Andrew J. Bracken






100 Court Avenue, Suite 600
Des Moines, IA 50309-2231

Court Admissions

All Iowa Courts

U.S. District Courts – Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa

U.S. Court of Appeals – Eighth Circuit

U.S. Supreme Court


J.D. (with Honors), Drake University, 1988

John Marshall Law School, 1985-1986

B.S., University of Iowa, 1984

Bar Admissions

Iowa, 1988


Drew serves as the firm's Education Law Practice Area Leader, and provides representation and counsel for Iowa public school districts, area education agencies, community colleges and private colleges. He serves these clients by providing daily counsel and advice regarding the various legal issues that they face day-to-day, seeking to resolve their issues in the fairest, fastest and most effective way possible.

Serving clients as both a counselor and in litigation, he handles a wide range of legal issues including, but not limited to:  labor and employment, student rights and discipline, collective bargaining negotiations, public records/open meetings, tort liability and claims, civil rights and discrimination, constitutional law, special education litigation, and policy and governance issues.

After law school and prior to joining the firm, Drew served as a judicial law clerk for Chief Justice Arthur A. McGiverin, Iowa Supreme Court in 1988-1989. While a law student at Drake University, Drew was on the National Mock Trial Team, Supreme Court Day Co-winner, Articles Editor for the Drake Law Review and a member of the Order of the Barristers.

Representative Projects

  • Defended the Des Moines School District, which is the state’s largest public school district, in two related claims mounted by a parents’ organization claiming misappropriation of tax proceeds and violation of state rules in the operation of attendance centers, obtaining favorable rulings at every stage of both proceedings, including one administrative appeal hearing, two district court decisions and two decisions from the Iowa Supreme Court. The last decision not only vindicated the School Board’s position, but also invalidated the state regulations upon which some of the claims were based.
  • Defended a school district and the members of the school board in a case alleging certain open meetings law violations and seeking to invalidate the sale of school property, obtaining favorable rulings in two motions for summary judgment and successfully defending these rulings on appeal to the Iowa Court of Appeals.
  • Representation of a public school district in a student disciplinary matter and litigation following student assault of a staff member, including appeals to the state department of education and the federal district court.
  • Defended school districts in many employment discrimination claims filed in state and federal agencies and federal and state district courts alleging sex discrimination, race discrimination, disability discrimination and other claims.
  • Representation of school districts and community colleges in labor and employment issues, including collective bargaining negotiations, interest arbitration, grievance arbitration, and litigation in state and federal courts.


American Bar Association

Iowa State Bar Association

Polk County Bar Association

National School Boards Association, Council of School Attorneys

Iowa Council of School Attorneys

National Association of College and University Attorneys


Martindale-Hubbell® – AV® Rating

Best Lawyers in America© (2013-2022)

  • Commercial Litigation
  • Education Law
  • Des Moines Lawyer of the Year 2019
  • Employment Law - Management
  • Litigation - Labor and Employment

Chambers USA - Labor & Employment (2013-2020)


Drew's most recent speaking engagements include:

Iowa State University, Iowa School Business Management Academy, “Liability & Risk Management,” “FLSA,” and “Advanced Employment Law,” April 2021

Ahlers & Cooney, P.C., Employment Law Webinar Series, "Stump the Ahlers’ Attorneys – Panel Q&A Series Finale," with Rebecca Reif, Ann Smisek, Lindsay Vaught and Carrie Weber, February 2021

Ahlers & Cooney, Employment Law Client Seminar, "Background Checks," November 2019

National School Board Association, Counsel of School Attorneys, "You Can't Say that in Public!...," with Carrie Weber, October 2019

Iowa Association of Community College Trustees, “Senate File 274 Mandating New Campus Free Speech Rights for Students, Faculty and Others,” July 2019

Iowa State University, Iowa School Business Management Academy, “Legal – FLSA,” and “Legal – Advanced Employment Law,” May 2019

School Administrators of Iowa, School Law Conference, " Mental Health Considerations for Staff and Students" and "Social Media Issues Involving Staff and Students" with Katherine Beenken, February 2018

Central Iowa Area Superintendents, Meeting, "Prevention and Response to Internet & Data Security Breaches", January 2018

Ahlers & Cooney, Employment Law Client Seminar, "Top 5 Mistakes Employers Make That Get Them Sued and What They Do Wrong Once They Get Sued" with Randy Stefani, November 2017

He has served as an Adjunct faculty member for:

  • Iowa State University, graduate course in Public School Law
  • Drake University, graduate course in Public School Law
  • Viterbo University, graduate course in Public School Law
  • Morningside College, graduate course in Special Education Law

Published Articles & Books

Legal Handbook for Iowa School Administrators, Author, 1998

Professional, Community and Civic Leadership

Iowa Council of School Attorneys (1989 - present), Chair (2001-2002)

National School Boards Association, Council of School Attorneys, National Board of Directors (2002-2006)