DES MOINES — The Iowa Supreme Court selected District Judge Sean W. McPartland, Cedar Rapids, and District Judge Lawrence P. McLellan, Des Moines, as Iowa Business Specialty Court judges. The selections follow the retirement of Judge Annette Scieszinski, an original judge on the business court. The two other original business court judges, Michael Huppert, Des Moines, and John Telleen, LeClaire, remain on the business court.
The supreme court based its selection of Judge McPartland and Judge McLellan on the judges’ educational background, judicial and trial practice experience in complex commercial cases, and personal interest in the project. Judge McPartland was appointed district court judge in 2008. Judge McLellan was appointed in 2012. The judges’ biographies are below.
The Iowa Judicial Branch has accepted 48 cases into the business court since the project began accepting eligible cases on May 1, 2013. The primary aims of the Iowa Business Specialty Court is to move business or complex commercial cases through the court system expeditiously, with lower costs for litigants, and with more efficient use of judicial branch resources.
Businesses and attorneys benefit from the business court’s published body of case law that will promote consistency and predictability. Judges benefit from the development of substantial expertise in the management of complex business litigation. The court system as a whole benefits from the business court’s role as an incubator of innovative court practices
New Business Court Judges’ Biographies
District Court Judge, Sean W. McPartland: District 6
Judge Sean W. McPartland is a district court judge in the Sixth Judicial District and is based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Judge McPartland was appointed to the district court bench in 2008 after practicing in general civil litigation with law firms in Kansas City, Missouri (1984-1989), and in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (1989-2008). Since his appointment to the bench, Judge McPartland served on the Iowa Civil Justice Task Force Steering Committee from 2009-2012 and contributed to the report entitled Reforming the Iowa Justice System, Report of the Iowa Civil Justice Reform Task Force, January 30, 2012. Judge McPartland also served as a member of the Advisory Committee Concerning Certain Civil Justice Reform Task Force Recommendations beginning in 2012, with the work of the Committee leading to the adoption of 2015 amendments to the Iowa Rules of Civil Procedure related to areas including required initial disclosures, discovery, and expedited civil actions. Judge McPartland also has served as a faculty member in New Judge Orientation programs presented by the Iowa Judicial Branch, and currently serves on the Executive Committee for the Iowa Judicial Branch New Judge Orientation program. Judge McPartland received his undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa in 1981, with distinction, and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and Kappa Tau Alpha honor societies. Judge McPartland received his law degree in 1984, with distinction, from the University of Iowa College of Law.
District Court Judge, Lawrence P. McLellan: District 5C
Judge McLellan was appointed to the bench in 2012. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1979 from Drake University, summa cum laude, and was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honorary Society. He received his law degree from Drake University, with distinction, in 1983 and was an Articles Editor for the Drake Law Review. In 2006 he earned a masters in law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia in dispute resolution. Upon graduation from law school in 1983 he clerked for the Honorable Ronald E. Longstaff, United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. He was with the law firm of Bradshaw, Fowler, Proctor & Fairgrave, P.C. from 1984-2000 engaged in a general civil litigation practice. From 2000 until 2012 he was with the law firm of Sullivan & Ward, P.C. also engaged in general civil litigation and mediation. Judge McLellan served as an adjunct professor in arbitration and environmental law at Drake Law School and started and coached the Drake Law School Mock Arbitration Team. He is a member of the Polk County and Iowa State Bar Associations. He is an Honorary Member of the Order of the Barristers and a member of the Iowa Judges’ Association.