President’s Message: April-May 2018

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.

Luckily, we still have opportunities to interact with each other and our judges in person at Polk County Bar Association events like our monthly luncheons and bench-and-bar socials. In fact, our next luncheon is April 10 and our next social is April 26. That’s right: two chances in one month! Additional information about both events is available in this newsletter.

PCBA luncheons and socials regularly attract a majority of our local judges and justices who are quick to gab about anything except your pending case, sometimes over a (free!) drink. Catching a judge “in the wild” is invaluable. The chance for lawyers of all vintages to simply mix and mingle is critical to the collegiality of our profession.

If you aren’t attending PCBA events you’re really missing out. I hope to see you at all of them because I’ll no longer be seeing you at 4:29 in the filing line at the clerk’s office (no more than four in the room at a time!).