From the President . . .

PCBA President Donna Miller

Just as the Historic Polk County Courthouse is undergoing renovation to better serve the legal community, so too is your bar association. The Board is continuing to expand and improve opportunities for members.

To that end, the Small Firm/Solo Practice Committee has planned additional meetings. These popular and well-attended meetings provide members with free and interesting CLE (and lunch) and the opportunity for attorneys to build a referral network with those who specialize in other areas. We have a pretty liberal definition of “small firm”, so the meetings are open to all attorneys. Debra Hockett-Clark and Elizabeth Kellner-Nelson do a great job of running this committee.

We have also rolled out a new committee for corporate and in-house counsel. This allows us to offer educational/CLE presentations, networking, and social opportunities specially tailored for the interests of this expanding group of PCBA members. We are grateful to Past-President Nathan Overberg’s leadership of this committee.

We heard your suggestions for improved event scheduling, payment processes, and integration with your calendars. Perhaps some of you have had the opportunity to use Eventbrite to register for a PCBA event. We have had positive feedback from the limited rollout of that service. Our next steps are to overhaul the PCBA website and integrate a scheduling/payment platform for all of our events. Read more.


The bar exam past, present, and future

Join us for our monthly luncheon on Tuesday, October 8, when our featured speaker will be Dan Saar, the assistant director for admissions in the Iowa Office of Professional Regulation. Dan will take us through the evolution of the bar exam over the years, its structure now, and what the future may hold for the exam in Iowa.

The event will begin at noon at the Iowa State Bar Association Conference Center, 625 East Court Avenue, in Des Moines. The cost is $17 in advance and $19 at the door, but please keep in mind that seating is limited and it may not be possible to accommodate walk-ins. Please make your reservation by Thursday, October 3, if possible. Click here for details and a reservation form.


Law teams test trivia knowledge

Fresh off their big Trivia Challenge win, “East Village People” team members from Fredrikson and Byron pose with their trophy.

The PCBA hosted another successful Trivia Challenge Night to benefit the PCBA Volunteer Lawyers Project on July 25 at the ISBA Conference Center. Thirteen teams 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 ninth installment of this wildly popular event.

Team East Village People (Fredrikson & Byron, PA) took home the winning trophy after beating out The Benchwarmers (Judges of the 5th Judicial District) by correctly answering the tie-breaking question: “In miles, what is the length of the Des Moines River?” The answer: 525 Miles.

But the real winners were the clients of the Volunteer Lawyers Project as the event raised more than $7,000 to support its efforts.

Other teams taking part were: Grefe & Sidney, PLC; Burgers & Acquisitions (Davis Brown Law Firm); Inimicus Curiae (Branstad & Olson Law Office); ABM150 (Emily Chafa & Friends); Ipse Dixiters (Whitfield & Eddy Law); A Firm Commitment to Trivia (Brown Winick Law Firm); What Happened to Benson? (Faegre Baker Daniels LLP); NYE-Masters of Trivia (Nyemaster Goode, PC); Wellmark-Insuring a Win! (Wellmark); Ahl-Stars (Ahlers & Cooney, PC); and Ruthless Ginsburgs (Hedberg & Boulton, PC).



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.


A special thanks to our golf sponsors

The sponsors listed below helped make the 2019 Bench and Bar Golf Outing such a huge success:

GOLD: Ahlers & Cooney, PC; Bradshaw, Fowler, Proctor & Fairgrave, PC; Brick Gentry, PC; Brown Winick, PLC; Davis Brown Law Firm; Dickinson, Mackaman, Tyler & Hagen, PC; Drew Law Firm, PC; Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP; Finley Law Firm, PC; Fredrikson & Byron, PA; Galligan & Reid, PC; Gratias Investigations, Inc.; Grefe & Sidney, PLC; Iowa State Bank; Macro & Kozlowski, LLP; McKee, Voorhees, Sease, PLC; Northwestern Mutual; Nyemaster Goode, PC; Shindler, Anderson, Goplerud & Weese, PC; Timmer & Judkins, PLLC; Wasker, Dorr, Wimmer & Marcouiller, PC; The Weinhardt Law Firm; and Whitfield & Eddy Law.

SILVER: Dorsey & Whitney, LLP; Gislason & Hunter, LLP; Hansen, McClintock & Riley; Hartung Schroeder Law Firm; Hopkins & Huebner, PC; The James Law Firm; Laden & Pearson Law Office and Miller, Zimmerman & Evans, PLC; and Miki McGovern and Emily Chafa.

Dinner Sponsor: Roxanne Conlin & Associates. Hole-In-One Sponsor: Willis Auto Campus. Additional Sponsor: McCormally & Cosgrove, PLLC.


Get your Spring CLE materials here

Some 200 PCBA members gathered at the Downtown Des Moines Marriott on April 12 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. Activity number 321777. Click here to download the materials. Member login required.


Students honored at annual Law Day event

Each year, the PCBA and ARAG® invites students in grades K through 12 from schools throughout the Des Moines area to take part in our Law Day competition in the Coloring, Poster, Essay, Poetry, Visual Arts, Technology, Music and Drama categories.

The 2019 theme – Free Press, Free Speech, Free Society – provided the opportunity for students to explore these First Amendment rights. The winning students, their teachers, and parents were recognized at a luncheon and awards ceremony at the Judicial Branch Building on May 1. In addition, they had the opportunity to hear presentations and mingle with special guest speakers Justice Susan Christensen of the Iowa Supreme Court, Eric Hanson of KCCI Des Moines, Des Moines Register Columnist Courtney Crowder, and Laura Belin of the Bleeding Heartland Blog.

Special thanks go to the PCBA Law Day Committee co-chaired by Kala Anderson and Stephanie Marett. Click here to see the winning entries and to view photos of the event.


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