Elizabeth A. Heffernan
100 Court Avenue, Suite 600
Des Moines, IA 50309
J.D. (with Distinction), University of Iowa College of Law, 2017
B.A., Buena Vista University (English and Political Science), 2014
Elizabeth joined the firm in 2019 as a member of the Public Law Practice Area, focused in the areas of Education Law, Litigation, and Employment Law. Working with K-12 school districts and Higher Education institutions, she assists clients on a variety of issues, including those related to accessibility, accommodations, student programming, student rights and discipline, and special education. Her practice includes drafting and negotiating contracts, policies, and procedures to assist clients with maintaining legal compliance in their day-to-day operations.
As a member of the firm’s Employment Law and Litigation Practice Groups, she works with education clients on various human resources and other employment law matters, including employee discipline and terminations, employment contracts, drafting and revising employment policies, and investigations related to employment.
Prior to joining Ahlers & Cooney, Elizabeth spent two years as a Judicial Law Clerk for the Honorable Leonard T. Strand, Federal District Judge, United States District Court, Northern District of Iowa. She also worked with Judge Strand as a Judicial Extern for a summer during law school, and as a Summer Associate with O’Connor & Thomas, P.C.
During law school at The University of Iowa, Elizabeth served as Note and Comment Editor for the Iowa Law Review, as President of the Organization of Women Law Students and Staff, as a volunteer with the Innocence Project of Iowa, and tutored in the law school’s Writing Resource Center. Elizabeth is a native of Sioux City, Iowa and received her bachelor’s degree from Buena Vista University, where she was Mock Trial Team Captain, Campus Newspaper Copy Editor, Innocence Project of Iowa volunteer, and Women’s Tennis Co-Captain. She spent a semester in Washington, D.C. as an intern with the Marzulla Law firm, through The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars.
American Bar Association
Iowa State Bar Association
Iowa Council of School Board Attorneys
Marjorie Holmes Literary Scholarship, Buena Vista University
Harry Blackmun Award, Buena Vista University
President’s Scholarship, Buena Vista University
Burke Leadership Award, The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars
Iowa State Association of Counties, Annual Conference, “Hot Topics in Human Resources” Part I and Part II, with Katherine Beenken, August 2021
National Business Institute, IEP and 504 Plan Legal Workshop, “Discipline and Expulsion Essentials Under IDEA and Section 504,” May 2021
Iowa Employment Conference, "Impact of Political Speech and Racial Protest Issues in the Workplace," with Aaron Hilligas, April 2021
Ahlers & Cooney, P.C., Employment Law Webinar Series, "Impact of Politics and Racial Harassment Issues," with Danielle Haindfield and Aaron Hilligas, February 2021
School Administrators of Iowa, 2021 School Law Conference, "Chapter 103" with Carrie Weber, February 2021
Ahlers & Cooney, P.C., Webinar, "Final Chapter 103 Rules Adopted," with Katherine Beenken, Miriam Van Heukelem, and Carrie Weber, December 2020
National Business Institute, Special Education Law from A to Z Seminar, “Developing and Implementing Defensible IEPs,” with Katherine Beenken, December 2019
Published Articles & Books
Note, “It Will Be Good for You,” They Said: Ensuring Internships Actually Benefit the Intern and Why It Matters for FLSA and Title VII Claims, 102 Iowa L. Rev. 1757 (2017)
Professional, Community and Civic Leadership
Assistant High School Mock Trial Coach