From the President . . .

Bridget Penick, president


You have to learn to pace yourself


You’re just like everybody else


You’ve only had to run so far
So good
But you will come to a place
Where the only thing you feel
Are loaded guns in your face
And you’ll have to deal with


This President’s Message is tardy. I apologize. It was on my To Do list, but it fell to the bottom. I know I am not the only PCBA member who often feels pulled in a dozen directions at the same time, with the sense that I am just spinning my wheels trying to keep juggling all the balls in the air. PRESSURE.

I have learned that April, coincidentally, is Stress Awareness Month. Recognized since 1992, each April, health care professionals and health promotion experts across the country join forces to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic. We also see various tornado and severe weather drills at this time each spring, to try to prepare us for the possibility of a natural disaster. But what prepares us to deal with the PRESSURE of the practice of law?

While I’m sure each occupation has its stressors, we know all too well the mounting pressure we face in our practice, whether private practice, in house, government, or elsewhere. The demand for faster, less costly legal advice, coupled with the blessing and curse of technology that allows us to be connected and accessible 24/7 sends thousands of lawyers each year into a tailspin of stress and pressure. Add in family, health, community stressors and even the uncertainty of our national security and changes in politics and government-it’s a recipe for disaster that no April tornado drill or disaster preparedness training can touch.

It is no surprise to scan the Iowa Supreme Court’s disciplinary decisions and find that many lawyers who find themselves in front of the Grievance Commission have succumbed to the pressure and sought solace in controlled substances, only deepening the downward spiral. Read more . . . .


Don’t miss our June Annual Meeting and Law Clerk Luncheon

Join us on Tuesday, June 13, at noon for our annual law clerk luncheon. Our speakers are Pat McNulty from Grefe & Sidney, PLC and Theresa Weeg, Iowa Attorney General’s Office (retired) who will share their experiences working with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

The luncheon will be held at the Wakonda Club, 3915 Fleur Dr., in Des Moines, and the cost is $25 with advance reservation and $27 at the door. Please note that seating is limited and we may not be able to accommodate walk ins, so be sure to make your reservation early. Click here for complete details and a reservation form.


Polk County students honored at annual Law Day celebration

Governor Terry Branstad signs the official Law Day Proclamation while PCBA Law Day committee members, PCBA Board Members, ARAG sponsors and PCBA staff look on. From left are: Sarah Smerage, Sonja Diener, Tom Levis, Jean Clauson, Governor Terry Branstad, Nicolle Schippers, Carol Phillips, Kala Anderson, and Ann Cosimano.

Each year, the Polk County Bar Association teams up with ARAG to give Polk County students a chance to get creative with the law as part of our Law Day celebration. Chief among the activities is the visual arts, music, essay and poetry competition for students in grades K through 12.

This year’s theme, The Fourteenth Amendment: Transforming American Democracy, provided the opportunity for students to explore the many ways that the Fourteenth Amendment has reshaped American law and society. Through its Citizenship, Due Process and Equal Protection clauses, this transformative amendment advanced the rights of all Americans. It also played a pivotal role in extending the reach of the Bill of Rights to the states. Ratified during Reconstruction a century and a half ago, the Fourteenth Amendment serves as the cornerstone of landmark civil rights legislation, the foundation for numerous federal court decisions protecting fundamental rights, and a source of inspiration for all those who advocate for equal justice under law.

Click here for complete details and to see the winning students and their entries.


Do you have the latest Polk County Courts phone chart?

The latest Polk County Court phone chart is now available and we have it here on our website for you! Click here to download the new chart, which includes the new law clerks and three new judicial specialists. Member login required.


Golf with us for a good cause

Golf carts It’s time to dust off those golf clubs and join us for the PCBA’s annual Bench and Bar Golf Outing to benefit the Volunteer Lawyers Project. This year’s event will be held on Friday, June 9, at the Waveland Golf Course in Des Moines. Registration begins at noon with a shotgun start at 1 p.m.

If you register before May 6, you can take advantage of our early bird special and pay only $100 per person, which includes green fees, cart, and dinner following golf. You can also order a box lunch for $10.

Click here for details and to download the registration form.


It’s time to renew your PCBA membership

One of the best things you can do for your career is to belong to the Polk County Bar Association. Your PCBA membership entitles you to FREE CLE seminars to sharpen your skills, monthly luncheons to explore current issues, access to the court-sponsored mediation program, news and information you can’t get anywhere else, discounts on programs and services, and much, much more. Click here to learn more and to download the renewal form.

And, as a bonus, first-time PCBA members and those who renew their membership for 2017 are entitled to attend one of our informative and timely PCBA Luncheons on us – FREE of CHARGE – No strings attached! If you have questions about your membership, contact PCBA Executive Director Carol Phillips. Click here for details and to download the membership form.


Support our VLP and get a tax deduction to boot!

Did you know that contributions to the Polk County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project are tax-deductible? The PCBA VLP is a charitable organization established with the mission of providing legal services to low income residents of Polk County. With your help, PCBA VLP is one of the most successful volunteer lawyer programs in the country, with Polk County lawyers donating approximately 5,000 hours of their time annually.

Unfortunately, the tough economic conditions have severely impacted the PCBA VLP. Demand for services has never been higher while our funding continues to decline. The PCBA VLP now offers you the ability to make donations on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis – all you need to do is check the appropriate option on your PCBA membership renewal form. And don’t forget that the PCBA VLP is a tax-exempt, charitable organization which means any donation you make is tax deductible. You can also designate the PCBA VLP as the recipient on your United Way donation. Click here for details.