U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett
Judge Bennett is a Judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa. He previously served as a U.S. Magistrate Judge. Judge Bennett graduated from the Drake University Law School in 1975 and started his own law firm in Des Moines, Babich, Bennett & Nickerson. During more than sixteen years, his extensive practice in employment discrimination, constitutional law and other civil rights litigation took him to numerous state and federal trial and appellate courts throughout the United States resulting in more that seventy reported decisions. Judge Bennett has spoken at more than 170 seminars throughout the United States for the bench and the bar on topics such as federal litigation, civil rights, employment law, professionalism, and courtroom technology. Judge Bennett has a keen interest in technology and recently completed a project for the United States Courts where he was instrumental in the design, development, testing and implementation of new case management software based on state of the art WEB browser technology that is now being utilized by federal district court judges across the country.
Judge Richard G. Blane, II
Judge Blane, West Des Moines, was appointed to the bench in 1995. Born in Chicago, Illinois, he attended Drake University where he earned his undergraduate degree in 1970 and his law degree in 1973. After graduation, he worked as an assistant Polk County attorney, first assistant United States attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, and for a private firm in Des Moines. Judge Blane is a member of the Polk County and Iowa State Bar Associations, as well as the Iowa Judges Association, and Iowa Supreme Court Rules Committee.
Judge Robert J. Blink
Judge Blink of West Des Moines was appointed to the bench in 1995. He received his undergraduate degree in English and Speech Communications from North Central College in Illinois in 1972 and his law degree from Drake University Law School in 1975. He has served as an assistant Polk County Attorney, Assistant Iowa Attorney General and Special Deputy United States Attorney. He was also a partner in a Des Moines law firm before becoming a judge. He has been a professor at Drake University Law School since 1981. He is a member of the Polk County and Iowa State Bar Associations and the Iowa Judges Association. Judge Blink is an Honorary Member of the Order of the Coif and the Order of Barristers.
Richard Calkins graduated from Northwestern University Law School after completing his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth. After graduating from law school he served as clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Court for two years. He practiced law in Chicago until being named as the Dean of the Drake Law School in 1980, serving in that position until 1988. Since then he has served as an adjunct while practicing law and specializing in arbitration and mediation. He has been president of the American Academy of ADR Attorneys, the American Mock Trial Association, International Academy of Dispute Resolution, and the Blackstone Inn of Court. See also http://www.calkinsmediation.com/biography.htm
Philip De Koster
Philip De Koster is an attorney at De Koster & De Koster in Hull, Iowa, where his practice includes estate planning, probate, litigation, and ART law. He graduated from Drake University Law School, Order of the Coif. He was awarded the Jeffery and Elizabeth Goodman Distinguished Advocate Award for excellence and proficiency in client representation and advocacy and the Iowa State Bar Association Graduating Senior Award. Philip competed on the ABA and National Moot Court teams. Before attending Drake, he graduated with distinction and honors from Iowa State University with a major in Sociology and minors in Criminal Justice, Political Science, and Music. In his free time, Philip is a licensed private pilot and enjoys both indoor and outdoor gardening. He has also proudly endowed an award in honor of Dr. K.M. Waggoner to recognize Drake Law School students who work to be a mentor to their peers. De Koster is the Oral Advocacy Program Director at Drake Law.
Judge Timothy Finn
Judge Finn is an Iowa District Court Judge in the 2nd Judicial District, and offices in the Story County Courthouse in Nevada, Iowa. A 1974 graduate of the Drake Law School, Judge Finn has been on the bench since 1987.
Steve Foritano is the Bureau Chief of the General Trial Bureau of the Polk County Attorney's Office, a position he has held since 1991. This position includes management of the General Trial Bureau and an active case load involving the investigation and prosecution of major offenses.
Steve is also a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa working primarily on firearms cases involving Project Safe Neighborhoods. Previously, Steven served as an Assistant Iowa Attorney General (1982-1986, 1988-1991). He is a recipient of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Inspector General's Integrity Award and the Iowa County Attorney Association Award of Merit.
