On Thursday, December 5, the Citizen Lawyer Program hosted Cedar Rapids attorney and 2005 Iowa Law alum Caitlin Slessor for its final Lawyers & Leaders event of the semester. Caitlin, a family law and criminal defense attorney at Nazette, Marner, Nathanson & Shea, LLP, shared lessons from her nine years of practice on what lawyers can do to improve communication with their clients.
Caitlin’s presentation, titled “The Art of Client Communication,” outlined six general communication tips that every lawyer should know: be a good listener, be curious and nosy, put your client at ease to ask you questions, write things down, do not put off difficult conversations, and know your audience. She emphasized the last point and said that while it was the most challenging, knowing your audience and responding accordingly is important for all lawyers because they talk with a wide variety of people and lawyering is fundamentally a helping profession.
Caitlin also shared tips for dealing with difficult clients, such as digging deeper to make sure that their underlying issues are addressed, and advocating for positive solutions so that you don’t get stuck navigating the same conflicts repeatedly. Caitlin made the point that often your most difficult clients will be those with whom you can make the most difference, because part of an attorney’s role is to coach her clients and make sure their message is presented in the best possible way.
The PowerPoint slides from Caitlin’s talk are available here: The Art of Client Communication Presentation by Caitlin Slessor.
Yesterday, NPR’s Fresh Air looked at interrogation techniques and false confessions. The story included a discussion of the case of Darrel Parker, who spoke at the law school last spring as part of CLP’s Lawyers & Leaders series. Darrel was wrongfully convicted of the 1955 murder of his wife based on a false confession elicited using the Reid method. Click here to listen to the story.
A big thank you goes out to everyone who helped make the annual food drive a success! This year, the Iowa Law School Community donated food, daily living supplies, and money to the Crisis Center of Johnson County.
This year the Crisis Center, which provides much needed food and social services to Johnson County residents, received 346 pounds of food and daily living supplies as well as $221 in cash donations as a result of the generous contributions from the Iowa Law community!
This year, the ISBA made the food drive a competition among the student organizations at the law school. Items were categorized into point values, with the highest demand items receiving the most points. After all the points were calculated, this year’s food drive accumulated 2807 points! A marked improvement from the 2394 points from last year and 2165 points in 2011!!!
A big thank you and congratulations goes out to the winners and champions for this year’s annual food drive– PHIDS! The members of Phi Delta Phi donated an impressive 904 points alone! Great job PHIDS and Iowa Law for another successful food drive!
The LAST Lawyers & Leaders presentation is this
Thursday, Dec. 5 at 12:40 in BLB 285. If you haven’t attended a L&L yet this semester–a requirement for membership in the Pro Bono Society–this is your last chance. Refreshments will also be provided!
The Citizen Lawyer Program is excited to welcome Nazette Marner attorney Caitlin Slessor for “The Art of Client Communication.” Client communication is a key skill for any attorney, and Caitlin will provide practical tips and strategies for effective communication, even with very difficult clients.
If attending, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by noon on Wednesday. We look forward to seeing you!
The CLP office is looking for volunteers with an interest in tax. The VITA program provides free tax-preparation services to individuals who make $51,000 or less and need help preparing their tax return. The Tippie College of Business administers the program in the Iowa City and Coralville area, and law students are encouraged to volunteer. This program provides an excellent opportunity for volunteers to develop client interaction skills while also providing a much-needed service to individuals who might not otherwise file taxes or realize that they are eligible for up to thousands of dollars of tax credits. Volunteers can participate with the VITA program either as a tax preparer, greeter, or translator. All hours spent on the project, including training, will count toward Boyd Services Hours.
Program participants will generally obtain certification from the IRS over Winter Break, and will begin preparing returns in late January. The tax season ends mid-April. These taxpayer assistance sessions will occur Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30-8:30 pm and from 1:00-4:00 pm on Sundays. Participants are required to sign up for at least six taxpayer assistance sessions. Participants do not have a set schedule and sign up for sessions as their schedule permits.
For more information, visit http://tippie.uiowa.edu/bap/vita/, contact Jessica Uhlenkamp at email@example.com, or stop by the CLP office. To sign up, visit http://tippie.uiowa.edu/bap/activities/vita_signup_law.cfm.
In past years, AmeriCorps, in partnership with Equal Justice Works, has offered education awards to law students serving in public interest positions during the summer through its Summer Corps program. Now, law students can earn education awards through approved AmeriCorps service projects (see below) throughout the year. The expanded program is now called AmeriCorps JD.
Learn more about this new program in a free webinar next Tuesday:
- When: Tuesday, November 26 at 3 p.m. EST
- How: Click here to register for the webinar
- Or: go to the AmeriCorps JD website and view the recording of the webinar after 11/26
Details for the AmeriCorps JD Program:
- Participants earn a $1,175 AmeriCorps Education Award voucher that can be used to pay current educational expenses or qualified student loans
- Law student slots throughout the school year will be available for placements where students provide legal assistance to low-income and homeless veterans or victims of disasters.
- Students can serve in any nonprofit organization, but they must be supervised by a licensed attorney.
- Please note that students receiving school credit for their service must get permission from their school’s administration to also receive an AmeriCorps education award. Students who receive compensation in excess of $4,300 for their service are not eligible.
Last week, the Citizen Lawyer Program hosted Visiting Professor Jim Leach for a Lawyers and Leaders event titled “Civility in Law and Governance.” During his talk on Thursday, November 14, Professor Leach used philosophical and also real-world examples from his 30-year career as a congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives to discuss this topic with over 50 law students and members of the UI College of Law community. He said that training in the law, in a governance sense, applies to all three branches of government, because of the historical perspective gained from looking at precedent and the ability to seek common ground from examining both sides of a case.
This spring, the Citizen Lawyer Program will sponsor the second annual Des Moines Alternative Spring Break Trip. During the third week of March, Iowa Law students will travel to Iowa’s capital to gain exposure to every facet of state government as well as an in-depth look at the legislative process and even work individually with a state legislators. This is a great opportunity for students interested in practicing in Des Moines and students interested in the legislative process, policy work, or public service.
The Citizen Lawyer Program is calling all potentially interested students to sign up for our mailing list to get more details about the trip. By signing up for this list you are not committing to going on the trip but are expressing your interest in learning more about it. To put your name on this list, email firstname.lastname@example.org