From the President . . .

PCBA President David Nelmark

It’s National Pro Bono Month!

The American Bar Association has designated October to recognize attorneys who set aside time to assist those who cannot afford to hire an attorney. There is no better time to take on a pro bono case, and the Polk County Bar Association can be a great help in that effort.

For more than 35 years, the PCBA has worked hard to increase local access to justice. This past year, more than 300 attorneys provided legal assistance to low-income members of our community. Collectively, they provided nearly 4300 volunteer hours. At a rate of $200 per hour this would be $860,000 in billable time donated by these generous attorneys.

The aspirational goal of at least 50 hours of pro bono service is outlined in Iowa Rule of Professional Conduct 32:6:1. Click here for the 2017-18 Honor Roll of all attorneys who closed cases in the last fiscal year, with the names of those who met the 50-hour goal in bold print.

If you were part of the above efforts, thank you! If you have not yet been involved, please consider contacting the PCBA Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) to assist in the future.

Approximately one-third of the VLP’s clients are referred to the program following intake at Iowa Legal Aid. The VLP also works closely with the Drake Legal Clinic and many social service agencies. Read more ….


Something for everyone at our Fall CLE

Make plans now to attend the PCBA Fall General Practice CLE on Friday, Nov. 16, at the Downtown Marriott Hotel. Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. and the program will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. This CLE will truly offer something for everyone with a wide variety of sessions being planned. Among the speakers and topics they will explore are: Anjela Shutts & Tim Pearson – Family Law; Jim Nervig – Partition Actions; George Davison, Jr. – Case law update; Justice Edward Mansfield & Jaki Livingston – Criminal Law; Jenny Dorman – Legislative Update; and Trinity Braun-Arana/Jessica Taylor – Grievance Process and Discipline.

This seminar has been approved for 7.5 Iowa CLE hours, including 1 hour of ethics, and it is FREE to PCBA members. Click here for details and the registration form.


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 to download the news release.

Click here for information about past Law Day celebrations.


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.


Spring CLE materials are now posted online

Some 200 PCBA members gathered at the Downtown Des Moines Marriott on April 20 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 1.75 hours Ethics and 2.75 hours Federal. Click here to download the materials.


Support our VLP and get a tax deduction to boot!

Did you know 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 for details.


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.

If you have questions about your membership, contact PCBA Executive Director Carol Phillips. Click here for details and to download the membership form.