– Iowa S.Ct. Supervisory Order issued announcing Court furlough day May 26

The Iowa Supreme Court issued a Supervisory Order on May 9 addressing measures the court is taking this year to address the Legislature’s recent deappropriation of funds to the Judicial Branch budget.  One of these measures is a court closure day Friday, May 26.   The Supervisory Order can be viewed at this link.

– Free 2.5 hr Access to Justice CLE @ U of I Law School 4/21

On Friday, April 21, 2017, the University of Iowa College of Law is hosting a summit on Access to Justice in Iowa. Lack of access and limits on legal representation in the civil court system are major issues in the legal system. We seek to bring together pre-law students and advisors, law students, lawyers, and judges to learn more about the “justice gap,” engage with each other to explore possible responses, and introduce the work of the Iowa Supreme Court’s new Access to Justice Commission.

The session will take place from noon to 3:00 p.m. on April 21 at Boyd Law Building in Iowa City. We are seeking approval for 2.5 hours of Continuing Legal Education, including 1.0 hour or ethics. This event is free and open to pre-law students and advisors, law students, lawyers, and judges. Lunch will be provided. To register, please complete this online form by Wednesday, April 19.

Tentative agenda

12:00-12:15 Registration & Lunch

12:15-12:45 Introduction to Access to Justice Issues

12:45-1:45 Iowa’s Access to Justice Commission

  • Introduction of the Commission members
  • Background on work of the Commission
  • Break-out sessions:

o   Alternative Dispute Resolution

o   Public outreach

o   Civil Gideon

o   Pro bono/ Private partnerships

1:45-2:00 Break

2:00-3:00 Ethics Issues

  • Limited scope representation
  • Financial assistance to indigent clients
  • Withdrawal from representation
  • Mandatory pro bono requirements

Presenters include Anjela Shutts, Co-Chair of the Iowa Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission; the Hon. Kevin McKeever, Judge of the Sixth Judicial District; and Eric Goers, Chair of the Iowa State Bar Association’s Legal Access Committee.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Nilza Molina at nilza-molina@uiowa.edu.

– New Small Claims Court Protocol

The Linn County District Court has instituted a new protocol for small claims mediations and trials, effective starting Tuesday, March 7, 2017.   The intent of the change is to make the process run more smoothly for pro se litigants, who make up the majority of litigants in small claims court.

Under the new protocol, trial dates will no longer be scheduled on the same date as mediation.  Mediation  will be scheduled first and the parties who don’t settle in mediation will be directed to a pretrial conference conducted by a magistrate immediately following the mediation.  At the pretrial conference the magistrate will set the trial on a Thursday two weeks out and discuss with the litigants the rules of evidence and procedures which will be followed at the trial.  In addition to setting the trial date, the primary purpose of the pretrial conference is to facilitate the conduct of the trial by providing pro se litigants in particular key information about what evidence can be presented at trial and how the litigants should conduct themselves during trial.

Mediations will be set on Tuesdays according to the schedule at this link:  NEW SMALL CLAIMS SCHEDULING INFO 

– Nominees for Vacant District Court Judge position announced

The Sixth Judicial District Nominating Commission has announced its two nominees for the vacant District Court Judge position:  Andrew Chappell of Iowa City and Michael LaHammer of Mount Vernon.

The nominees will be submitted to the governor, who will make the appointment to the bench.

The vacancy is due to the retirement of Hon. Robert Sosalla.