From the President . . .

PCBA President David Nelmark

Lately, there has been lots of talk and news coverage about Iowa judges. We’ve had recent retirements from the District Court, the Court of Appeals, and the Iowa Supreme Court. With those retirements come new applicants who put their credentials and personal lives out there for scrutiny by merit selection committees. Those who are appointed through this process take on a tremendous workload and are tasked with making difficult decisions that impact Iowans’ lives, rights, and freedoms.

To all those Iowans who wear and have worn the black robe, I say “Thank You!”

As a group, you are collectively held in high regard by the members of the Iowa Bar, which is pretty amazing when you think about it. In our adversarial system, almost every decision you make will leave (at least) one party unhappy. Nonetheless, you are respected and appreciated–even when attorneys caught in the throes of advocacy forget to mention it.

Read more….


Get behind the scenes at the Iowa Events Center

Join us for our monthly luncheon on Tuesday, March 12, at noon when our guest speaker will be Chris Connolly, general manager of the Iowa Events Center (which oversees Wells Fargo Arena, Hy-Vee Hall, and the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center). The event will be held at noon at the Iowa Event Center, 730 3rd Street, Des Moines. Tickets are $25 in advance and $27 at the door. Click here for complete details and a reservation form.


It’s membership renewal time

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.


Calling all educators for Law Day competition

PCBA and ARAG Legal Insurance hold a Law Day competition every year for elementary, middle school, and high school students in Polk County. The annual Law Day celebration highlights the role of law in our society to cultivate a deeper understanding of the legal profession. This year’s theme is Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society. Click here for complete details and entry forms.


Consider becoming a Law Day sponsor

For just $100, you or your firm can sponsor a winning student in our Law Day competition. In addition to the goodwill sponsorship generates, it also includes a variety of perks. For example, sponsors or their designee can present the award to their students during a special ceremony, which will be held on May 1 in the courtroom of the Iowa Supreme Court. Sponsors will also be recognized in the written program and receive a photograph with their sponsored student. And, sponsors are invited to network with students during a lunch in the Light Court prior to the awards ceremony. In addition to the awards presentation, the Law Day observance will include special guest speakers from the judiciary, legislative, and executive branch.

Click here for complete details and a sponsorship sign-up form. Sponsorship contributions must be received by April 20.


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.


Committee is seeking nominations

A Nominating Committee has been appointed consisting of the following immediate past presidents of the Polk County Bar Association: William J. Miller, Chair; Bridget Penick, Nathan Overberg, Emily Chafa, Bill Boyd and Anjela Shutts. The Committee will provide nominations for the officers of the Association (president-elect, vice president, secretary and treasurer), the Board of Directors, and representatives to the Board of Governors of the Iowa State Bar Association. The Committee may also determine recipients of the Polk County Bar Association Award of Merit for any members who have made outstanding contributions to the Polk County Bar Association.

Any member may submit suggestions for the Committee’s consideration by contacting William J. Miller, Polk County Bar Association, 625 E. Court Avenue, Suite 100, Des Moines, IA 50309. Members may also contact Bill by telephone at 699-3281 or e-mail Please make your suggestions by March 15. The election will be held at the Annual Meeting of Members on May 14 at the ISBA Conference Center, 625 E. Court Avenue, Suite 100, in Des Moines.


Golfers hit links and support good cause

Twenty-eight groups of 110 golfers hit the links on June 1 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.

The winners in the Mens Flight were: Luke Mohrhauser, Thomas Mohrhauser, Levi Slings, and Greg Woods (59). The Mixed Flight winners were: Hon. Eliza Ovrom, Mark Schuling, Hon. Douglas Staskal, and Tom Levis (62). The following are individual winners: Madelyn Mauk, Women’s Longest Drive; Hon. Douglas Staskal, Men’s Longest Drive; Abhay Nadipuram, Closest to the Pin; and David Shinkle, Longest Putt. Click here to see photos.


A special thanks to our sponsors

The following sponsors helped make the 2018 Bench and Bar Golf Outing such a huge success:

GOLD Sponsors: Ahlers & Cooney, PLC; Belin McCormick, 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; Grefe & Sidney, PLC; Iowa State Bank; Macro & Kozlowski, LLP; McKee, Voorhees, Sease, PLC; Nyemaster Goode, PC; Law Offices of David A. Morse; Shindler, Anderson, Goplerud & Weese PC; Wasker, Dorr, Wimmer & Marcouiller, PC; The Weinhardt Law Firm; and Whitfield & Eddy Law.

SILVER Sponsors: ARAG North America, Inc.; Baker Group; Bob Brown Auto; CashattWarren Family Law, PC; Dorsey & Whitney, LLP; Gislason & Hunter, LLP; Hansen, McClintock & Riley; Hopkins & Huebner, PC; The James Law Firm; Laden & Pearson PC and Feuerhelm Law Office; Sullivan & Ward, PC; Wandro & Associates; and Wilson, Deege, Despotovich, Riemenschneider & Rittgers

Dinner sponsored by Roxanne Conlin & Associates. Hole-In-One Sponsor:Willis Auto Campus. Additional Sponsors: Carney & Appleby, PLC; Holmes Murphy & Associates, LLC; and Lederer, Weston, Craig, PLC.


Winning students celebrate Law Day at Judicial Building

The format was decidedly different, but the end result was the same – the winning students and their families in this year’s PCBA/ARAG Law Day competition and celebration came away with a unique appreciation of the law and its impact on our society.

PCBA partners with ARAG each year to celebrate Law Day by giving Polk County students a chance to learn about the law through artistic expression. Students in grades K through 12 create essays, poetry, works of visual art, technology, or performing art relating to a legal theme. This year’s Law Day theme was Separation of Powers: Framework for Freedom.

In past years, the awards ceremony was held in conjunction with the May PCBA luncheon. This year, however, it was held on May 1 – the actual Law Day – at the Iowa Judicial Branch Building. Special guests from all three branches of Iowa’s state government were on hand to give remarks and mingle with the students, their families, and their teachers. They were: Justices Bruce Zager, Edward Mansfield, and Brent Appel on behalf of the Judicial Branch; Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver on behalf of the Legislative Branch; and Roxann Ryan, Commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety, on behalf of the Executive Branch. Click here to see the winning entries and to view the photo album.


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.