At Drake Law, Steve teaches trial advocacy and coaches the National Mock Trial team for the Law School.
J. Barton GoplerudBart Goplerud
is a 1990 graduate of Drake University Law School where he was active in Law Review and Moot Court. He has a law practice in Des Moines as a litigator and mediator, Hudson, Mallaney, Shindler & Anderson.
Denise M. Hill
Denise M. Hill is an Assistant Professor at Des Moines University teaching courses on health law and ethics, public health law and ethics, advocacy and conflict resolution. She has twice been awarded the faculty of the year award at DMU. Denise joined the Whitfield and Eddy law firm in the fall of 2006, where she currently serves as an of counsel attorney engaged in general practice including: health law, employment law, estate planning and administrative law. Denise is also a mediator trained by the American Health Lawyers Association and the International Academy of Alternative Dispute Resolution and is a registered Iowa lobbyist. Prior to joining the faculty of Des Moines University full time and coming to Whitfield & Eddy, she practiced at the Davis Brown law firm, was an attorney and the Manager of Public & Regulatory Affairs for the Iowa Medical Society and was a labor relations attorney for the Iowa Department of Personnel. She is a former President of the Iowa Society of Health Care Attorneys and is on the Board of Directors of several health care and public policy organizations. She is a frequent speaker on a variety of health law topics. Denise graduated with honors from Drake Law School and received her Masters in Public Administration from the Drake School of Business and Public Administration.
Biography coming soon
Jill R. Jensen-WelchJill R. Jensen-Welch
is a shareholder-attorney at Dickinson Mackaman Tyler & Hagen, P.C., in Des Moines, Iowa. She specializes in Employment Law and Civil Litigation. Jill has B.A., M.S., and J.D. degrees from Drake. She is licensed to practice law in Iowa and Minnesota. Jill is a regular speaker and author on employment law topics for human resources and business groups. Before becoming an attorney, Jill was a human resources professional for over fifteen years at various employers in Des Moines, including the State of Iowa, FDIC, Meredith Corporation, Norwest Mortgage (n/k/a Wells Fargo Mortgage) and Principal Financial Group. She is a lifetime-certified Senior Professional in Human Resources. Jill has been recognized every year since 2008 as a Leading Lawyer for Business
in Iowa in the Labor & Employment category. Jill’s peers in the legal profession have also recognized her by selecting her for inclusion in the 2013 and 2014 editions of the Best Lawyers in America.
Most recently, Jill was named to the 2013 list of Great Plains Super Lawyers
in the Employment and Labor category.
Donna E. Johns
Donna Johns is In-house Counsel for Iowa State University Research Foundation, Inc. She began her legal career in private practice in Houston, Texas, almost 20 years ago. Over the past decade, she has developed a special emphasis on intellectual property law. During 2008-2009, she was is the president of the Iowa Intellectual Property Law Association. She holds her J.D. from South Texas College of Law, where she was inducted into the Order of Lytae and became a member of the Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity. She received her B.S. from Iowa State University.
Emiliano Lerda is the executive director of Justice for Our Neighbors of Nebraska, an organization that provides immigration legal services in Omaha, Nebraska. Prior to that he was the government relations manager for the Iowa Corn Growers Association, developing policy positions and providing guidance to ICGA members regarding regulatory compliance issues. Emiliano earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa and received his J.D. from Drake University Law School. He received an LL.M. in Agricultural and Food Law from the University of Arkansas, and is licensed to practice law in the state of Iowa.
Judge Ed Mansfield
Judge Mansfield was appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court in 2011. Ed earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard College in 1978 and his law degree from Yale in 1982. After clerking for the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, he practiced law in Phoenix, Arizona and then with the Belin Law Firm in Des Moines from 1996 until being appointed to the Iowa Court of Appeals in 2009.
