From the President . . .
Years ago, as a young freshly minted lawyer, the mentors in my firm, including Anjie Shutts, emphasized the importance of getting to know the lawyers in our community in a non-adversarial setting. So, with their encouragement, I joined the Polk County Bar Association (PCBA) looking for opportunities to connect with other local practitioners of my new profession. It was good advice because the PCBA prioritized bringing its members together to learn and socialize with each other on a regular basis. Those opportunities for connection became a very important benefit of my membership in the PCBA and, in preparing to serve as the 2020-2021 PCBA President, I was very much looking forward to continuing these social opportunities and interacting with our members and my friends.
Well…a lot has changed over the past four months! Here I sit, typing my first message to our valued members from my new “home office,” formerly known as “my basement.” The national health pandemic has transformed many of our daily routines into difficult, sometimes even impossible, tasks. Simple acts like a “hello” in the office hallway or a high-five celebrating a good outcome in a case seem like extravagant gestures that we, perhaps, took for granted. While social connections may look different today in these incredibly challenging times, we can still connect with one another, albeit a “socially distant” connection, and facilitating safe, responsible connections among our membership will remain an important priority of PCBA this year.
How will we continue to provide such opportunities in the midst of a national health pandemic? We find new ways to connect. For example, in recent years the PCBA and the Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) have hosted a summer Trivia Night Fundraiser to benefit the VLP, which also served as a great opportunity for summer law clerks to team up with their firm colleagues and connect with other attorneys and judges in a fun, friendly competition. Read more.
September luncheon to explore justice system issues
Get back in the swing of things and plan to join us on Tuesday, Sept. 8, for our first luncheon of the season. This virtual event will feature guest speaker Erin Lain, associate provost for campus equity and inclusion and associate professor of law at Drake University. Her topic will be “Systemic issues in the justice system.” Watch the PCBA website and emails for Zoom instructions and lunch information.
Golf outing to benefit PCBA VLP
The annual PCBA Bench & Bar Golf Outing to benefit the PCBA Volunteer Lawyers Project will be held on Friday, Oct. 9, at the Waveland Golf Course in Des Moines. Registration begins at noon with a Shotgun Start at 1 p.m. Register before Aug. 22 and pay only $115.00/person, which includes green fees, cart, brown bag lunch, and dinner following golf. Click here for complete details and registration forms.
Mark your calendar for expanded Fall CLE
Because of the COVID-19 virus outbreak, our Spring General Practice CLE, which was planned for April 3, has been rescheduled for November 12 and 13. It will be a two-day seminar. The total hours for both days will be 15 hours CLE credit. We will post on this website and email more details about the CLE as soon as they are available.
Do you have the latest orders?
In an effort to maintain court services as much as possible while preventing the spread of Covid-19, both the Iowa Supreme Court and the District Court have issued modifications to certain court functions. Your PCBA is committed to getting this information out to you as soon as possible so be sure to watch your email messages for important updates from us. Meanwhile, click here to see recent supervisory and administrative orders. Member login required.
Hotline created to help with COVID-19 legal issues
Iowa Legal Aid, The Iowa State Bar Association, and the Polk County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project (PCBA VLP) have partnered to a create The COVID-19 Legal Advice Hotline – 1-800-332-0419. This Hotline is a free service available to Iowans who are experiencing legal issues due to the public health crisis.
The Hotline operates between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Iowans experiencing any type of legal problem related to the coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis, such as facing eviction, being denied unemployment benefits, experiencing employment issues, or being a victim of identity theft, can call 1-800-332-0419. Callers will leave a message and Iowa Legal Aid staff will call them back. Those who meet Iowa Legal Aid’s guidelines will be connected with an Iowa Legal Aid attorney; those who are outside of Iowa Legal Aid’s guidelines will be connected with volunteer attorneys through The Iowa State Bar Association and the Polk County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project.
Attorneys from a broad range of practice areas are needed to assist in this effort. If you are interested in taking cases pro bono that arise from this hotline, please contact ISBA Director of Innovation and Outreach Virginia Sipes at email@example.com or contact PCBA Executive Director Carol Phillips firstname.lastname@example.org. Please indicate your practice areas in the email. Click here to see how the Hotline works.
Helpful links, articles, and other COVD-19 resources
In response to the developing situation surrounding COVID-19, the Iowa State Bar Association has compiled a variety of resources to assist and educate. Click here to learn more.
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.
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.