December 6, 2017  Past Issues

Plenty of ethics hours still available from ISBA CLE events

The deadline for attorneys to complete their required three hours of ethics CLE is Dec. 31. While this requirement includes any credits earned in both 2016 and 2017, the ISBA still has several events planned for those needing to catch up.

Not including Tax School, which started today, there are seven seminars that offer a total of 11 ethics hours. There are also two on-demand courses that provide a total of three ethics hours. Those courses are subject to the six-hour maximum allowance for on-demand courses.

The dates and registration for the live events are:
Dec. 14 - Legal Ethics: Ten Tips to Avoid Trouble
Dec. 15 - 2017 Federal Practice Seminar
Dec. 20 - Learning From Others' Mistakes: Avoiding Ethical Issues in the Practice of Law
Dec. 22 - Ethical Issues for Tax Return Preparers
Dec. 27 - Diversity and Inclusion: Every Lawyer's Professional Responsibility
Dec. 28 - Ethics for Corporate Counsel
Dec. 29 - Identifying and Avoiding Conflicts of Interest

Des Moines middle school takes home championship mock trial trophy

The mock trial team from Merrill Middle School in Des Moines won the 2017 Iowa Middle School Mock Trial State Championship on Wednesday, Nov. 29 in Des Moines. The state runner-up team was from Harlan Middle School.

The two teams competed after several days of preliminary rounds, which brought students from 34 teams around the state to the Iowa Events Center to compete. In the 2017 championship round, the students argued a criminal murder case in front of District 5C Judge David Porter, and a group of ISBA members, including ISBA President Steve Eckley and YLD President Tom Hillers, who served as scoring judges.

It's the first time a Des Moines public middle school has won the state championship. Click here for a complete look at the 2017 results. Those results also include information about students recognized as outstanding attorneys or witnesses by the judges. Nicholas Jackson, from Merrill Middle School, received the rare recognition for both "Outstanding Attorney" and "Outstanding Witness" in the 2017 competition.

The Iowa Middle School Mock Trial Program is the largest in the nation. Each fall, students in grades 6-8 are presented with a challenging legal problem and set out to prepare and present both sides of the case to a panel of volunteer lawyers and judges.

Since 1983, the Iowa Mock Trial Program has given thousands of students the opportunity to get a close-up look at the judicial process. The Iowa program remains among the largest in the nation, and one of very few to offer the mock trial experience to middle school students. In recent years, close to 3,500 students in grades 6-12 participated in mock trial competitions each year. You can learn more on the ISBA Mock Trial webpage.

Click here to view photos from the 2017 championship round on Facebook.

IRS announces interest rates for first quarter 2018

The Internal Revenue Service announced yesterday that interest rates will remain the same for the calendar quarter beginning Jan. 1. The rates will be:
• four percent for overpayments (three percent in the case of a corporation);
• 1.5 percent for the portion of a corporate overpayment exceeding $10,000;
• four percent for underpayments; and
• six percent for large corporate underpayments.

Under the Internal Revenue Code, the rate of interest is determined on a quarterly basis. For taxpayers other than corporations, the overpayment and underpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus three percentage points.


Deadline near to submit bids on Colorado luxury condo

How about six days and six nights in the cool Rocky Mountains of Colorado when temperatures in Iowa are in the 90s?

You can enjoy that opportunity by bidding on a luxury vacation in Edwards, Colorado, and support Iowa LawPAC at the same time. The vacation is made possible by ISBA Legislative Counsel, Jim Carney, who has offered up his town home in Edwards – about 20 minutes from the Eagle Vail Airport – to the highest bidder.

To get in on the action before the Dec. 31 deadline, click here. For more information about Iowa LawPAC, click here, or go to the “Legislative” tab at the top of the homepage, then click on “LawPAC.” For more information about Iowa LawPAC, click on the “Legislative” tab at the top of the homepage, then on “LawPAC.”

Be sure to add Rule 39.18 to your Christmas to-do list

Christmas Day is the deadline for complying with the mandatory first tier of Iowa Court Rule 39.18, the succession planning rule that goes into effect in 2018.

The rule requires all Iowa attorneys in private practice to authorize an attorney, a law practice or a “qualified attorney-servicing association” to handle the firm’s matters in the event of disability or death. In addition, attorneys must identify a custodian who knows the location of the electronic and paper files. All of the information must be recorded on the annual questionnaire filed with the Office of Professional Regulation in March.

If you haven’t already met the Rule 39.18 requirements, a resource page on the ISBA’s website can help. Click here to access a planning outline, a planning video, a series of Iowa Lawyer magazine articles and forms.


No. 15-1560
State of Iowa v. Stephen Robert Jonas
Defendant seeks further review of his conviction for murder in the second degree.

No. 16-1658
City of Eagle Grove, Iowa v. Cahalan Investments, L.L.C.
The City of Eagle Grove challenges a district court order that found awarding the City title to two abandoned properties pursuant to Iowa Code section 657A.10A would constitute an unconstitutional taking and dismissed the City’s petitions.

No. 17-1338
Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Board v. Jason A. Springer
Grievance commission recommends the revocation of an attorney’s license to practice law for violations of ethical rules.

Iowa death penalty debate could ignite in 2018 Legislature
It's been 54 years since gallows were last used to hang a convicted murderer at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison, but a debate over capital punishment could be revived in the Iowa Legislature's 2018 session.
Des Moines Register

Kitchen sworn in as District 8A Associate Judge
Community members, family, and fellow judges filled the Washington County District Courtroom to witness the swearing in of the new Sub-District 8A District Associate Judge.
KCII Radio

Lawyers walk fine line to navigate state, federal pot
Just as entrepreneurs getting into the retail pot industry need a good lawyer, some of those lawyers might be wise to consult an attorney of their own.

Cold case: Arrest made in 2000 Mount Pleasant murder
Eight months after reopening a 17-year-old homicide, authorities in Henry County have announced an arrest in the disappearance of 22-year-old Elizabeth Syperda. On Thursday her estranged husband, Michael Lee Syperda, was arrested in connection with her death.
Iowa Patch



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Associate Attorney - Davis Brown Law Firm, Des Moines, IA

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

Corporate Counsel/Licensing - DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, IA

Estate Planning/ Tax Attorney - Whitfield & Eddy Law Firm, Des Moines, IA

Executive Officer 3 - Iowa Department of Commerce Credit Union Division, Des Moines, IA

Director of Advocacy/ Staff Legal Counsel - Iowa Hospital Association - Des Moines, IA

Assistant Director of OPR - Office of Professional Regulation, Des Moines, IA

Assistant City Attorney - City of Ames, Ames, IA

Associate Attorney - McEnroe, Gotsdiner, Brewer, Steinbach & Rothman, P.C., West Des Moines, IA

Associate Attorney - Leff Law Firm, LLP, Iowa City, IA

Appellate Court Staff Attorney 1 - Iowa Court of Appeals, Des Moines, IA


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

Daniel J. Hassing, Lamson, Dugan & Murray LLP, Omaha, NE

Marie-Ann Sennett, Storm Lake, IA

Rod Ritner, Decorah, IA

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


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