100 Court Ave, Suite 600
Des Moines, IA 50309
J.D., University of Wisconsin, 2002
B.A., University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1998
District of Columbia, 2007
Aaron Hilligas joined the firm in 2017 and is a member of the firm’s Public Law Practice Area, serving municipalities, higher education and K-12 educational institutions. He advises clients on a variety of labor and employment related matters and represents employers in collective bargaining contract negotiations, in cases before the Public Employment Relations Board and in other administrative hearings, and in grievance arbitrations. Aaron also assists employers in contract administration, the development and implementation of employee handbooks and policies, personnel issues, conducting workplace investigations, and the navigation of the labor nuances tied to the receipt of federal transit funds.
Prior to Ahlers & Cooney, Aaron worked in the Office of the General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington, DC. With the NLRB, he developed legal theories pursued by General Counsel, advised regions on litigation strategy, and represented the agency in injunction cases on appeal.
He has also worked in-house as an attorney with labor organizations representing a variety of industries in the public and private sectors. In these roles, he was involved in collective bargaining, contract enforcement and strategic campaigns, arbitrated and litigated disputes, and advised on policies, internal employee issues, regulatory compliance, organizing, employee benefits and internal governance.
While at the University of Wisconsin, Aaron served as Articles Editor for the Wisconsin International Law Journal, was a judicial intern with the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and got his start in labor and employment law by working as a law clerk with the employment law division of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Office of Legal Affairs.
Iowa State Bar Association
Polk County Bar Association
Aaron's most recent speaking engagements include:
Iowa Municipal Professionals, 2019 Iowa Municipal Professionals Institute, “Administrative Law,” July 2019
Iowa State Assessor Association, ISAC Spring Conference, “Employment Law Update,” with Ann Smisek, March 2019
Iowa State Association of Counties, Spring Conference, “Employees cannot say that…or can they? – Off Duty Employee Speech” with Ann Smisek, March 2019
Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities, Muni Law 101 Workshop, "Open Meetings & Open Records" and "Collective Bargaining," with Ann Smisek, January 2019
Iowa Association of School Business Officials, Webinar, "Collective Bargaining and Negotiations" with Ann Smisek, November 2018 & December 2017
Ahlers & Cooney P.C., Employment Law Client Seminar, "Chapter 20 Update & Public Records Under Chapter 22," October 2018
Iowa League of Cities, Annual Conference, "Public Employees and Off- Duty Speech" with Ann Smisek, September 2018
Iowa State Association of County Auditors, Annual Conference, "Off-Duty Employee Speech" and "Changes to Collective Bargaining" with Jim Hanks, July 2018
Iowa Rural Water Association, Annual Conference, "Off-Duty Employee Speech" with Ann Smisek, February 2018
IAPELRA Annual Conference, "How Do We Respond to the Revised Chapter 20, Certification Elections and PERB Rulings" with Jim Hanks and Ann Smisek, "Chapter 20, HR Responsibilities in New Open Records Law, Weapons in Public Buildings" with Jim Hanks and Ann Smisek, September 2017
Professional, Community and Civic Leadership
Iowa Legal Aid, Volunteer Intake Attorney
Youth Baseball Coach, Beaverdale Little League and Raccoon Valley Little League