August 9, 2022


Let'S Talk Law

Right after 25 yrs of challenge-fixing, metropolis of Iowa City’s legal professional to retire

IOWA City – The function of the metropolis legal professional is large, significantly in communities as significant as Iowa Town.

Broadly, metropolis attorneys represent city departments and staff members, the city council and boards in legal matters. All those can vary from employment and home legislation to economic enhancement to planning and zoning.

For Iowa City Lawyer Eleanor Dilkes, it all boils down to acquiring and solving problems.

‘A great legal professional is superior at spotting difficulties,” Dilkes claimed. ‘If you are not able to spot problems, you cannot function very well as an attorney.”

For a quarter century, Dilkes has been recognizing and addressing challenges for Iowa Town. Hired as an assistant city legal professional in 1996, Dilkes has been the city’s direct lawyer considering that 1997. She is set to retire April 16.

‘I’ve been performing since I was 14 years aged,” she reported. ‘It’s nearly unimaginable that I’m heading to wake up Monday the 19th and not go to get the job done.”

Born in Tennessee, Dilkes grew up in Iowa Town, graduated from Town Significant and attended the College of Iowa for her undergraduate degree and regulation university. Soon after faculty, Dilkes worked at a significant agency in Minneapolis before signing up for a tiny personal exercise in Iowa City. But after 7 a long time, Dilkes mentioned she didn’t like the perform and decided to implement for a place with the town.

That decision proved to be a intelligent just one for Dilkes, who is constantly searching for a new challenge.

‘I have under no circumstances been bored at this position,” she stated. ‘There’s normally something new. You can find generally a purpose why my intellect has to work really challenging to figure factors out. Which is hard work.”

Dilkes has assisted the town navigate a myriad of authorized problems, from cost-effective housing to condition legislation difficult nearby attempts. Most Tuesday nights, she can be located supplying authorized suggestions to the Town Council and making certain conferences are correctly done.

‘The most difficult thing for me to get utilised to when I turned the town attorney was offering lawful suggestions in a public environment,” Dilkes explained. ‘Most of the time in other follow places, you give your consumer tips confidentially. … In this location, you’re normally answering concerns that you have not been requested when you happen to be sitting down in a public assembly. That took some actual acquiring used to for me.”

Dilkes said the other tricky section of her career is when the political discourse turns into private and imply-spirited.

‘That continues to be tricky,” she said. ‘That’s really hard for all people, and it truly is not productive.”

But Dilkes explained she has liked doing the job with ‘an amazing staff” of attorneys, lawful assistants and city employees about the many years. As far as Dilkes appreciates, she’s Iowa City’s longest-serving town lawyer and is proud of what she’s completed in that time.

‘I would say that I have for 25 many years – in an surroundings that is at occasions tricky and politically charged – supplied very good top quality lawful information in a well timed fashion and been an helpful member of the metropolis workforce that is focused to utilizing the ambitions of the Metropolis Council,” she stated.

Assistant City Attorney Eric Goers, who has labored along with Dilkes given that 2005, mentioned her finest traits are ‘her remarkable do the job ethic, her skill to rapidly decipher even the most complicated or nuanced authorized issues and her commitment to her workers.” He also praised Dilkes’ troubleshooting abilities.

‘She is really educated about municipal law … but she’s also a issue solver,” Goers claimed. ‘She looks to see what council and the metropolis supervisor are hoping to reach and does her finest to come across a way to get there.”

Town Supervisor Geoff Fruin stated Dilkes has been considerably a lot more than just a city attorney. He describes Dilkes as a trustworthy mentor who has aided the metropolis facial area its problems.

‘Her inventive imagining and alternatives-oriented strategy to her work enabled us to achieve so substantially as a local community,” Fruin mentioned. ‘Having Eleanor on our crew has been the equivalent of possessing a town lawyer, metropolis supervisor and section director all wrapped up in a person human being.

Added Fruin, ‘Her management and constructive affect in our group has been immeasurable and will be skipped drastically. … Her legacy extends significantly guiding particular jobs and will be noticed in the crew she has led and staff she has mentored and influenced through her tenure.”

Dilkes mentioned she is not fairly guaranteed what retirement will maintain for her. She has no intention of leaving Iowa City and seems ahead to paying time with spouse and children and friends, reading, gardening and managing. She’s organizing her fourth attempt at piano lessons as perfectly.

‘I fret about not possessing the intellectual problems, but other than that, I will not have any question that I will occupy my time,” she reported. ‘I’ve been advised by other folks who retired that it really is very best to give myself a calendar year right before earning any main commitments. I’m hoping to be real to that and just get some time, acquire at the very least a 12 months to figure out how it is I want to stay the rest of my life.”

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Eleanor Dilkes, seen Wednesday, March 31, at her business at Metropolis Hall, has been Iowa City’s town attorney because 1997. She is retiring afterwards in April. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)