From the President . . .

Bridget Penick, president

First do no harm… but fact check!

If you were at the PCBA Luncheon in June 2016 when I accepted the gavel from Past-President Nathan Overberg, you heard me make the tongue-in-cheek remark that, as I begin my year as your Polk County Bar president, my aim was to stay the course and not derail the momentum of our organization. I believe I referred to the Hippocratic Oath when I uttered the phrase “First do no harm.” However, trusty Wikipedia enlightens us that the Hippocratic Oath does not technically contain that exact phrase (primum non nocere).

Why am I admitting a gaffe in my first president’s message? Shouldn’t I be reaffirming your decision to elect me into this position instead of highlighting a mistake? Maybe it’s because the media is deluged with politicians right now, with cameras recording their every word and the media feasting on them, relishing the opportunity to point out blunders. What is the more credible reaction? Digging in one’s heels? Burying one’s head in the sand and ignoring the issue? Or admitting it, learning from it, and moving forward? As type A lawyers, we (I) tend to be very defensive and stubborn, and admitting that what we do is anything short of perfect is difficult.

The point, therefore, of sharing this error is to let the bar association know that your officers and board of directors do not think the PCBA is perfect and there is no need for growth or change. I stand by the assertion that we are doing very good things and have extraordinarily talented, wise, and generous attorneys volunteering to lead our committees and programs. We, however, can do more. YOU can do more. Allow me to identify a few opportunities for each of you to become involved and help strengthen our Polk County Bar Association: Read more.


October luncheon shines spotlight on upcoming judicial retention vote

Judicial builingAlthough the 2016 General Election is just weeks away, very little attention has been paid in the media to the fact that several of our District Court Judges and Iowa Supreme Court and Court of Appeals judges face retention votes. Plan to join us for our Oct. 11 luncheon where the issue of judicial retention will be explored in-depth by Guy Cook from Grefe & Sydney PLC and Harry Shipley, assistant executive director of the Iowa State Bar Association. The luncheon runs from noon to 1 p.m. at the Iowa State Bar Association office, 625 E. Court Ave. in Des Moines. Tickets are $17 in advance and $19 at the door, but keep in mind that space is limited and we may not be able to accommodate walk ins. Click here for details and the reservation form.


We’re looking for a few good folks

If you’d like to expand your network while having fun and doing a great service for your peers, then you should volunteer to serve on one of the many PCBA committees. There’s a position for you in virtually every interest area. Click here to explore the possibilities and apply today!


Winning Law Day contest students honored at luncheon

The Polk County Bar Association (PCBA) and ARAG® once again co-sponsored the annual Law Day Competition for students in grades K-5 and 6-12 in the Polk County metro area. This year’s theme was Miranda: More Than Words, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the famous United States Supreme Court case of Miranda v. Arizona. Participating students were encouraged to explore the importance of the Miranda warning to protect every citizen’s right to remain silent (self-incrimination, 5th Amendment) and the right to an attorney (6th amendment) during police interrogations through visual arts, music, essay and poetry. Elementary school students participated in a coloring and poster contest.

The winning students were honored at our Law Day luncheon which featured guest speaker Judy Bradshaw, former Des Moines chief of police and current director of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy. Click here to learn more.


calendarGet those CLEs at our Nov. 18 seminar

Mark you calendar now and plan to attend our Fall General Practice CLE on Friday, Nov. 18, at the Downtown Des Moines Marriott Hotel. This event is free for current members, but there is a nominal charge for the printed materials. We anticipate approval for 7.5 State CLE hours, including some Ethics and Federal. Watch our website for more information as it becomes available.


Spring CLE materials are available online

Some 235 PCBA members gathered at the Downtown Des Moines Marriott on April 29 to network and stay on top of their profession at the Spring general practice seminar. As always, the CLE provided a full day of thought-provoking presentations covering a wide array of topics pertinent to the practice of law in Iowa. The program, which was offered FREE to members, was approved for 7.75 hours of State CLE credit, including 1 hour Ethics and 3.75 hours Federal.. Click here to download. (Member log-in required.)


Get the updated Polk County Courts phone chart right here

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.


Have you renewed 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 2016 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.