From the Past President . . .

Bridget Penick, past president

For Good

I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return

For Good, from the musical Wicked, music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz


Polk County Bar Association,

You are collectively a talented, generous, group of attorneys I have been honored to serve this past year. Thank you.

Early in my term, you helped educate the community and ensure a successful retention election. You’ve supported the judiciary’s request for crucial funding, welcomed the new Polk County Court Administrator Christopher Patterson and District Court Judge Heather Lauber, attended appellate oral arguments in our community and lunch and learns, affirming our exemplary bench-bar relationship.

Just this month, you came together for a fantastic afternoon of golf and camaraderie, raising just shy of $25,000 for the Volunteer Lawyer’s Project. You’ve given generously through trivia nights, wing eating contests, and other events.

You’ve stepped up and organized the first-ever VLP family law case training program this summer for in-house counsel so that more of our neighbors in need of legal assistance can be helped.

Your board of directors has had a busy year, undergoing an audit to ensure accounting practices safeguard your PCBA’s resources and establishing a personnel committee to ensure PCBA has a plan for continuity for our staff, establishing job descriptions, performance review benchmarks, personnel policies, and pay and benefits practices that are compliant with changing federal laws. Read more …


Here’s your chance to make a difference

PCBA President William Miller

Newly Elected PCBA President William Miller is beginning work on one of his first jobs in his new role: Appointing members of PCBA’s many committees. Bill welcomes members to nominate themselves or a colleague. He’ll be working to fill the committee rosters over the next couple of weeks, so don’t delay!

This is a great opportunity for newer attorneys to get involved, and for experienced attorneys to give back to the profession. Click here for complete committee information and a sign-up form.

And please contact Bill at 699-3281 if you have any questions about our committees or anything else PCBA-related.


And the winners were ….

PCBA Golf and Social Committee Co-Chair Todd Lantz announces the tournament winners.

More than 100 golfers hit the links on June 9 at the annual bench and bar golf outing to benefit the Polk County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project. The event, which was organized by the PCBA Golf and Social Committee, was held at the Waveland Golf Course and raised some $25,000. Several new fundraising games were added this year which were well received and generated nearly $1,000 for the cause.

Our thanks go to the committee members who helped plan and organize the event: Co-chairs Todd Lantz and Phil Bubb, and members Emily Kolbe, Jesse Johnston, Maria Bownell, Van Everett, and Chris Low.

This year’s individual winners were: Closest to the Pin – Sean Raisch and Brian Marty; Longest Drive – Amy Beck (women) and Joe Longnecker (men); and Longest Putt – David Nelson. The Mixed Group winners were Tom Levis, Hon. Douglas Staskal, Hon. Eliza Ovrom, and Mark Schuling. And the Men’s Group winners were Brad Epperly, Ben Roach, J.T. Clendenin, and Cory Harris.



Many thanks to our golf sponsors

The following sponsors helped make the 2017 Bench and Bar Golf Outing such a huge success:

GOLD Sponsors: Bradshaw, Fowler, Proctor & Fairgrave, PC; The Weinhardt Law Firm; Wasker, Dorr, Wimmer & Marcouiller, PC; Nyemaster Goode, PC; Holmes Murphy & Associates, LLC; Brown Winick, PLC; McKee, Voorhees, Sease, PLC; Iowa State Bank; Ahlers & Cooney, PLC; Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP; Whitfield & Eddy Law; Grefe & Sidney, PLC; Belin McCormick, PC; Galligan & Reid, PC; Drew Law Firm, PC; Brick Gentry, PC; Dickinson, Mackaman, Tyler & Hagen, PC; Shindler, Anderson, Goplerud & Weese P.C.; Fredrikson & Byron, PA; and Davis Brown Law Firm.

SILVER Sponsors: ARAG North America, Inc.; Bob Brown Auto; Carney & Appleby, PLC; Dorsey & Whitney, LLP; Finley, Alt, Smith, Scharnberg, Craig, Hilmes & Gaffney, PC; Gislason & Hunter, LLP; Hansen, McClintock & Riley; Hopkins & Huebner, PC; The James Law Firm; Laden & Pearson PC and Feuerhelm Law Office; Lister Industries; Sullivan & Ward, PC; Wandro & Associates; and Wilson, Deege, Despotovich, Riemenschneider & Rittgers.

In addition, the dinner was sponsored by Roxanne Conlin & Associate; and the Hole-In-One Sponsor was Willis Auto Campus. Additional sponsors were Susan Frye & Associates, Inc. and Baker Group.


Spring CLE materials are now online

Nearly 300 PCBA members gathered at the Downtown Des Moines Marriott on April 28 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 7.5 hours of State CLE credit, including 1 hour Ethics and 2 hours Federal CLE credit. Click here to download. Member log-in required.


Are you being mindful?

The PCBA Membership Committee invites you to a Breakfast Health & Wellness seminar on Wednesday, Aug. 2, at La Mie Elevate in the Skywalk, 601 Locust, from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Our presenter is Kara Sinnard from Whitfield & Eddy whose topic will be “On the Docket – Mindfulness.”

We anticipate approval for 45 minutes of State and Ethics CLE credit for this meeting. Coffee is on us, and you are free to choose one of La Mie’s healthy options for breakfast or indulge in their yummy pastries and other delectable offerings. Please reserve your spot by sending an email to or by calling (515) 243-3904.


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.



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.