From the President . . .


PCBA President
Emily Gould Chafa

As we approach the new year, I’m asking all of you to give your time, talent, and treasure. This time, I’m speaking about one of the goals of our strategic plan, which focuses on the PCBA VLP. Goal number three: To continue our leadership role to provide meaningful access to justice and legal assistance.

It’s time to get out of your comfort zone and give back to our community, to low income Polk County residents in need of professional legal assistance. The PCBA VLP offers a variety of ways to share your time, talent and treasure. Did you know that the PCBA VLP typically serves 900 low income local clients per year? As you know from reading the monthly PCBA VLP wish lists, the legal needs certainly vary. It’s not all family law. All sorts of substantive legal expertise are needed, almost every month.

How can you get out and give back through the PCBA VLP? Read more.


Mark your calendar for our February Bench & Bar luncheon

Chief Justice Mark Cady

Chief Justice Mark Cady

You won’t want to miss our February 10 luncheon when our featured speaker will be Chief Justice Mark Cady. The event begins at noon at the Downtown Des Moines Marriott Hotel, 700 Grand Ave.

Tickets are $17 in advance or $19 at the door, but keep in mind that seating is limited and we may not be able to accommodate walk ins. Click here to download the reservation form. 


Seeking students to take part in Law Day

The Polk County Bar Association gives students a chance to get creative with the law as part of the annual Law Day celebration. Chief among the activities is the visual arts, music, essay and poetry competition for students in grades 6 through 12  in Polk County.

The theme of the 2015 contest is “Magna Carta: Symbol of Freedom Under Law.” The deadline for entries is April 10 and the winners will be honored at a May 12 luncheon held in conjunction with the PCBA annual meeting. Click here for details and a packet of materials or call co-chairs Dan Saar at 725-2236 or Gail Sheridan-Lucht at 281-6374.


Fall CLE materials are now online

Some 250 PCBA members gathered at the Downtown Des Moines Marriott on November 21 to network and stay on top of their profession at the Fall CLE seminar. As always, the CLE provided a full day of diverse 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 of Ethics and 2.75 hours of Federal. Click here to download the materials (member login required).


Trivia teams compete for a great cause

The PCBA hosted its 4th Trivia Challenge Night to benefit the PCBA Volunteer Lawyers Project on November 6. Justice Michael Streit once again served as master of ceremonies. Justice Streit kept the event moving and the crowd entertained! The night’s winning team was the Ipse Dixiters aka as the Whitfield and Eddy team. Nearly $7,000 was raised through table sponsors and the popular “Double Down” option.

Many thanks to the Trivia Challenge Committee Chair Mary Zambreno; Committee members Jennifer Zwagerman, Maggie Hanson, Erin Lain, Ashleigh O’Connell, Alison Kurth and Patrick Shanahan; and PCBA and ISBA staffers Sonja Diener, Lisa Hanson and Chris Fritz for all the time and effort taken to make this event a success. Also thanks to Brown Winick, Dickinson, Laden & Pearson and Anjie Shutts and Peter Kitundu for sponsoring dinner and beverages. Planning for the summer Trivia Night will begin soon. Want to help? Contact Carol Burdette at Click here to view photos. 


It’s time to renew your PCBA 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 renewal form. And, as a bonus, first-time PCBA members and those who renew their membership for 2015 are entitled to attend one of our informative and timely PCBA Luncheons on us – FREE of CHARGE – No strings attached! If you have questions about your membership, contact PCBA Executive Director Carol Burdette. Click here for details and to download the membership form.


Support our VLP and get a tax deduction to boot!

As 2014 draws to a close, our attention turns to year-end tax planning. Don’t forget that contributions to the Polk County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project are tax-deductible. 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, the tough economic conditions have severely impacted the PCBA VLP. Demand for services has never been higher while our funding continues to decline. The PCBA VLP now offers you the ability to make donations on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis – all you need to do is check the appropriate option on your PCBA membership renewal form. And don’t forget that the PCBA VLP is a tax-exempt, charitable organization which means any donation you make is tax deductible. You can also designate the PCBA VLP as the recipient on your United Way donation. Click here to learn more from PCBA VLP President Alexander Johnson.