From the President . . .

PCBA President Donna Miller

By the Numbers: Help Fill the Gap

Fifty-eight. The most recent “wish list” from the PCBA Volunteer Lawyers listed 58 people in need of legal services. While there are 27 people who need help with family and paternity matters (Nicole needs a divorce, Peter needs to disestablish paternity), 31 people need help with other matters (Frank has a landlord issue, Elizabeth needs a guardianship for her disabled daughter, Adrianne’s husband died and the house was in his name). The individuals and families on this list have diverse backgrounds and equally diverse legal needs. Whether your practice experience is in family law, wills/probate, bankruptcy, veteran’s benefits, landlord/tenant, or tort law, you can help.

Twenty-three. The wish list also recognizes the attorneys who each accepted one to three cases from the last wish list for a total of 23 clients who are receiving assistance. Thank you Katherine, Maria, Tyler, Nick, Danni, Bryn, Shanon, RJ, Steve, Jennifer, Alison, and Robert. There are approximately 1200 attorneys who have indicated a willingness to accept cases, but only 127 took cases through VLP last year.

Fifty. Our ethical rules provide an aspirational 50-hour pro bono goal. The hours we are strongly recommended to complete each year, but only a small percentage of us reach that goal. Read more.


February luncheon to feature Justice Edward Mansfield

Justice Edward Mansfield

Join us for our Bench & Bar luncheon on Tuesday, February 11,  where our featured speaker will be Iowa Supreme Court Justice Edward Mansfield. His topic is Ten things you probably didn’t know about the Iowa Supreme Court.

The event will be held at noon at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, 909 Robert D. Ray Drive, Des Moines. Tickets are $25 in advance and $27 at the door and includes a complimentary admission to the Botanical Gardens for the day of the luncheon, during public hours. Click here for details and to make your reservation.

Keep in mind that seating is limited and we may not be able to accommodate walk-ins, so please make your reservation by Thursday, February 6.


Fall CLE materials are now online

Nearly 300 PCBA members gathered at the Downtown Des Moines Marriott on November 22 to network and stay on top of their profession at the Fall 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 including. 2 hours of Ethics. Click here to download the materials.


Law teams test their trivia knowledge

The PCBA hosted yet another successful Trivia Challenge Night to benefit the PCBA Volunteer Lawyers Project on November 13 at the ISBA Conference Center.. Twelve teams of eight players each showed off their knowledge of all things trivial while Master of Ceremonies Michael Kuehner of Grefe & Sidney, PLC, kept the event moving and the crowd entertained for the tenth installment of this wildly popular event.

Taking home the winning trophy were The Benchwarmers – Judges of the 5th Judicial District Robert Hutchison, Douglas Staskal (Ret.), Sarah Crane, Michael Huppert, Heather Lauber, Coleman McAllister, David Porter, and Joseph Seidlin. But the real winners were the clients of the Volunteer Lawyers Project as the event raised more than $7,500 to support its efforts.

Other teams taking part were: Branstad Law – Inimicus Curiae; Faegre, Baker, Daniels – What happened to Benson?; Finley Law Firm – Necrotizing Fact-y-it is; Whitfield & Eddy Law – Ipse Dixiters; Supreme Court and friends – On Further Review; Fredrikson & Byron – East Village People; Hartung & Schroeder – Tired Lawmas; Iowa Legal Aid – Iowa Legal Aid; Grefe & Sidney – Good Grefe; Ahlers & Cooney – Ahl-Stars; Nyemaster Goode – Drinking Team with a Trivia Problem; Businessolver – Representing the Bluth Company.


Golfers hit the links for a good cause

Some 100 golfers hit the links on June 7 at the annual Bench and Bar golf outing to benefit the Polk County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project. The event, which was held at the Waveland Golf Course, raised nearly $25,000 for the cause.

The winners in the First Flight were: 1st Place – Joe Moser, Ted Stopulos, Erik Bergeland, and Rob Johnson; 2nd Place – Brant Leonard, Phil Bubb, Marc Ward, and Emily Pontius. The winners in the Second Flight were: 1st Place – Dustin Mueller, Sarah Kouri, Alison Stewart, and Nick Cooling; 2nd Place – Tyler Smith, Marshall Tuttle, Joe Barron, and Lee Hook. Other winners: Closest to the Pin (Hole Number 2) – Scott Riemenschneider; Longest Putt – Joe Moser; Longest Drive (Women) – Laura Lockwood; Longest Drive (Men) – Noah Stochl; Closest to the Pin (Hole Number 13) – Noah Stochl.

Two new contests were introduced this year. In one, which was sponsored by Van Everett of Northwestern Mutual, participants could pay to have golf pro Broc Everett hit their drives on Hole 7. In the other game, which was sponsored by Iowa State Bank, golfers paid $5 in the hope that they could hit the green with their first shot. Among those who did hit the green, one name was drawn at random to receive half of the prize. The winner was Christian Walker who donated his share of the winnings to the PCBA VLP.

Click here to see our photo gallery.


Have you renewed your 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 enrollment form. And don’t forget that you or you firm can use a credit card or send us a check to pay your dues.


Support the VLP; get a tax deduction

Don’t forget that you can make a contribution to the Polk County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project and get a tax deduction in 2019.

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, demand for PCBA VLP services has never been higher while our funding continues to decline. To help make it easier to support our efforts,

And it’s never been easier to donate. The PCBA VLP now offers you the ability to make donations on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis and you can use a credit card. Click here for more information and the donation form.


Attend a luncheon on us!

New PCBA members and those who renew their membership are entitled to attend one of our informative and timely PCBA Luncheons on us — FREE of CHARGE — No strings attached! Attend one of our luncheons and find out for yourself why we are the premiere organization for Polk County attorneys, judges, and other members. Click here to download our certificate and return it to us before the luncheon you want to attend in order to receive your credit or contact Sonja Diener. Member login require