From the President . . .

PCBA President William Miller

I hate electronic filing.

I’m of the generation of Iowa lawyers that bridges the gap between pre- and post-electronic filing eras (our scarlet letters are AT numbers that are sub-8,000 or so). In particular, as a younger lawyer at the time the state court eFile System dawned, I’m acutely aware of the differences between the two filing epochs.

E-filing is generally more convenient (assuming the system is adequately funded and operating, so fingers crossed) and is certainly more environmentally friendly. The risk of rodent ruin has been reduced… right? And now I can squeeze in a hyperlink to that one website with critical information to which I’m sure the judge can extend judicial notice.

However, e-filing has eliminated something that was invaluable: time at the courthouse dropping off pleadings, picking up records, digging through musty files, and most importantly, interacting with each other, court staff, and our judges. Hitting “submit” to e-file a document and then checking Twitter for a few minutes is a poor substitute for hearing the “ka-chunk” when your document was stamped and then bumping into a colleague or judge on your way back to the office. Read more.

 

Help Bridget conquer the wings and support our VLP!

PCBA Past President Bridget Penick

The 12th Annual EAT-A-THON, a chicken wing eating contest and fundraiser, will take place at Jethro’s BBQ near Drake University’s campus in Des Moines on Monday, April 23, at 7 p.m. This year, PCBA’s own Past President Bridget Penick will team up with Drake University Law School student Bevin Holloway to eat wings and raise money for the PCBA Volunteer Lawyers Project.

The event is sponsored annually by icare and Delta Theta Phi, a law fraternity at Drake University Law School. Joining icare and the Delts as sponsors this year are Jethro’s BBQ and the law firm Dorsey & Whitney LLP. The contestants and their wingmen solicit pledges prior to the event, and eat as many chicken wings as they can in fifteen minutes during the event. Champions in the past have consumed over 100 chicken wings and some have earned over $50 for each chicken wing. Over the years the event has raised over $100,000 to benefit approximately 50 Iowa non-profits! Last year’s winner was another PCBA past president, Nathan Overberg, who raised $4,000 for the PCBA VLP. Click here for complete details and a link to make your pledge for Bridget and Bevin: http://www.iowacare.org/eat-a-thon

 

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 required.

 

Something for everyone at our Spring CLE

You won’t want to miss our Spring General Practice CLE to be held on Friday, April 20, at the Downtown Marriott Hotel. Among the many topics to be covered are ADA/FMLA, Buy-Sell Agreements, The Realities of Implicit Bias, Essential Apps and Websites for Litigators, and Unbundling of Legal Services.

This is event is FREE for current members. There is a $25 charge for printed materials, but the materials will also be posted in the Members Only area of our website following the event. We anticipate approval for 7.5 State CLE credit hours with 1.75 hours Ethics. Approval for 1 hour Federal credit is pending. Click here for details and the registration form.

 

You are cordially invited ….

The PCBA Bench & Bar Committee invites you to attend our spring social on Thursday, April 26, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the ISBA Conference Center, 625 East Court Avenue in Des Moines. Please join us as we recognize the newly appointed judges and honor those judges who are retiring or taking senior status. Complimentary Hors d’Oeuvres and beverages will be served. Please RSVP via email to Sonja Diener or phone 243-3904.

 

Go golfing with us and support our VLP

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 1, at the Waveland Golf Course in Des Moines. Registration begins at noon with a shotgun start at 1 p.m. If you register before April 28, 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 complete details and to download the registration form.

 

Why not become a golf sponsor?

We hope to raise more than $25,000 for the PCBA VLP through hole sponsorships and donations at this year’s PCBA Bench & Bar Golf Outing. We are offering two sponsorship levels – the Gold and Silver levels. The Gold level is an exclusive hole sponsorship. One large sign will be on each hole. Only 18 Gold level sponsorships are available. The cost is $1,000 and includes one foursome as part of the Gold Sponsorship package. The Silver level sponsorship is $500. Signage of all Silver sponsors will be displayed at the tournament starting box. Click here for details about how you can become a sponsor.

 

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.

 

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.

If you have questions about your membership, contact PCBA Executive Director Carol Phillips. Click here for details and to download the membership form.

 

Playing games for a good cause

Rick Olson (right) accepts the Trivia Challenge Trophy from Master of Ceremonies Former Justice Michael Streit.

The PCBA hosted yet another Trivia Challenge Night to benefit the PCBA Volunteer Lawyers Project on June 29 at the ISBA building. Teams of eight players each showed off their knowledge of all things trivial while Master of Ceremonies, former Justice Michael Streit, once again kept the event moving and the crowd entertained for this seventh installment of this wildly popular event.

Rick Olson Law Firm’s team, “To be determined,” took home the winning trophy after correctly answering a tie-breaking question with the Branstad Law Firm’s “Inimicus Curiae” team. See if you can answer the tie breaking question: Science. At their closest points, how far is Mars from Earth in millions of miles?

But the real winners were the clients of the Volunteer Lawyers Project as the event raised more than $5,000 to support its efforts. Click here to view photos.

 

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.

 

 

 

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.