After graduating from Drake Law School, Dustin Miller helped create the Harvest Initiative, Inc., which promotes a commercially viable self-sustaining economic environment for Crow Creek Sioux Reservation. He was hired by the Department of Agriculture Secretary’s Office to assist in bringing agricultural law together with federal Indian law. His role in this position is to act as the primary federal Indian law consultant for the Office of the General Council on projects across the Department.
Jeff Noble is a1990 graduate of Drake University Law School. He is a Polk County Assistant District Attorney and a Drake Mock Trial Team Coach.
Private Law Practice, Omaha, Nebraska, 1960-67, and Des Moines, Iowa 2003 to present; Director, Black Hawk County Legal Aid Society, 1967-69. Received first annual achievement award from the Office of Legal Services as the outstanding legal service program with six or less attorneys (1968), and Director, Legal Aid Society of Polk County, 3/1/69 to 12/31/2002, received Dorsey Award by the American Bar Association for his exemplary career as a legal aid attorney, 2003; Adj. Drake Law School, Drake University, Civil Procedure, criminal procedure, and consumer protection; August 1972 to 1975; Adj. Assistant professor, The School of Social Work, University of Iowa, Family Law, Fall Semester, 1972 and 1978 to 1998, Grand View College, Des Moines, Family Law, 1982 to 1998; Other activities include being chair, Nebraska Advisory Committee to U.S. Civil Rights Commission, co-founder, Institute for Social and Economic Development (ISED), Omaha Lawyers for Fair Housing, founding member of Nebraska affiliate of ACLU; Booklet, Rights of the Mental Retarded, (1973).
Diana Palmer is a senior associate with the Faegre Baker Daniels law firm in Des Moines, Iowa. She specializes in insurance transactions and regulation as well as general corporate counseling, governance, and non-profit work and has been actively involved in recent Iowa insurance transactions. Diana has a B.A. in Political Science from Grinnell College and a J.D., cum laude, from Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Virginia, where she was Managing Editor of the Law Review and coach of the Washington and Lee Law Mock Trial teams. Diana is a regular speaker at the Drake University Business School’s Women’s Start-Up Boot Camp, discussing business formation and legal considerations. Diana is also a 2013 graduate of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute and a member of the Cathedral Choir and Cathedral Arts Committee at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul.
Judge Glenn Pille
Judge Pille received his J.D. from Drake University Law School after graduating from Loras College in Dubuque. He was in private practice in Des Moines and was then appointed to the Juvenile Bench in 1979. He served in that capacity until appointed to the District Court bench in 1985. Having served on the bench for 34 years he became a Senior Judge in January 2014. He has taught classes at Des Moines Area Community College, Drake University and for various state agencies. He has served on numerous commissions, boards and councils and was the Assistant Chief Judge for the Fifth Judicial District of Iowa from 1996 until 2014.
Lee A. Pizzimenti
Lee Pizzimenti was Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Professor of Law at the University of Toledo College of Law. She is a graduate of Wayne State University Law School and the University of Michigan. She clerked for the Honorable Albert J. Engel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and practiced with the Dykema firm in Detroit, Michigan. Her professional activities include serving as a member of the Ohio Supreme Court Commission on the Rules of Practice and as an officer of the Morrison Waite Chapter of the Inns of Court. She has made presentations at many CLE seminars on professional ethics.
Bill Raisch is an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Iowa and a 1974 graduate of Drake University Law School. His corporate experience includes serving as General Counsel for Ryko Manufacturing.
Judge Dale Ruigh
Judge Ruigh has served as an Iowa District Court Judge since 1981. He was in private practice in Ames from 1974 to 1981. He is an honors graduate of the University of Iowa College of Law and a member of the Order of Coif.
Dr. Ryan is Assistant Attorney General for the State of Iowa and has taught at Simpson College and Drake. She earned her law degree at the University of Iowa and Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Debra Scorpiniti is an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa. She is a 1993 honors graduate of the Drake Law School, where she served on the editorial board of the Drake Law Review.
