, client files and document retention, managing outsourcing risk and cautionary case law. ISBA members who are CNA policy holders and attend this CLE are also eligible to receive up to a 7.5 percent credit on their policy premiums after Nov. 9, for two policy years. The discount is per lawyer and will be applied at the next insurance renewal.

The seminar is a live two-hour webinar that is approved for two state hours of credit including two hours of ethics. Approval is still pending for two federal hours of credit.


Celebrate National Pro Bono Week with IA Free Legal Answers

The ISBA is celebrating 2017 National Pro Bono Week with the second IA Free Legal Answers Young Lawyer Division Mentoring Program / Virtual Clinic Event on Monday, Oct. 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the University of Iowa College of Law. IA Free Legal Answers is part of a nationwide, ABA pro bono initiative, and is designed like a virtual walk-in legal clinic where qualified clients post civil legal questions to the secure website.

Even if you will not be in the Iowa City / Cedar Rapids area next Monday, you can still celebrate 2017 National Pro Bono Week by signing up to be an IA Free Legal Answers Volunteer Attorney. Over the past three months, questions submitted through the website increased by 100 percent and volunteer attorneys are in high demand. Attorneys who want to volunteer:

• Remain anonymous to clients (with limited exceptions)
• Are covered by the ABA's malpractice insurance
• Perform limited scope representation (just within the website)
• Report that it takes 10-25 minutes to answer one question
• Can have volunteer hours considered for pro bono publico service pursuant to Iowa Supreme Court Rule 32:6.1

In conjunction with 2017 National Pro Bono Week, IA Free Legal Answers will offer a new, anonymous listserv. The listserv will engage volunteer attorneys who want to answer questions via the website, and connect them with volunteer “mentor” attorneys who are experts in high-need areas of practice.

Almost all of the questions that are currently in the IA Free Legal Answers question queue are in the areas of family law, housing and consumer debt. By committing to about one hour of service per month, volunteer attorneys can provide important legal help for two-to-five people.

If you are interested in signing up to help, want to co-host a virtual legal clinic or would like more information, please send an email to

Polk County Women Attorneys hosting fundraising event tomorrow

On Thursday, Oct. 19, the Polk County Women Attorneys will host the 16th Annual Basket Auction, a charity fundraiser to benefit the Young Women’s Resource Center. The auction is open to the public, and will be held at the Temple for Performing Arts in Des Moines.

Individual tickets at the door are $35 per person. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Silent auction items will be displayed and bidding will occur through the BidPal app. A program will begin at 7 p.m., with the live auction to follow at 7:30.

For more information on the event, click here. For more information on the Young Women’s Resource Center, please visit

Ames City Attorney candidate offering public presentation

Interim City Attorney Mark Lambert, a finalist for the city attorney position, will give a public presentation from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. tomorrow, Oct. 19, in the City Council Chambers, City Hall, 515 Clark Ave.

Lambert has been serving in the interim capacity since May and will be available for questions from the public during the presentation. This will also give citizens a chance to provide feedback to city officials.

The city attorney provides legal advice and services to all city departments, boards, and commissions. The selection process has narrowed to four candidates, with the final selection to be made by the Ames City Council. Further information is available in the city's press release for the event.

Judicial 3B judgeship applicants must fill out questionnaire and application

Attorneys wanting to apply for the vacancy in Judicial District 3B resulting from the retirement of District Court Judge Edward Jacobson need to fill out a questionnaire along with the application for the position. The questionnaire must be filed with District Court Administrator Leesa A. McNeil, Room 210, Woodbury County Courthouse, 620 Douglas St., Sioux City, IA 51101-1247. Applicants must also send a digital copy to

Copies of the questionnaire and additional required forms can be obtained from the district court administrator or from any clerk of court in Judicial District 3B, which consists of Crawford, Ida, Monona, Plymouth, Sioux and Woodbury counties. The questionnaire is also available at this link.

To apply, attorneys must be members of the bar of Iowa, residents of Judicial District 3B, and of such an age that they will be able to serve an initial and one regular six-year term of office before reaching the age of 72. The deadline for filing an application is Friday, Nov. 3. The court administrator will provide a copy to all other commission members.

Interviews will be held on Monday, Nov. 20, at the Woodbury County Courthouse. An interview schedule will be established after the application deadline.


No. 17-1023
The State filed a petition for writ of certiorari challenging a district court order granting postconviction relief by holding a department of corrections retroactive policy change on earned-time sentence reduction was precluded by a previous Iowa Supreme Court decision and violated the Ex Post Facto Clauses of the United States and Iowa Constitutions. 


Iowa justice thinks U.S. Supreme Court needs cameras
Arguably the most powerful government bodies in this country are the highest courts in the land.

Iowa district courts under hiring freeze
Local district courts are pressing even more as another judge announces his retirement.

Coalition challenges Iowa 'ag-gag' law
A coalition of animal welfare advocates, food safety groups and free speech proponents filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of Iowa’s ban on undercover investigations at farms and slaughterhouses.

Jeff Sessions joins fight for justice for slain transgender teen
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is bucking his image as an anti-LGBT crusader by sending a top federal hate crimes lawyer to help prosecute a man on trial for the shooting death of gender-fluid teen Kedarie Johnson.



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