President’s Message – December/January 2021

PCBA President Nick Cooper

The PCBA created the Polk County Bar Association District Court Mediation Program (PCBA Mediation Program) in 1991 to promote alternative dispute resolution among District 5C lawyers for civil lawsuits. PCBA then partnered with the Des Moines Area Association of Realtors and expanded the program to include real estate matters; and, in 2000, expanded the program further to include family law cases. For nearly 30 years, the PCBA has facilitated litigants, lawyers, and the court in resolving cases through the PCBA Mediation Program.

The past nine months have brought new challenges to the courts in administering judicial processes and managing courtrooms. One such challenge facing our court system is incorporating mitigation measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus infection while at the same time continuing its charge to administer justice as expediently as possible. In spite of the pandemic, legal disputes continue to emerge and new cases continue to be filed.

Once again, the PCBA Mediation Program is here to help! Today, the PCBA Mediation Program handles all small claims mediations in Polk County, and in doing so, helps relieve the court of its incredibly high case load. The PCBA Mediation Program also remains the primary point of contact for parties in family law cases. For pro se litigants, who might be unfamiliar with, or overwhelmed by the court system, including victims of domestic abuse, veterans, and the homeless, the PCBA Mediation Program provides an essential judicial navigating service to help keep their cases moving forward without having to request the same of the court.

If you are contemplating mediation in your case, and I know many of you are due to the challenges and delays in trials, I am asking you to use the PCBA Mediation Program to schedule your mediation. In doing so, you are truly supporting the PCBA Mediation Program and ultimately supporting our judicial system, which needs your support today more than ever. Plus, you will get excellent service from our Program Administrator, Julie Seidlin.

Finally, in response to reports of unprecedented stress facing our legal community as a result of high unemployment rates, educational uncertainty, and disruption to family structure, the Polk County Bar Association has made the decision to reduce the mediation administrative fee from $120 to $80 effective immediately. This fee is normally shared equally by the parties. Please contact Julie at 515-286-2140 for your next mediation.