Ed SeaseEd Sease
is a partner in McKee, Voorhees & Sease and has more than 35 years of experience as a patent attorney, trademark attorney, intellectual property litigator and professor. He received his bachelor's degree in chemistry from Drake University in 1964 and his law degree, graduating Order of the Coif, from Drake in 1967. Before joining the law firm in 1973, Ed worked for seven years in the Patent Department of Proctor & Gamble. Due to his commitment to the practice of intellectual property law, Ed is an active member in many professional organizations including the American Chemical Society, Phi Beta Kappa Fraternity and others.
W. Charles Smithson
Charlie Smithson is the Executive Director and Legal Counsel for the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board. He is a contributing author to the book "Money, Politics, and Campaign Finance Reform Law in the States" and has written several articles on governmental ethics, lobbying, and campaign finance as well as being a frequent lecturer on those topics. He is on the Editorial Board for the journal Public Integrity and he teaches Election Law at Drake University Law School where he is an Honorary Member of The Order of the Barristers and serves on the Legislative Practice Center Advisory Board.
Kim StamatelosKim Stamatelos
is engaged in the solo practice of Law and Mediation in West Des Moines, Iowa. She earned her J.D. degree from Drake University Law School in 1981. After graduation from law school Kim was General Counsel of Rodeway Inns International, Inc. in Dallas, Texas and later was Corporate Counsel for Chili's (Restaurants), Inc. Upon returning to Iowa Kim established U.S. Arbitration & Mediation of Iowa, eventually expanding the company into five Midwestern states. Kim also held the office of Vice President of Training and Business Development for JAMS, Inc. in Irvine California, a private mediation firm with over thirty offices nationwide. Kim has taught mediation and negotiation courses at Drake University Law School and Arizona State University Law School and has trained hundreds of judges, lawyers and businesspeople to be mediators throughout the country.
Justice Michael Streit
Former Justice Michael Streit
served Iowa as a trial court and appellate judge for over 27 years. Justice Streit received his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Iowa and his law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law where he edited the school law journal. He was a member of the law review and wrote articles on securities regulation. Justice Streit and two fellow justices recently received the John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage award for their role in the Iowa Supreme Court decision recognizing marriage equality. Streit was licensed in the Iowa, California, and Nebraska courts. Justice Streit has been involved in professional education and public speaking seeking to improve Iowa’s court system and educate the public on the important role the courts and ADR play in the lives of every Iowan. Justice Streit has served on the Board of Counselors of Drake Law School, Chair of the New Judge Training and Mentor Program, STOP Violence Against Woman Coordinating Council, Iowa Supreme Court Select Comm. On Child Welfare, Judicial Evaluation and Performance Comm., the Anglo-American Exchange Program serving in the British courts for two months, and the Blackstone Inn of Court; Justice Streit was the chair of the Supreme Court Education Advisory Committee. Streit began the Iowa Judicial Institute in 1992.
Justice Streit is a member of Ahlers & Cooney in its Litigation, Dispute Resolution, and Investigations practice area. He is involved with complex mediation, arbitrations, and appeals. He has lectured in mediation, ethics, contracts, trial management, judicial independence, and electronic document management.
Tara van Brederode
Tara M. van Brederode is the Executive Director of the Legal Aid Society of Story County, where her practice focuses on family law, along with guardianship/conservatorship, landlord-tenant, debtor-creditor, and Social Security disability cases. She is a graduate of the University of Florida and the University of Miami School of Law. Prior to joining the Legal Aid Society of Story County in 2008, she was in private practice in Huxley, Iowa. Tara is a frequent continuing legal education speaker on family law topics.
Gregory Wilcox is a graduate of Drake Law School and a member and chairman of the Nyemaster firm's Business, Finance, and Real Estate Department. He has represented a diverse mix of organizations, including Fortune 500, multi-national, and closely-held companies. In addition to transactional assignments and other projects for his business clients, Greg often assists clients in a capacity similar to that of an in-house general counsel. He has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America for Corporate Law, Corporate Compliance and Mergers & Acquisitions; in Chambers USA for Corporate/Mergers and Acquisitions; and Super Lawyers for Business/Corporate, Mergers & Acquisitions and Closely-Held Business.